It is common for people in their day to day to feel a little fatigue or tiredness, it is a sensation that is experienced in some way and at some point. However, when talking about chronic fatigue or chronic fatigue syndrome, we are referring to a type of pathological fatigue.
This is a complex disease that is characterized primarily by deep, severe, debilitating and severe (physical and mental) fatigue or fatigue, which persists for six or more months and is oscillating in nature and without any specific apparent cause.
This syndrome is classified and codified in the ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases, 10th edition). It has been classified by the WHO (World Health Organization) as a new recurrent disease and is a highly prevalent phenomenon in today's society.
Although it has been associated with many diseases, chronic fatigue is of its own interest due to the possible implications it has on the health and personal well-being of the sufferer, since it can cause significant disturbances, such as disability, loss of work, or reduction of fatigue. social activities.
Types of fatigue
It is important not to confuse chronic fatigue syndrome with other types of existing fatigue, the definition of the type of fatigue will depend on its evolution or time, causes:
1. Physiological fatigue: occurs after intense physical or mental exercise and always recovers with rest or cessation of activity.
2. Reactive fatigue: is triggered by a certain situation and improves by avoiding the triggering cause.
3. Pathological fatigue: it is generated without a clear relationship with a previous effort or persists despite stopping the activity that originated it, it does not improve with rest.
Regarding the duration time: the feeling of fatigue can be defined as acute (<1 week), transitory (<1 month), prolonged (> 1 month) and chronic (> 6 months).
Regarding the cause of fatigue: it is called secondary if it is caused by an organic or psychological disease when its cause can be identified and idiopathic in the opposite case.
Symptoms of chronic fatigue
The main characteristics are intense physical and mental fatigue with a persistence of at least six months, which significantly affects the development of the person in their occupational, social and personal activities and is usually accompanied by symptoms similar to cold, as well as sleep not restorative. In addition, it must be accompanied by more than 4 of the following symptoms:
· Difficulty concentrating and memory loss.
· Constant sore throat
· Muscle pain.
· Joint pain.
· Migraines of new appearance or of characteristics different from the usual one.
· Unrefreshing sleep.
· Fatigue after exertion (physical or mental) that persists more than 24 hours after it.
In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, you may have additional symptoms such as:
· Eye pain, sensitivity to light, and blurred vision.
· Psychological problems (irritability, mood swings, anxiety, panic attacks).
· Chills and night sweats.
· Low-grade fever.
· Irritable colon.
· Allergies and sensitivities to foods, smells, noise, chemicals, or medications.
· Numbness, tingling, or burning sensation in the face or extremities.
· Difficulty maintaining an erect position, balance problems, and fainting.
Causes of chronic fatigue
The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is not well known and probably deviates from conventional disease models. Furthermore, the cause or causes of this syndrome are not well defined and some researchers affirm that the etiology is multifactorial. There is also a controversy about whether the origin of this disease is organic or psychological, but there is increasing data that support the hypothesis that its origin is organic.
Some researchers affirm that it is possible that it is a post-viral infection disease, in which some predisposed people maintain a situation of latent viral infection, in which there is a continuous production of inflammatory substances that would lead to the development and maintenance of symptoms aforementioned. It is generally related to Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus or herpesvirus type 6 infections, although other viruses and bacteria can also develop it.
After this acute phase, the person does not recover and persists with fatigue, low-grade fever, muscle pain, and decreased activity. In some cases, muscle biopsies have been performed and they show no structural alterations, but other techniques have detected the presence of viral material in the muscle tissue of more than half of the patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.
It is believed that these are defective type viruses (which cannot reproduce without the help of another virus) that do not significantly injure the cell, but that cause an energetic alteration that alters its functionality, producing fatigue.
In this phase, different immunological alterations that are not specific have also been described; these alterations would justify the chronic inflammatory symptoms and the frequent intercurrent infections that these patients present.
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