Scientists have been discovering many things about chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) – things that may cause it, why some people have it and why others are not, and how it develops – but there are still no definitive answers yet. Currently, a wide range causes are being investigated and one of them may someday become a firmly confirmed cause of CFS. These are things that may cause CFS:
• Genetic: If one or more family member had CFS symptoms, you may be more susceptible to them; however, the jury is still out as to whether hereditary factor can cause CFS.
• Stress: This includes typical emotional or mental stressors such as injury or illness. On some people, there could be a genetic connection between CFS symptoms and how their hormones react to stressors. Usually, hormonal reactions come down to a term known as allostatic load. It measures the pressure your body will go through when stressors rear their ugly heads. Some early researches have reported that those with CFS may have impaired physical mechanism that triggers proper stress responses, rendering them ineffective when dealing with stressors (physical or mental).
• Body chemistry: We have an impressive messenger system, which can beats FedEx or UPS hands down. Our body produces specific chemicals based on messages that come from the brain – these chemicals will always be present when it comes to inducing a good night’s sleep or reacting to physical threats. But just like any messenger services in real life, they sometimes get out of whack – for example due to stress, illness, or negative emotion. Chemical imbalance can be equated to a blizzard that prevents mails from coming in.
• Virus infection: You have a complex immune system; antibodies and T cells are just salivating when they see foreign organisms dare to enter your body. Unfortunately, your immune system isn’t fool-proof. It can fail to react effectively or can’t recognize dangerous virus as dangerous threats, or may even over-react by attacking your own cells. This whacked-out immune system may cause CFS.
• Sleep problems: Sleep issues can be caused by stress, an overworked and overtaxed immune system often works without downtime or rest. Some people claim that their CFS symptoms get worse when they have sleeping problem.
• The HPA axis: The hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is a combination of hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands. The hypothalamus starts by sending messages to your pituitary gland via chemical (hormonal) messengers. The pituitary gland will trigger the hormone production in your testes or ovaries, adrenals, and thyroids. Some people with CFS seem to have very low level of cortisol hormone in their blood, which can be caused by a malfunctioning HPA axis.
• Inflammation: It happens when our body fends off attacking organisms – a battleground between our immune system and micro-invaders. However, severe inflammation can weaken the immune system and cause CFS.
• ANS dysregulation: Your ANS (autonomic nervous system) is essential for critical body functions, from regular heartbeat and breathing. Those with CFS may have an ANS problem called OI (orthostatic instability), which means that standing still for more than two minutes will result in dizziness and nausea. Because orthostatic instability can be caused by ANS problem, it might cause CFS. However, some doctors believe that OI is a standalone condition and is not related to CFS.
• Physical trauma: Pains and aches of an accident or a fall can hurt your muscles, bones, and even your nervous system. Not only can physical discomfort lead to all kinds of not-so-fun symptoms – such as brain dysfunction, depression, insomnia, or even elementary cellular changes on your body. They are also strongly suspected as cause, perpetuating factor, or trigger on some CFS patients.
• Ongoing infection: Occasionally the flu you caught on the subway won’t easily go away. Sometimes it just lingers… on and on. And as times go by, you’ll steadily get worse. Infection is a common suspect of CFS, but scientists haven’t been able to link a specific bacteria or virus to CFS. Perhaps, by the time the sufferer goes to the doctor after weeks of unceasing symptoms, the organism is already gone, leaving damages in its wake.
• Allergies and environmental toxins: Pollen, dander, lead, and mercury – these damaging chemicals may trigger CFS just like infections are.
When seeing a doctor you should also discuss to eliminate any other possibilities that make CFS diagnosis inaccurate. A few factors that trigger symptoms similar to CFS, such as:
• Common flu: Infection caused by the influenza virus generates CFS-like symptoms, for example, swollen glands, sore throat, and fever; however, common flu generally disappears after two weeks.
• Fibromyalgia: It is a condition that is often hard to diagnose and share many similar symptoms with CFS. However, fibromyalgia’s common symptoms involve aching joints and muscles, and while CFS commonly trigger fatigue.
• Hormonal disorders: From your thyroid gland to your adrenal gland, hormonal dysfunction can cause weakness, foggy, bloated belly, and reduced fitness.
• Sleeping disorders: Whether you have sleep apnea, severe snoring, insomnia or even a bad mattress, these problems may cause sleep problems.
• Lyme disease: It has many overlapping symptoms, and finding out whether your condition is caused Lyme disease may worth the effort.
• Depression and other psychological disorders: A clinical depression can cause helplessness, or general anxiety that may overwhelm your situation and mimic CFS. A specialized questionnaire, thorough evaluation, and certain medical tests can differentiate between CFS and common mood disorders.
• Eating disorders: Improper eating habits can cause poor nutrition, you may feel weak and have many unexplained symptoms.
• Autoimmune disease: Lupus and other autoimmune diseases may mimic CFS symptoms.
• Obesity: Lugging around too much weight can make you slow and weak. Being significantly overweight subject your body to significant, generating varied and multiple symptoms.
• Substance abuse: Addiction on alcohol and other drugs may cause many side effects – including excessive fatigue.