- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
- What are the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome?
- What causes chronic fatigue syndrome?
- What are the risk factors and complications of chronic fatigue syndrome?
- How is chronic fatigue syndrome diagnosed?
- How is chronic fatigue syndrome treated?
- Prevention and outlook for chronic fatigue syndrome
What causes chronic fatigue syndrome?
The exact cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is still unknown, however, the syndrome may have some relation to infections that have an effect on your immune system. There are several viruses that have previously been studied as the possible causes of chronic fatigue syndrome, but there has been no direct link regarding a cause and effect relationship identified.
There is some evidence that suggests that the bacteria that cause lung infections such as pneumonia, known as Chlamydia pneumoniae, may be a possible cause of some cases of CFS. People who have this bacterium are likely to respond well to treatment consisting of antibiotics and may have their symptoms improved through the administration of antibiotic drugs like doxycycline. The link between CFS and Chlamydia pneumoniae is still debatable in medical circles. However, most agree that there are various infections that seem to lead to chronic fatigue that have no relation to each other.
Some factors that have been identified as possible causes of chronic fatigue syndrome include:
- Viral infections – Due to some cases of CFS developing after a person has had a virus, researchers have questioned whether some viruses are able to trigger chronic fatigue syndrome. Some of these viruses are:
- Human herpes virus 6
- Mouse (Murine) leukaemia virus
- Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)
There has not been any conclusive link found as yet.
- Hormonal imbalances – Those who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome may also experience abnormal levels of hormones in the blood. These hormones are produced in the adrenal glands, pituitary glands or the hypothalamus. The consequence of irregular hormonal levels and their role in CFS is still uncertain.
- Immune system disorders – Those who have CFS tend to have a slightly weakened immune system, however, it is still unclear if the impairment is prominent enough for it to result in chronic fatigue syndrome.