Fatigue for at least 6 months is one of the most important symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. However, it is not the usual fatigue that one feels after a very busy day or week, after a sleepless night, or after a stressful event.
The specific characteristic symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are:
- It is severe and incapacitating (interferes with normal day-to-day functioning).
- It does not improve by complete rest.
- It becomes worse with physical activity or mental exertion.
- It is an all-encompassing fatigue and significantly reduces the person's activity levels and stamina.
Other accompanying symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:
The fatigue must be accompanied by at least 4 of the following symptoms:
- severe malaise (extreme exhaustion and sickness) after any physical activity or mental exertion
- unrefreshing sleep (waking up feeling tired or not rested enough)
- forgetfulness, memory loss, confusion or difficulty concentrating
- persistent unexplained muscle pain
- joint pain without redness or swelling
- headache of a new type, different from those experienced in the past
- tender lymph nodes in the neck or armpit
- sore throat
Additional symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: In addition to the above crucial symptoms, some of the following additional symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome may be present:
- brain fog's feeling like you're in a mental fog
- dizziness, balance problems, difficulty in maintaining upright position, or fainting
- allergies or sensitivities to foods, odors, chemicals, medications, or noise
- irritable bowel symptoms
- chills and night sweats
- visual disturbances such as increased sensitivity to light, blurring, eye pain
- depression or mood problems such as irritability, mood swings, anxiety, panic attacks
It is very important to distinguish between CFS and other similar illness, which is best done by your doctor or healthcare professional.