Chronic Fatigue – It’s not “all in your head”
(although some of it is). It’s also in your digestive tract and your immune system. You’re not lazy or crazy.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome* has long been mistakenly viewed as a mental health disorder but it is a serious, long-term illness that affects many body systems.
(*Also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is now being called Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease (SEID) to more accurately describe the syndrome. In this piece we’ll just call it CFS.)
The main symptom of CFS is unexplained, on-going fatigue (for six months or longer) that doesn’t improve with rest and gets worse with physical or mental exertion. There is no medical test to diagnose CFS so it has been frequently brushed off as being a ‘state of mind’ rather than a physical illness. Patients have been advised to eat better, exercise, get more sleep, take a vacation or told to just “get over it” because “there is nothing physically wrong” according to standard lab tests.
The National Academy of Medicine’s 2015 report states:
“Many health care providers are skeptical about the seriousness of ME/CFS, mistake it for a mental health condition, or consider it a figment of the patient’s imagination. Misconceptions or dismissive attitudes on the part of health care providers make the path to diagnosis long and frustrating for many patients.”
Research has discovered specific biological changes in the brain (metabolic compounds and pathways), the microbiome (certain gut bacteria), and the immune system (pro-inflammatory cytokines) that reveal CFS as a life-changing, complex medical disorder. The established medical community is slowly coming to realize – as CFS patients have always known – that it is not a chosen psychological state, it’s a debilitating biological condition.
Researchers are working on new ways to diagnose and treat CFS, but so far we don’t know for certain what causes it or how to cure it. Mainstream medical treatment aims to reduce the severity of symptoms where possible, but mostly focuses on coping strategies – advising people with the condition as to how they can self-manage through life-style changes. We can do better.
At Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy of Western New York, part of the Feingold Center for Integrated Medicine, we have several therapies that can help those living with chronic fatigue:
- IV Nutritional Therapy can help replenish an exhausted system with vital fluids, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes and antioxidants.
- HOCATT sessions reduce pain and inflammation, regulate blood pressure, increase circulation, mental clarity and energy.
- HBOT (Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy) has been tested on CFS patients and proven to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.
There is a wealth of clinical proof that Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy reduces inflammation/pain and helps to clear the ‘brain fog’ of Mild Cognitive Impairment that can be caused by Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and a number of other conditions. HBOT can ‘re-set’ body systems at the cellular level, restoring proper cell function by up-regulating or down-regulating gene expression that has been compromised by injury or illness to promote healing and recovery.
Need a fresh perspective on handling your chronic fatigue?
We’d be happy to answer any questions you have and discuss treatment options.