The common denominator is that the person who is suffering from a situation where their immune system has become confused and damaged, and doesn't protect them the way that it should. Also, their endocrine system, the balance of hormones, is somewhat out of whack in terms of their function of their adrenals and their thyroid. This sort of fatigue that results can be a bone-tired sort of fatigue where the person may get eight, 10, 12 hours of rock solid sleep, wake up in the morning, and feel like they haven't slept for two minutes. This is a sort of fatigue that when they try to go out and do the simplest tasks in their life, to go shopping, to go to work, to take a walk, simple exercise, halfway through, they find they have to sit down, rest or even take a nap. It can be a very, very debilitating disease.
And yet, when you look at the person they may look well, their skin color may be good, the skin tone may be good, lots of nice bushy hair. They may not look sick, but the way that they feel can be completely debilitating. Unfortunately, there's no one blood test for chronicfatigue syndrome, which adds to the problems and the confusion about this disorder. Chronic fatigue syndrome is a syndrome. It's a collection of symptoms. It's not a specific disease, per se. When somebody has chronicfatigue syndrome, the first thing that we do is a differential diagnosis. We'll do a number of different blood tests to see if somebody's suffering from something else that has to be treated very specifically, such as Lyme disease, or some babesia, or from mononucleosis, or from diabetes, or from thyroiditis, and on and on. If we can identify some other distant disease that can account for the symptoms, that then becomes the target, that then becomes their diagnosis until it is resolved and put back into a state of cure or remission, and then, we see what symptoms are left, if any.
If the person doesn't have any known identifiable disease or disorder, then we're left with chronic fatigue syndrome. The way that we address chronic fatigue syndrome is by looking at the balance of the immune system, looking at the inflammatory markers that it is making, looking at the balance of the major pathways of the immune system, looking at the various hormones that the adrenals and thyroid are making, which are responsible for our energy production and stamina, looking at the relationship, looking at the ratios, correcting things as necessary; and then, doing some very specialized blood tests to try to get a better idea of how the mitochondria are working. Mitochondria are like little power houses that are located in each and every one of our cells throughout our entire body.
One of the characteristics of chronic fatigue syndrome when people are doing research on this disorder, is that they find that there is a dysfunction of the mitochondria: A decrease in the number of the mitochondria, and a decrease in their ability to produce the energy molecule called ATP. However, the good news is that research has also been going on on ways to support the mitochondria, to stimulate the production of ATP, and to actually stimulate the production of their number and how to stimulate the production of new mitochondria. So the bottom line is that through a comprehensive evaluation of the person who's suffering from chronicfatigue syndrome, we can put together an individualized treatment protocol that can help to stabilize the symptoms that they're having, and over a period of time, to reverse the syndrome that they're suffering from, so they could have a long, healthy, and happy life.
CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME: THE HIDDEN EPIDEMIC
Starting with an impaired immune system, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), we're shown here, poses a diagnostic dilemma because of its multilevel combination of symptoms like arthritis, mononucleosis, anemia and extreme tiredness, often accompanied by depression and erosion of the will. According to Stoff, a Massachusetts viral-infection specialist, the complexity of CFS (previously called Epstein-Barr virus) demands a comprehensive, holistic approach to diagnosis and treatment. Following a semi-technical section on CFS's pathology, Stoff and Pellegrino provide guidelines for both physicians and patients. Stoff claims his therapy has been effective with his patients, among them co-author, friend and astrobiologist Pellegrino. Stoff uses not only traditional drugs, nutrition and exercise, but non-traditional techniques as well, such as vitamins, homeopathy and affirmative mental exercises (including visualization) that are designed to fortify the will and the immune system. The authors make accessible to lay readers a complex medical problem and offer realistic hope to CFS sufferers. (from: Publishers Weekly)
Difficult to diagnose, impossible to "cure," CFS appears to be a modern medical nightmare-come-true for a growing number of victims. A disorder known by names ranging from "Raggedy Ann Syndrome" to Chronic Epstein-Barr Virus disease, CFS strikes with the following devastating symptoms:
- Extreme weakness and exhaustion
- Persistent apathy and depression
- Memory loss
- Impaired concentration
- Recurrent achiness, low-grade fever, swollen glands
- Exaggerated allergic reactions
- Aggravation of preexisting conditions
- Susceptibility to secondary illness
Now there is hope for CFS sufferers. Jesse A. Stoff, M.D., has helped hundreds of CFS patients such as Charles R. Pellegrino, Ph.D., to achieve apparently permanent remission of the syndrome with a comprehensive program aimed at strengthening the immune system. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: The Hidden Epidemic is a combination of Dr. Stoff's advice and Charles Pellegrino's example as an "exceptional patient." It points the way for CFS sufferers to achieve a true healing of body and mind.
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