Health

BREAKTHROUGH: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Isn’t Just In Your Head

Anyone who has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome knows it’s very real, and not just ‘in your head’. And now Australian scientists have proven it.

tired mum

In a world-first breakthrough, Gold Coast researchers have discovered that CFS is actually linked to a dysfunctional immune system.

Chronic Fatigue Difficult To Diagnose

CFS  is more common in women, and one of the main features is getting flu-like symptoms after exercise. It can build to a point where things that never used to cause fatigue, like a short walk, can be followed by unusual tiredness that can take some time to shake.

The breakthrough from Griffith University researchers gives sufferers a glimmer of hope.

“The research team have identified a dysfunctional cell receptor in the immune system which seems to be at the core of the problem,” explained Queensland Science Minister Leeanne Enoch.

“This discovery is great news for all people living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and the related Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), as it confirms what people with these conditions have long known – that it is a ‘real’ illness – not a psychological issue.”

CFS and ME can be difficult to diagnose, with no effective treatment currently available.

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Huge Cost To The Community

It’s estimated that 250,000 Australian have CFS and ME, with the treatment and management of these conditions costing taxpayers more than $700 million a year.

“But that is nothing compared to the devastating impact the conditions have on sufferers, along with their families and friends,” said Ms Enoch.

The university’s National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases has attracted $4 million in funding to continue its work on CFS and ME, the largest grant ever provided for research into these conditions.

This is a huge boost to our research effort, enabling us to really look at how we can overcome this debilitating illness,” said Professor Don Staines.

Symptoms Of CFS And ME

According to Better Health these conditions are very complex, and many symptoms will occur and must be present for diagnosis, including:

  • Problems with thinking, concentrating, memory loss, vision, clumsiness, muscle twitching or tingling (sometimes called ‘neurocognitive problems’)
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Pain or aches in the muscles, joints or head
  • A drop in blood pressure, feeling dizzy or pale
  • Palpitations, increased heart rate or shortness of breath with exertion or on standing
  • Allergies or sensitivities to light, smells, touch, sound, foods, chemicals and medications
  • Gastrointestinal changes such as nausea, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea
  • Urinary problems
  • Sore throat, tender lymph nodes and a flu-like feeling
  • Marked weight change – extreme loss or gain
  • Inability to cope with temperature changes.

We recommend visiting your doctor if you are suffering from any of these symptoms.

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written by:

Anita Butterworth

Anita is a journo from country Victoria who swapped the cut and thrust of television news for the joys of raising boys. When not writing about everything parenting, she's searching for the perfect cuppa and Instagram filter.