Chronic Fatigue Syndrome doesn’t have to slow you down! At Renewed Vitality we treat the causes, not just the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue, so you can get back to the life you’ve been missing!
How common is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or CFS is extremely common. Over 50 Million Americans suffer with CFS to the point that it interferes with their daily life. For 25 million of them, CFS symptoms are as debilitating as multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, congestive heart failure and similar chronic conditions. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is very similar to Fibromyalgia in causes, symptoms and treatments. The difference is that patients suffering with Fibromyalgia (FM) have more severe pain, and those suffering with CFS find fatigue is their greatest symptom.
Who is at risk for CFS?
People of every age, ethnicity, and gender are can develop CFS, however it is most prevalent in people aged 40-59 and women are 4 times more likely to develop CFS than men.
What are the symptoms of CFS?
For some, CFS starts abruptly, often with “drop dead” flu symptoms that just won’t go away. A sudden onset may be triggered by a dramatic physical or emotional event or trauma. For others, CFS symptoms begin gradually and worsen over time. Regardless of how it starts, its primary symptom usually becomes severe, unrelenting fatigue. Ironically, despite feeling exhausted, most people with CFS have a lot of difficulty sleeping. Other common symptoms also include:
- Digestion and bowel disorders
- Brain fog, or inability to concentrate
- Easily exhausted
- Unexplained extreme fatigue
- Decreased ability to perform work or participate in social, educational and personal activities (This includes multi-tasking, which is no longer possible for many patients who were very capable prior to CFS)
- Chronic low-grade fever
- Forgetfulness and difficulty with short term memory Headaches unlike those previously experienced
- Recurring infections
- Tender lymph nodes
- Joint pain unrelated to injury or trauma, without swelling or redness
- Muscle pain and stiffness
- Low or no sex drive
- Poor sleep, waking feeling unrefreshed.
- Increased thirst
- Chronic or frequent sore throats
- Weight gain
Most patients have a unique combination of these symptoms, which can significantly diminish a person’s quality of life, and in severe cases can inhibit a person from being able to carry out basic daily life functions.
What causes CFS?
The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that is the main control center for most of the glands in your body. It controls the adrenals, thyroid, sex hormones, and the autonomic system (which regulates body temperature, blood pressure, the sleep center, and the anti diuretic hormone). The hypothalamus is often weakened by long term exposure to chronic stress, nutritional deficiencies, toxins, and lack of sleep and exercise. This often results in low thyroid levels, adrenal exhaustion, undiagnosed chronic infections and underlying mitochondrial (the energy power plant in every cell) dysfunction.
Because blood tests indicating hypothalamic suppression have a very wide “normal” or “reference range”, most physicians not trained in bio-identical hormone replacement therapy may fail to diagnose this serious problem. Renewed Vitality physicians understand that in order to get your energy and vitality back, your hormones need to be restored to the optimal levels you had when you were younger and feeling great.
How is it Diagnosed?
Through advances in medical evaluation and lab testing, an experienced physician can identify the subtle clues that indicate CFS/FM (Fibromyalgia) much more quickly than in years past. The real benefit is a much more intense and in-depth laboratory evaluation, searching much deeper than traditional doctors look.
The key tests that are needed include a complete blood count (CBC), sedimentation rate, general chemistries, free T4 & free T3 levels (thyroid tests), cortisol levels (adrenal deficiency), vitamin B12, iron, and DHEA-S & Pregnenolone levels. Although many other tests can be very helpful, one can often rely on symptoms alone to make the other treatment decisions.
A thorough physical exam and a detailed patient history are also critical in evaluating other issues related to CFS/FM.
Can CFS/FM be treated?
Yes! Tremendous advances have been made in the understanding and treatment of this disease. Treatment requires extensive knowledge in the specialized field of Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia, and it must focus on symptoms and their underlying disorders. It is important to understand that the treatment of symptoms, while sometimes necessary, does not help alleviate the underlying conditions. The complexity of this disease requires far more than the typical 10 minute doctor’s office visit, which in most cases has resulted in ineffective treatment by the current medical system in this country. Successful treatment requires a comprehensive approach to the underlying disorders, which, when appropriately diagnosed and treated, can lead to an overall return to normal energy and vitality.
Renewed Vitality uses a Six Step Process for treating CFS/FM:
First: Address the pain and sleep disturbances.
This frequently includes the use of sleep, pain and antidepressant medications. This treatment is typically only temporary while the underlying problems are addressed. It is not the long term answer as commonly practiced in our current medical system. We will perform an extensive laboratory analysis focused on discovering the underlying issue and customized to the symptoms of each patient.
Second: Rejuvenate the Mitochondria and increase energy production.
Getting these little energy power plants in every cell of your body working at optimal levels is essential to restoring your energy. In those suffering from CFS/FM they are often found in a poisoned condition, leaving the cells starved for energy. Many things can poison the mitochondria including hormonal deficiencies, toxins and infections. Mitochondrial dysfunction may be the common denominator and underlying mechanism that explains the symptoms of CFS/FM. In addition to using treatments to rid the body of the offending agents, specific nutrients can be given to jump start the mitochondria and get the cells functioning well again. These can be administered orally or intravenously.
Third: Balance Hormones
Hormonal deficiencies are often missed or poorly treated because traditionally doctors have used blood tests that count on a healthy pituitary and hypothalamus as a standard. These traditional tests measure levels, not function and therefore several critical hormone deficiencies go undiagnosed and untreated. Some typical hormonefunctions that need to be evaluated include thyroid function, growth hormone, testosterone, aldosterone, cortisol, DHEA, pregnenolone, estradiol, and progesterone. When hormones are properly treated and balanced, tremendous results can be achieved! Follow-up care requires regular monitoring of the correct hormone levels for continued hormone health.
Fourth: Treat the immunity factor
Various infections can either be a major cause of CFS/FM or contribute to the problem. Because the immune system may not be operating properly, it is possible that there may be more than one infection that must be addressed. Some of these potential troublemakers include viruses such as Epstein Barr (EBV), Cytomegalovirus (CMV), and Human Herpes Virus 6 (HHV6). Also Enteroviruses, such as Coxsackie, Parvo, can be culprits. Bacterial infections like Mycoplasma, Chlamydia pneumonia, Borrelia Burgdorferi (Lyme disease) and Ehrlichia can also contribute to CFS/FM. A number of yeasts such as Candida and also parasites must be evaluated as well.
In a weakened immune system, infections with the above organisms will further suppress the body’s defenses and often results in further infections with other organisms. These are called opportunistic infections. Even with the most aggressive treatments, it is difficult and sometimes impossible to destroy the infection if the weakened immune system is not addressed and treated as well. It is critical to assess infections and be treated for them along with being treated for a suppressed immune system.
Treatment may include oral or intravenous (IV) medications. Often a combination of IV and oral medication can be extremely powerful in treating infections and a compromised immune system simultaneously. Prescription anti-infectives and immune boosting supplements work together to get control of these rogue infections and restore health to an ailing immune system.
Fifth: Explore unique causes
There are some groups of individuals that have specific problems that contribute to their CFS/FM. For instance, some patients may have suffered from a chronic infection that has created a coagulation defect which results in the body laying down a fibrin (or fibrous protein) coating on cells that impairs oxygen and nutrient transfer to the cells. This can cause fatigue, muscle aches and a “brain fog”. If this condition is suspected, specialized testing is required. If this condition goes untreated, not only are the cells starved for oxygen and nutrition, but it is very difficult to eliminate any infections because they will “hide” in the fibrin coating. The infectious organisms may also produce neurotoxins which can remain in the body and continue to cause problems long after the organisms that produced them are gone. Some patients have such severe symptoms of “brain fog” that they require intensive evaluations of brain function and very direct treatment to alleviate the problem. Fortunately there are tests and procedures that can be done to rid the body of these toxins and to restore health to the cells.
When treatment is complete, a plan of maintenance will help patients continue their new found health. Patients remain on a few core medications and supplements that are important to continue their health that may be taken to sustain their health for many years. As with all medical treatments, some patients may require additional therapies as their case dictates.
When a comprehensive treatment plan is in place, significant recovery or a complete resolution of symptoms is the rule, rather than the exception.
Can CFS patients recover?
There is Hope!
After decades of research and hard work there are now effective treatments for CFS/FM! At Renewed Vitality, we use both natural and standard medical procedures, assembled from the latest research and medical literature, including methods that are 10-20 years ahead of what most doctors currently use. Many patients begin to feel better within days or weeks of the first visit, and 80% of patients show significant improvement by the 4th visit when following our medically supervised, practical and proven methods.