What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Chronic fatigue syndrome used to be considered more of an imaginary or psychological ailment than a physical ailment. But, intense research into the causes of this syndrome have shown that there is far more behind this ailment than previously believed. Today, more women, between the ages of 30 and 70 suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, than men and the CDC estimates that as many as 3 million Americans and 90 million people worldwide are suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome.
Though the occasional feeling of fatigue is common in today’s hectic world, those suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome experience a type of physical and mental fatigue that is so severe it forces them to greatly restrict their day-to-day activities and often leads to debilitating social isolation. The term “chronic fatigue syndrome” is used to refer to a number of disorders, all of which are characterized by persistent and debilitating fatigue that lasts for at least 6 months. Individuals are often diagnosed as suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome when all other possible medical and psychological conditions are ruled out. This is mainly due to the fact that there is no definitive diagnostic test for chronic fatigue syndrome.
In other words, the medical community is still not sure what exactly causes chronic fatigue syndrome. However, research is beginning to imply that chronic fatigue syndrome may be caused by a virus called Epstein-Barr or human herpes virus-6 (HHV-6), although no definite viral cause has been identified. According to this same research, chronic fatigue syndrome may be caused by inflammation of pathways in the nervous system. This inflammation seems to act as an immune response. Chronic fatigue syndrome may develop when this viral disease is complicated by a problem with the patient’s own immune response. The medical community suspects that the disorders that fall under the umbrella of chronic fatigue syndrome are influenced by biological, genetic, infectious and psychological factors that make a definitive cure impossible to engineer. The good news, however, is that research has shown that those suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome are most likely to benefit from alternative treatment methods such as diet-focused treatments, acupuncture, aromatherapy, massage therapy and a host of other alternative treatment options.
Common Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
The initial symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome are very similar to the symptoms of the common cold in the sense that sufferers first start experiencing such symptoms as muscle aches, headaches, nausea, gastrointestinal issues and fatigue. However, unlike the common cold, these symptoms tend to last for more than six months. Most of the people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome report feeling the following symptoms:
- Fatigue: A kind of severe exhaustion that has never been experienced by the patient before. This exhaustion is often not relieved by bed rest. This fatigue is so severe that it restricts everyday activities such as work, preparing meals, exercising, gardening, and spending time with loved ones.
- Mild Fever: 101 degrees or less
- Sore throat: Which is unexplained
- Lymph node tenderness in the neck and/or armpits
- Muscle weakness all over or in multiple locations, not explained by any other known disorder
- Muscle aches: also known as Myalgas
- Feeling unrefreshed after sleeping an adequate amount of time (8+ hrs)
- Headaches: different from previous headaches in quality, severity, or pattern
- Joint Pain: This joint pain often moves from joint to joint (migratory arthralgias), without joint swelling or redness
- Forgetfulness: or other similar symptoms including difficulty concentrating, confusion, or irritability
How Coconut Oil Treats Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Today, virgin coconut oil is gaining increasing credibility within the medical community as a functional food and being viewed as a powerful tool in the fight against immune system disorders such as chronic fatigue syndrome. This is mainly due to the fact that recent research into the health benefits of coconut oil has shown that virgin coconut oil, like human breast milk, is rich in lauric acid which is known for its antiviral, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties.
Likewise, virgin coconut oil is amongst the best dietary sources of saturated fats and medium chain fatty acids which play a vital role in helping increase our metabolisms and are more easily digested than fats found in other oils. Furthermore, because the medium chain fatty acids in virgin coconut oil are absorbed quickly by the human body and converted into energy, people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome will gain a great deal of benefit when they include a reasonable amount (3-4 tsp a day) of virgin coconut oil in their diets.
Photo courtesy of: Shanghai killer whale