- Published on Sunday, 24 June 2012 01:12
- Written by Dr ALI MZIGE
- Hits: 1660
Many people turn to supplements to combat the persistent tiredness and flu like symptoms that characterize this poorly understood and disabling disorder. Although no one knows the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome, a weakened immune system may be a factor.
Marked by profound and persistent tiredness, chronic fatigue syndrome also known as painful muscle brain affection (myalgia encephalomyelitis), affects more women than men, younger than the age of 50. Patients feel weak and listless much of the time and often have difficulty sleeping, concentrating and performing daily tasks. Many also have underlying depression (feelings of hopelessness).
Doctors disagree about whether chronic fatigue syndrome is a specific condition or a group of unrelated symptoms not attributable to a single cause. The specific cause of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is unknown, but an impaired immune response may play a role in its onset.
People with CFS have other immune disturbances as well. Please do not mislabel yourself when you suffer from flu
or malaria to equate your medical problem with CFS or thinking your immunity is gone because of other things, you know what I mean. Such people who diagnose themselves to suffer from AIDS and have not gone for testing, those people who suffer from yet another disease called AIPS and not AIDS.
AIPS stands for AIDS induced panic syndrome. A disease most Tanzanians suffer is AIPS and will not test for HIV but blood slide for malaria, with a sigh of relief if the test is positive for malaria. If it is not, what it is? Please fill in the gaps. About 65 per cent of people with CFS are allergy (mzio) sufferers (versus only 20 per cent in the general population), and some have autoimmune disorders such as lupus (butterfly like lesion seen on the face below the two eyes very conspicuously demarcated) in which the immune system attacks the body’s own health tissues (mwili wako wenyewe unajichukia kupunguza kinga mwili na wala sio ukimwi).
Doctors here admit they are idiots and the patient is pathetic (our jargon we use idiopathic) we really don’t know what causes or triggers CFS. Many patients remember flu like illnesses. Suspected infectious agents have included the virus that causes mononucleosis (Epstein –Barr) sorry for the name but that is yet another kirusi (not HIV at all) and Candida (fungus that causes yeast infections) there are many other theories, but nothing conclusive has been proved yet.
The old doctors of my age will recall the diagnosis we used to such patients whom we could not make head or tail; we named them to suffer from Hapa Hapa Syndrome (HHS) what else is this young lady suffering if not Hapa hapa Syndrome or Dacosta’s syndrome. These patients of course some times have a mild degree of mental illness. It is for this reason that a man should not think him/herself from being perfect for anything he/she suffers, will need to see a doctor for advice and consultation.
On earth we have a saying “a man is a fool he/she thinks there is a pill for every ill”. Explore for yourself the following symptoms to suspect CFS: continuing or recurring fatigue lasting at least six months and not relieved by sleep or rest, memory loss, inability to concentrate with headaches, low-grade fever, muscle or joint aches, sore throat or swollen lymph nodes in neck or armpits. This will be very typical of Epstein Barr virus.
This is the time to consider supplements to help CFS. To restore a healthy immune system begin with vitamin C and carotenoids. Other supplements from astragalus herbs can be used; supplements containing magnesium can be used to relieve muscle pains. Siberian ginseng and liquorice and the B vitamin can also be used. When a person uses supplements give them a month to work on.
It is very important to get good night’s sleep. If needed, use herbal supplements for insomnia, such as valerian. Any underlying condition or sickness needs to be treated. If you are on any medication please discuss with your doctor before you go for supplements. At the moment in Dar es Salaam, there are a lot of oranges which people can eat should they want to boost their immunity. An orange a day keeps the doctor away.
Mild aerobic exercise may be excellent for chronic fatigue syndrome, according to past articles of 1999 in the British Medical Journal. After a 12 week programme of walking, swimming or cycling from 5 to 30 minutes a day, 55 per cent of CFS patients felt ‘much’ or ‘very much’ better. Relaxation and stretching exercises may also work. But start and proceed slowly. If you do too much, you may suffer a setback. It may help to keep an energy diary to record when you feel better and you feel bad.
Only do your schedule of physical activity when you feel better. CFS is not a new disease it is in books of medicine since 1800s and was treated with liquorice extract. In 1988 Centre for Disease Control and Prevention came up with guidelines for diagnosis and treatment guidelines in mainstream medicine.