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About CFS/FM
What are Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia?
Chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (abbreviated CFIDS or CFS) is a group of symptoms associated with severe, almost unrelenting fatigue. The predominant symptom is fatigue that causes a persistent and substantial reduction in activity level. Despite constant exhaustion, those with CFS are further frustrated by the fact that they cannot sleep or rarely experience refreshing sleep.

The fatigue has one of two starting patterns. The first is gradual in onset, usually correlating with a period of severe physical or emotional stress. The second possibility is sudden onset, starting with a “drop dead flu” from which a person never fully recovers. In this case, a patient can almost always pinpoint the exact date that their illness began.

Other common symptoms include:

Disabling fatigue
Difficulties with short-term memory
Brain fog (trouble finding words and orientation confusion)
Increased thirst
Bowel disorders
Recurring infections
Exhaustion after minimal exertion
Weight gain
Low libido
Autoimmune Conditions

CFS’s sister illness, Fibromyalgia syndrome (abreviated FMS or FM), is characterized by muscle pain. The painful muscles can be all over the body, or may be painful only at specific spots in the body. These painful areas can remain consistent or be transient. FM pain is caused by a shortening, or tightening of the muscles. These muscles need restorative sleep and optimal nutrition, among other things, in order to relax and heal. Since CFS/FM sufferers rarely achieve restorative stage 3 and 4 sleep, these muscles stay knotted and painful. For most sufferers, FM and CFS are the same illness. However, some people have fatigue without pain, and others have pain without fatigue.