Chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and chemical sensitivity
are chronic, debilitating conditions that have overlapping
They can occur at any age, in persons of any race or gender,
and with great variation in severity.
Early symptoms are often mistaken for allergies or the flu.
When one or more of these conditions affect a person, the
lives of all members of the household are disrupted.
Children and adolescents suffer especially because these
conditions impact not only their physical health but also
their emotional, social, and educational development.
Some contributing factors are known and current research
is suggesting further answers, but much remains to be discovered
about these profoundly life-affecting conditions.
seen in CFS, FM, and CS frequently overlap, although certain
symptoms predominate in each condition. Each personís symptoms
are unique, and more than one condition can occur in an individual.
Symptoms may include:
- persistent fatigue
- difficulty concentrating, memory loss, cognitive dysfunction
- muscle pain
- joint pain
- disrupted or unrefreshing sleep
- sore throat / tender lymph nodes
- respiratory problems
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- irregular or abnormal blood preassure and heart rate
- gastrointestinal problems
- food and medication sensitivities
Chronic fatigue syndrome: Prolonged, disabling fatigue
with post-exertional malaise
Fibromyalgia: Widespread muscle and joint pain with
Chemical sensitivity: Reactions induced by exposure
to previously tolerated chemicals
With diligence and ongoing interventions, many people can
reduce their symptoms.
Treatment is multifaceted, usually centers on symptom relief,
and is tailored to address each individualís set of symptoms.
Getting better involves many lifestyle changes and requires
the cooperation of family, friends, and caregivers.
It is important to consult knowledgeable and understanding
health care professionals.
Treatments may include:
- treating imbalances of the endocrine, neurological, and immune systems
- relieving pain
- improving sleep
- identifying and avoiding environmental toxins
- improving nutrition
- making necessary accommodations in the home, at work, and at school
- modifying lifestyle and activity levels
- reducing social isolation