Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Label, Not a Diagnosis

CFS on Warning Road Sign on Sunset Sky Background.

This is going to be hard for some of you to swallow, but for those of you that process and understand what I’m getting ready to tell you, your life and how you view it is about to change drastically.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is not a real diagnosis.  It is a label.

Now, I want to make myself perfectly clear.  If you’ve been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), I have no doubt that you are sick and that you have many of the symptoms conventional medicine has associated with CFS.

You are ill. You are tired.  Your life is passing you by while you are stuck inside the proverbial prison that your illness has created.

Let me walk you through my logic and explain to you why I say that CFS is not a diagnosis, but simply a label.

Humans Want Labels

As human beings, we like labels.  Labels for everything.

Our pets, our relationships, our illnesses, anything.

For example, you go to the doctor with a runny nose, body aches, chills, and feeling pretty much like death warmed over.  Your doctors says “You have the flu! Here’s some Tamiflu, call me in a couple days if you don’t feel better.”

That’s a win, right?   You got a diagnosis, you got a treatment plan and you’re content with that.

But what about when it’s the other way?

What about when you go to the doctor with fatigue, brain fog, headaches and muscle pain?

The doctor does what they always do, they run a bunch of tests, then when all the normal things come back normal, he shrugs and says “must be stress” or if he’s really bold, he might tell you it’s in your head.

But he had no label for it.  Frustrating, right?

Well, now there’s a label and all the people rejoice!  Introducing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (or myalgic encephalomyelitis, depending on which circles you run in.)

The problem is, the CDC and main stream medical community have not established what is causing it.  It is simply a collection of symptoms.  Here’s a quote from the CDC’s website:

Despite a vigorous search, scientists have not yet identified what causes CFS. While a single cause for CFS may yet be identified, another possibility is that CFS has multiple causes. Conditions that have been studied to determine if they cause or trigger the development of CFS include infections, immune disorders, stress, trauma, and toxins.

I will hand it to them.  At least they recognize that it’s probably multifactorial.

But, when you do not understand what is at the root cause of a problem, the best thing you can hope for is to reduce and manage the symptoms… that’s just not good enough for me and it shouldn’t be for you either.

Examples of What’s Really Causing Your Chronic Fatigue

I’m going to get very deep into what I believe is causing chronic fatigue in future blog posts, but here’s the nitty gritty.

There are a number of factors that can come into play when it comes to chronic fatigue, including severe systemic inflammation, immune dysregulation, low oxygen delivery to tissues, mitochondrial dysfunction, etc.

These can be caused by chronic infection, hormone imbalances, toxic exposures, heavy metal burden, etc.

And they all can play off of each other… it creates quite the tangled web.

And they all can produce the symptoms that the CDC says constitute CFS, including:

  • post-exertion malaise lasting more than 24 hours
  • unrefreshing sleep
  • significant impairment of short-term memory or concentration
  • muscle pain
  • multi-joint pain without swelling or redness
  • headaches of a new type, pattern, or severity
  • tender cervical or axillary lymph nodes
  • a sore throat that is frequent or recurring

There is some good news…

The Good News

The good news in all of this is that each of the conditions that I believe contribute to this labeling of CFS are treatable.

We treat the underlying cause(s), we eliminate the chronic fatigue.

Now that I’ve presented my case, I figure that there is probably 4 groups of people that readers have divided themselves into:

  • Those I’ve offended and think that I just don’t know what I’m talking about. My opinion is an informed one.  An opinion that can be backed by peer-reviewed, scientific research.
  • Those that are mad that I’m saying their condition isn’t real. I’d encourage these people to go back and read the article again… particularly the first few paragraphs.  Your illness is real, your diagnosis is not.
  • Those that are totally confused. It’s okay to be confused with this stuff.  It’s very complex, but just stick with me and make sure to come back and read the future articles that are going to dive deep into this stuff.
  • Those that have just had their suspicions confirmed. These folks have known that their diagnosis was bullshit from the beginning and knew there had to be more to it.
  • I’m going to catch some flack for this one, but that’s okay.  This needed to be said and it needed to be brought to light.

    Please stay tuned and check back as I continue this series and explain what could be the root cause of your chronic fatigue.

    If you found this article enlightening, intriguing, maddening, or just flat out stupid, share it with a friend and if you’re interested in finding out what I have to say in future articles on this topic, register for my email list below and you’ll get it directly to your inbox.

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