Chronic fatigue syndrome day is celebrated on the 12 day of May each year. This day aims at bringing awareness on the impact that the syndrome can have on people’s lives. The CFS world day is set based on the birthday of its pioneer Florence Nightgale who apart from being the founder of modern nursing, suffered from fatigue and symptoms that are characteristic of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Chronic fatigue syndrome which is also known as ME myalgic encephalomyelitis has the following characteristics
- Persistent fatigue: this disease is characterized mainly by chronic fatigue. A person suffering from chronic fatigue seems to have experienced fatigue in a persistent manner for over 6 months. This is different from tiredness that makes a person sleepy and after resting or having some rest the issue goes away. Chronic fatigue does not go away with sleep although rest is still important to the person. A person with this condition will be experiencing very low energy levels despite the fact that they may not be feeling tired with varying levels of intensity which can leave one feeling much better or worse.
- Post exertional malaise: persons suffering from chronic fatigue seem to suffer exertion malaise some 24hrs to72 hours later. Post exertional malaise symptom is evident when a persons does some exercise and the effect is felt later. For instance if a person with chronic fatigue takes a walk, the effect will show up later in two days time or otherwise in a worsened state of the CFS condition.
- Brain fog: this state of mind experienced by persons suffering from CFS is described as a non functioning state of the mind. This will be evidenced by a poor memory as well as lack of concentration which can make it even hard to remember words to use in a conversation.
- Other symptoms: other symptoms that may indicate the presence of CFS are mood swings, headaches, depression, muscle pain, sensitivity to noise and light and cognitive dysfunction.
The impact of CFS
It is hard for a person to cope with the above symptoms day in day out for the remaining span of his/her life. This has immense impact on the person which actually disrupts their lives. Adults may not take on work anymore which leads to unemployment of the person and in turn cause further consequences. School going children have their education disrupted when they suffer from this condition. The fact communication itself is a tiring process for a person with CFS and their social life come to a halt as well.
Diagnosis and management of CFS
Fatigue is a symptom that is very common in many ailments but CFS is rare with a prevalence of 7 to 3000 cases in every 100,000 adults. This condition is more prevalent in women than men and in America an estimate of one million adults are said to have the condition whereas only a quarter of a million have the condition in the UK.
There being no blood test or x-rays that need to be carried out to diagnose CFS, persons suspecting themselves or their loved ones to be having the condition should contact the family doctor. The doctor uses accompanying symptoms, takes the medical history of the patient, conducts a thorough mental and physical exam, and other tests if need be.
Participating in the CFS awareness day
The chronic fatigue syndrome awareness day is celebrated and observed by many around the globe. The day aims at bringing awareness to families, caregivers as well as researchers. Anyone can join in the celebration of the day by attending and participating in activities organized by different organizers to mark the CFS day across the globe. If not near any such organized activities, the following can be observed;
- Adorning oneself in a blue attire on the day i.e. 12 may 2016
- Sharing information with neighbors, colleagues and acquaintances about the CFS condition
- Sharing personal stories in regard to the condition in activities held for the day, in schools, social gatherings etc
- Learning and educating oneself about the condition by reading available materials on sites that are dedicated to bringing awareness about the condition.
- Identify an event linked to CFS within your community and participate