Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – what is the difference?


fibromyalgiaChronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia are known to have a host of symptoms in common.

They include:

*Unrefreshing sleep
*Irritable bowel syndrome
*Chronic headaches
*Association with Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)
*Cognitive or memory impairment
*Impaired coordination

Yet, Substance P, a neurotransmitter that transmits pain signals, is elevated in Fibromyalgia but not in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Also, RNasel, a cellular antiviral enzyme, is frequently elevated in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and not in Fibromyalgia

Pain or Fatigue – both?

As researchers learn more about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia they’re learning about the disparity between them, though some still believe they may be the same disorder.

“The simplest explanation of the difference between CFS and FM is that with Fibromyalgia, pain is a major symptom, while with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, extreme fatigue is most predominant.”

***According to the Arthritis Foundation, research shows that 50 to 70 percent of people with one diagnosis also fit the criteria for the other. I have been diagnosed with both.

Many cases begin after flu-like symptoms and may be linked to a virus.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients show chronic immune system activation, as if their bodies are fighting an infection.  CFS diagnostic criteria include low-grade fever and sore throat, while FMS criteria do not.

When I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome approximately 30 years ago, I had a high Epstein-Barr titer and a sore throat with a diagnosis of mononucleosis. My muscles had lost their tone and I had difficulty with simple tasks, such as walking. It felt like the signals from the brain were not connecting to the muscles.

I know when I do experience a sore throat, the virus is active and it is time to slow down and take care of myself. I have found that hot chamomile tea and raw honey soothes the pain and assists in a relaxing sleep.

I also know to increase my wild blue-green algae.  Research has shown the afa blue-green algae also has anti-viral qualities, which I believe assists me in maintaining my health.

18 painful areas of the body with fibromyalgia

People are diagnosed with Fibromyalgia if they feel tenderness or pain in at least 11 FMSof 18 distinct locations on their bodies. People with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome do not have these super-sensitive spots.

I believe I developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome from a viral onset and the Fibromyalgia was with trauma, from a whiplash and emotional distress. Maybe it was the perfect storm?

***Please note:  A Note on Gulf War Illness (Gulf War Syndrome):   With the exception of birth defects attributed to GWI, the symptoms for GWI are the same as those for CFS. It may ultimately be found that differences in GWI may be attributed to what actually triggered the illness in the individuals so affected: exposure to chemicals (including leaded fuel exhaust and oil fires), vaccines, and other substances the armed forces serving in the Gulf were required to ingest or have injected.

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