Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complex disease entity whose treatment is best understood by compartmentalizing the different areas of illness. This includes stabilization of sleep and pain, treatment of infection, augment the immune system, treat mitochondrial dysfunction, and correct hormonal imbalances and coagulation defects. Sleep, stress reduction techniques, and change of lifestyle can all produce a positive outcome.
If you are seeking treatment after you have suffered the effects of chronic fatigue syndrome, it is important that you consult with a doctor to best understand your treatment options.
Sleep deprivation can negatively impact a person’s well-being so much that it requires immediate attention. It is one of the main effects of chronic fatigue syndrome. Numerous sedatives have been used, ranging from melatonin and l-theanine to GABA and serotonin. Ambien and Lunesta of varying strengths have also been used to some success. In many cases, the only way deep sleep can be attained is with the use of Xyrem.
Pain control using narcotic medications are contraindicated. They can sometimes make symptoms worse. Pharmaceuticals such as Cymbalta and Lyrica have had varying success controlling pain from fibromyalgia. However, these medications can have significant side effects which may result in discontinuation of the drugs. Ketamine, often used as an anesthetic agent, when taken orally can have a major impact on pain experienced with CFS. It is non-narcotic.
Many different types of bacterial and viral infections can be an effect of chronic fatigue syndrome. Bacterial infection such as Lyme disease, along with its co-infections Ehrlichiosis, Babesia and Bartonella need to be treated in their initial stages with sustained use of antibiotics. In the more chronic form, in instances where antibiotics are ineffective, long-term treatment with botanicals and herbal supplements are therapeutic.
Mycoplasma infection is also treated with antibiotics and antifungal agents are used to treat systemic yeast infections which precipitate CFS. Cytomegalovirus, human herpes virus six (HHV6) and EB virus may require long-term antiviral therapy. All of these infections chronically suppress the immune system.
When the activity of the immune system is significantly diminished by adrenal insufficiency, overwhelming stress, or fatigue, it is unable to fight off the effects of chronic infection. Eliminating the causes of the immune suppression is clearly important while the use of immune modulators accelerates that process.
Modulators such as high doses of vitamin B12, naltrexone, and Isoprinosine strengthen the immune system. A major portion of the body’s immune system resides in the intestinal tract. This is under conditions of leaky gut, which allow bacteria and viruses to enter the bloodstream, to defects in the intestinal lining that need to be identified and treated.
Mitochondria are small structures or organelles within each cell that are responsible for production of NADPH and ATP which are the main sources of energy for cellular function. Cellular stress caused by chronic infection, diminished immune response, hormonal imbalance, and long-term chronic stress results in decreased mitochondrial activity leading to significant fatigue. This sort of dysfunction is a serious effect of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Correction of these deficiencies results in improved mitochondrial function. Cellular energy production in the mitochondria can be enhanced with ribose, a sugar used as a building block for mitochondria, Co-Q10 or ubiquinol, NAC and Enada.
A portion of the brain called the hypothalamus responds to internal and environmental stimuli to generate neurotransmitters. These small proteins can have a stimulatory or calming effect on the human body by sending messages to the pituitary glands and ultimately to the adrenal and thyroid glands. This is called the HPA Axis and plays an integral part in chronic fatigue syndrome. A negative impact on the system can result in decreased production of thyroid hormone, cortisol, testosterone, and DHEA as well as affect estrogen and progesterone activity in women.
When decreased hormone levels are identified they can be brought back to normal or even optimized with bio-identical pharmaceutical products. Hormone imbalance can be affected by social and financial stress, sleep deprivation, psychological illness and depression, dietary deficiencies, and environmental toxins. Combatting such an effect of chronic fatigue syndrome and the reestablishment of normal balance requires periodic laboratory tests and an understanding of the interrelationships of the different hormone systems.
The blood clotting system is a highly complex balance that prevents bleeding at the same time over coagulation of the blood. With CFS, very often subtle defects in the blood clotting system exist and have to be looked for. In fact, these defects are usually subclinical in that they do not cause bleeding or excessive clotting.
This can result in the deposition of fibrin, a component of the blood clotting system that can subtly coat the inner lining of the small blood vessels on the body which prevents the exchange of both oxygen and carbon dioxide to the cells. Cells become hypoxic, that is they are starved for oxygen and cannot function optimally. In addition, nutrients and antibiotics are unable to effectively reach the cells. By reducing fibrin deposits through the use of low-dose heparin or nattokinase, normal functional exchange can be reestablished.
How a Doctor Can Help
Chronic fatigue syndrome diagnosis and treatment requires the expertise of a physician familiar with the disease. An individual’s family physician may not be familiar with identifying the sources of CFS or may not be willing or able to maintain continuing care which may be long-term. Once a treatment plan has been established that requires frequent monitoring, an individual must undergo counseling laboratory testing to ensure a good outcome.
There are many road bumps in the treatment course that require a doctors accessibility 24/7. Not many physicians are willing to provide this sustained level of care, so it is important for patients to seek out those medical professionals that are going to make this commitment. CFS cannot be adequately treated one cause at a time. Rather, all identifiable effects of CFS need to be treated simultaneously. This includes pharmaceutical therapy that may need to be adjusted frequently, supportive stress reduction techniques, and even psychological support.