I am 20 years old and have suffered from severe fatigue for about four years. I am always tired. I get at least 8 hours of sleep a night and still am extremely tired. I cant work out alot because I just dont have the energy to work out for long periods of time (usually cant work out for more than an hour).
This is extremely frustrating for anyone but especially a college guy. I stopped going to social events because I would always fall alseep extremely early at parties and was asleep more at parties then awake.
I want to make it clear that my fatigue is extreme. Obviously I cant do this but I could probably sleep 16+ hours a day.
Coupled with this fatigue is the fact that I am starting to grow a little grey hair and my facial/body hair growth has decreased substantially.
As a result, I went to the doctors about 3 months ago and he did several blood tests and he said everything came out fine.
Its just so sad when my parents who are 55 and 58 have much more energy than I do. I feel like I am wasting my prime years because of this.
This also effects my love life as well. Because I am so tired all the time and the fact that I stopped going to most social events, meeting girls is a challenge. If my fatigue continues for many more years I dont really see ever getting married.
I hope someone here can help me because this is ruining my life.
Unrelenting fatigue w/o exertion for a period of some months sounds like chronic fatigue syndrome. There is no specific test as yet. You should be tested for other problems to see what can be ruled out.
I have had chronic fatigue for many years. Also have sleep disturbance, depression and brain fog, ie. confusion and forgetfulness.
The depression can be treated w/ antidepressants. Some people have had good results w/ supplements, modified diet, etc. That's why it's a good idea to join a support group, do research on the net, visit message boards, etc.
Do the best you can. No man can do more than that. In the meantime, a cure may be found. Good luck.
Do you snore? If so, ask your doctor about a sleep study to look for sleep apnea. I had it and although I knew I snored I did not realize that I had severe sleep apnea where I stopped breathing hundreds of times each night! Essentially what happens with someone with the condition is when your body tries to go into deep sleep the muscles in the throat relax and your soft pallet closes your airway completely and you stop being able to breath. The body essentially sends an alarm bell to the brain which takes you out of deep sleep so your muscles tense up again and you can breath. Sometimes breathing can stop for nearly 30 seconds or more hundreds of times each night. You never wake up when this happens so you never are aware of it and you think you had a good night's sleep, but it can take a toll on your body and cause very extreme fatigue. With sleep apnea some people get to the point where they fall asleep doing regular tasks like driving, etc. Also, if you have severe apnea like I did you never get deep sleep. They measure sleep in stages and when I had my sleep study they determined that I never would go into deep sleep (I believe called level 3 and level 4 sleep). I had been this way for years probably since college or earlier.
The cure for this is surgery or more commonly an air pressure machine used when sleeping called a CPAP. Getting treated makes a huge difference. Sorry for the long post, but many are not aware of this condition so I figured I'd share... Best of luck to you.
JTom...my heart goes out to you. I feel exactly the same as you do (my life has been cyphoned out of me) - but I'm nearly 40! How sad to have been struck with it so young. Please hang in there. Things will get better! You just have to keep managing day to day. On the good days, do what you can, and search for a physician who understands and diagnoses CFIDS!!!!! On bad days REST AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. Find some sympathetic friends. Better yet - and I say this from experience - USE the university/college system to your advantage and find a good (usually FREE) counselor. Ask at the front desk for a counselor who deals with folks who have chronic medical conditions/diseases.
Wat state are you in? Do you know of physicians locally who know about CFIDS? Get a librarian at your college to help you find this information - or if your university has a medical school - get a medical/health sciences librarian!!
Read what you can about CFIDS - but try your best to lean toward medical information and treatment that has some evidence-base. The large CFIDS associations are a really good place to start. CFIDS Association of America has a terrific newbooklet that goes out quarterly (I think).
If you haven't already, start NOW by doing everything you can to improve your health. That means, eat well - focusing on healthy proteins, healthy carbs (i.e. fresh fruits & vegetables), healthy fats (olive oil, avocados) in appropriate amounts and stay away from simple sugars/sweets/alcohol. You've probably been doing all these things already.
Decrease your stress - AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. Stress exaccerbates our condition/the fatigue considerably.
Antidepressants may be a good idea (as previously mentioned). Cymbalta has proven good with patients who have a lot of muscle/tissue pain along with their other symptoms (and its used a good bit now with Fibromyalgia patients).
Please let us know how things go. If others here are like me, they come and go. I was around a lot a year ago, then just didn't have the energy to come here as well as get my master's done. In the meantime, my husband found a girlfriend and left me. SOooo...I know EXACTLY what you mean about "why even get married." It's exhausting just to go day-to-day. CFIDS is a condition which has to be treated with kid-gloves. I.e. you have to learn what you have to do for your own body to deal with it's assalts. For me, that means:
1. RESTFUL sleep (I take 5mg Ambien - Lunesta works as well - if I hit a period where I'm waking up a lot or where I'm not getting restful sleep). This is a common problem in CFIDS.
2. REST, REST, REST. Hard to do, but a MUST. I just try NOT to push myself too hard. I don't set my goals high - I set them reasonably. And, if I have to rest at some point during the day (when I'm not at work), I do it.
3. DECREASE STRESS - reasonable goals, take your time in doing things, don't overload yourself, learn to say NO to others, KNOW YOURSELF (get to know your limitations).
4. You may have to reduce your exercise - if you exercise regularly. Try to keep a log. I would "crash" 2-3 days after exercising 20 min a day for 2-3 days in a row. Or...just going shopping for a few hours would crash me. What makes you crash? Figure it out and work around it and with it. Stress often will do this. You can't avoid exams (a classic stressor in college kids), but you can study steadily throughout your semester). Take the minimum number of credits, and if necessary, get a medical waiver to take LESS credits than a full load. PLAN your schedule. If you have a big test on Wed, plan to spend Thurs & Fri doing as little as possible and recovering.
You won't have to do this forever (well, at least not as intensely as right now). But, you have to get to someone who works with CFIDS and can treat you. Once you get some decent healthcare, you'll figure out your limitations. Many people with CFIDS recover to an active and full life. YOU may do that! (stats say around 70%). THINK POSITIVELY. And....not getting married until later may actually be a GOOD thing.
Thank you for the reply, I have been doing alot of school work lately and forgot to check.
The thing that makes me crash more than anything is school work. I am a bio major so its difficult and requires a huge commitment. This is extremely challenging when I am half asleep most of the time and cant focus well. As a result, I spend twice the time doing things because of my fatique.
The doctor I went to said there was sleep specialists on campus, apparently my campus has a sleep center (university of south florida). I will contact them once I come back to school in the fall (I am taking summer classes and have to move out of my dorm next week). So I should see someone within the month.
As far as my diet goes its a really good one. I have a low carb diet and excersise about twice a week. Im not gonna lie it takes alot out of you to excercise with CFS. I literally fall right asleep after getting home from the gym.
I empathize with you but its so much worse when your in college-- your prime. I know I am gonna regret for the rest of my life that I really didnt live the true college experience.
There is more to life than the college experience.
Get a doctor that has cfs patients. Many cfs patient have sleep disorders, so get that checked. Do not overdo you exercising as your threshold will be different every day. You do not want to be flat on your back like I do when I do too much.
Just do what you can.
Get a book or two on cfs and fibromyalgia, and also the book Prescription for natural healing. It will be your bible. Also, find a good naturpath who will work with you in conjunction with your GP.
You can alway go back to get that complete college experience. Make yourself well.
There are support groups throughout the States and Canada. Go and help each other get well.
I also hope you have a very supportive partner in your life, as this is very inportant.
Hi, the first thing that came to mind when reading about your diet being very low in carbs was that maybe you're not eating enough healthy carbs. Because you are studying hard and exercising, your body may require more carboyhydrates for energy, as carbs turn into sugar in your body.
Do you eat much protein? As this too is important.
I hope you feel better soon
It must be so hard for you to deal with, especially at 20 years old! You should have an abundance of energy. Have you been on antibiotics at some stage in your life? If so when? and how many times? As antibiotics can really disturb your natural biotic balance. Too many antibiotics can harm the natural immune system.
Now what it comes down to for you is the process of elimination. Just continuing to get tests done, and hopefully they will be able to determine eventually what is acutally wrong with you.
If I were you I wouldn't hesitate to go and see a professional that works in Natural Medicine. I was diagnosed by an irrodologist for my hypoglycemia, after seeing doctors for years that couldn't help me. So that is another option for you, once again, good luck, and hopefully good health in the very near future for you!!
I cant remember the last time I went to a doctor and took antibiotics. Its been at least five years.
I will see a specialist but I am not sure if they will figure anything out. I have had the normal tests done already so I guess they will be testing me for other things.
Yea as I said before it really sucks that Im 20 and have this little energy. I am not too familiar with CFS but I would assume most patients are not in my age group. I just hope I get better soon because I have been like this for about 4 years now and wouldnt be surprised if I stay like this for many more years.
If you can find out when you were last on antibiotics by ringing up your doctor, they can tell you. Then you can work out if it caused an imbalance in your system or not. If you've been like this for four years, and you took them about five years ago, it might be worth looking in to (?).
Also from my own personal experience, I found getting intune with my body really helped me diagnose a couple of conditions I have/am suffering from. You say you suffer from extreme chronic fatigue. Take a closer look at yourself and see if there are other symptoms that are going on in your body so that you are able to narrow it down a bit further. do you get headaches occassionally? Problems with short term memory? sinus? Depression? Constipated? Irregular heartbeat? skin disorder? light headedness? Continuious cough? The list continues. You might be very intune with your body, but some people aren't. If there are other symptoms, start writing them all down, and pay attention to your body and make notes of everything so you can learn your body.
You could be suffering from a vitamin deficiency; magnesium, Vitamin B etc. You might be suffering from Candida (from use of antibiotics) ...something medical etc. But gather your info, get intune with your body, the more info you have on yourself the futher you can get with this. Be patient and try to stay as positive as you can, keep us posted with any progress...
I am a 22-year-old male and have been diagnosed with CFIDS and fibromyalgia for four years, although I have had the illnesses longer. I too started out as a Biology major, but dropped out due to my CFIDS symptoms. I've since been to five colleges, and have managed to earn a 4.0 GPA for the past 2.5 years due to accommodations I have made in my life and accommodations that others have made for me. I'll graduate in May 2007 with a degree in Education. CFIDS is a legitimate disease. If you have worked at all in your life, apply for Social Security benefits. It won't cost you anything to hire an attorney. Find a good doctor who treats CFIDS and have them work with you to obtain accommodations. In you, I would make sure they check your testosterone level and viral titers. Regarding academic accommodations, I receive extra time to complete assignments, double-time on exams, no penalties for missed classes, etc. Once you are diagnosed, register with your school's office for students with disabilities. Also, register with your state's office of vocational rehabilitation. They usually pay part of your tuition and help you obtain other accommodations. There are plenty of services available for you; you just have to find them. If you have any questions, message me. I'm here to give you tips, ideas, and to answer any questions you may have. Below is a letter my physician wrote to all of my professors and the Office for Students with Disabilities at my university.
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing to you today with regards to one of your students, John P., and concerns regarding his endurance and ability to attend and perform in school. After an extensive interview with, examination of, and treatment of John, he has been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS), as he meets the CDC criteria for CFIDS(1) and the American College of Rheumatology criteria for Fibromyalgia(2). The causes of his chronic fatigue include chronic viral syndrome, hypothyroidism, and adrenal insufficiency, which only potentates his chronic fatigue and level of function.
As you well know, school can be often very demanding and often difficult to perform when afflicted with these conditions. Our center specializes in the treatment of fibromyalgia, severe fatigue syndromes, complex endocrine dysfunctions, chronic infections, and immune dysfunction. We performed extensive blood work, which uncovered a number of physiologic abnormalities and infections that have resulted in Johnís condition. Under the aggressive treatment regimen which John is currently undertaking, he has noted marked improvement. However, due to the fatigue and increased sleep demands, lack of mental clarity, and increased susceptibility to community illnesses to which John is predisposed, I recommend the following accommodations/modifications to academic requirements be made:
- decreased length of assignments;
- increased time to complete assignments and tests;
- the opportunity to take tests at home on weekends when he is rested;
- arrangement to be excused from class without penalty during exacerbations of his condition/illness;
- extra time to complete assignments without being penalized;
- he be excused from any physical education requirement until he is capable of maintaining a higher level of physical stamina; and
- a combination of in-school and home-based instruction.
The balance between the in-school and at-home instruction will have to be determined based on Johnís physical and mental endurance as well as his resistance to illness. As he continues to undergo treatment, his stamina will improve, but will need to be monitored and adjusted as the course of his recovery progresses.
At this time, I ask that you remain cognizant and understanding of his condition, and that it will at times have significant impact on his ability to function scholastically. John deeply desires to maintain his ability to remain active and functional on an occupational, educational, and social/personal level. It is my desire to help him achieve these goals.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.
1. Reeves WC, Lloyd A, Vernon SD, Klimas N, Jason LA, Bleijenberg G, Evengard B, White PD, Nisenbaum R, Unger ER, and the International Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Study Group.
Identification of ambiguities in the 1994 chronic fatigue syndrome research case definition and recommendations for resolution. BMC Health Services Research 2003;3:25.
2 Wolf F, Smythe HA et al. American College of Rheumatology 1990 Criteria for the Classification of Fibromyalgia. Report of the Multicenter Criteria Committee. Arthritis Rheum 1990;33:160-72.