In February this year, Sonam Shah came down with a strange and painful body ache. Unfazed, she popped a Crocin and continued with her life. As a digital strategist at an ad agency, she was accustomed to late nights, long hours, and her work was her first priority, no matter what. Not surprisingly, her typical workday usually consisted of 10-14 hours at a stretch with multiple cups of coffee and plates of Maggi.
But then something strange happened: her body ache got worse and that was followed with the worst sore throat of her life. She just couldn’t shake it off. As days passed, she started losing weight and had to take weeks off from work, because she was exhausted and confined to bed.
Her diagnosis? Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). According to Asha Patyal, MD, Acupuncture, CFS is a serious disorder and is usually caused by a declining immune system, low blood pressure, and hormonal imbalance or can be also triggered by an infection. “A bone-deep lethargy which gets worse by the lack of vigour, and fatigue that’s inexplicable and no matter how much you sleep or rest, it’s still there. CFS can’t be diagnosed by a causal medical condition”, she added.
What Causes It?
Let’s give the glory to modern lifestyle.
To be specific, there are many things that cause CFS and our fast-paced, hectic lifestyle is just one of the contributing factors. Not to forget, poor lifestyle choices like bad diet, as well as emotional stressors can lead to CFS..
Other factors include:
- Too much caffeine or alcohol
- Unhealthy sleep patterns or sleeping for less than 8 hours
- A diet which consists of fried and processed foods
- Prolonged stress such as work problems or family issues
- Environmental factors such as pollution.
But let’s be clear here. Many people feel tired a lot of times and it does not imply that they all are suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
The 5 main indicators of CFS are:
- Extreme tiredness which feels new and unshakable
- Lasts at least 6 months
- Doesn’t ease with bed rest
- Irritability, forgetfulness and inability to concentrate
- Muscle weakness
A Change of Plan, Please
“A lifestyle and diet alteration is the first and most important step you need to take”, says Dr. Patyal. “The condition does not manifest itself overnight but is caused by years of adrenal exhaustion. Thus, it takes at least 6 months to reverse the condition and must be done holistically”, she adds.
Even if you are not sure if you are suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, it’s always wise to take steps to help your body cope and heal from everyday stress and exhaustion and some simple diet and lifestyle changes can work wonder.
Here are 5 simple tips to help you get started:
Sleep by 10.30 pm every night. Staying up past 10.30 gives the signal to your adrenaline to stay “charged” and you may find it difficult to fall asleep after that.
Follow a routine. A simple routine like meal times and exercise hour will calm down your adrenals and help you recover.
Hydrate. Avoid coffee and try and stick to water after your first cup.
Eat healthy. Avoid processed foods and shortcut meals.
Take it easy. Avoid tiring yourself on days you feel low of energy.
It’s important to realise that you are in charge of your health and ultimately small tweaks can lead to big results.