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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How is chronic fatigue syndrome treated?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Jon Gamble


    Jon is author of ‘Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome’ and “Obstacles to Cure: Toxicity, Deficiency & Infection” - two books for CAM practitioners. He specialises … View Profile

    As with other ‘syndromes’, like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, CFS is many different illnesses all under one generic name. The most important thing is : What has causes YOUR CFS. Working out the cause then frames the treatment plan. That treatment may include mineral supplementation, heavy metal chelation, antiviral herbals, electromagnetic desensitization, or a host of other modalities.

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    Nathan Butler

    Exercise Physiologist

    Nathan Butler is an exercise physiologist and founder of the multi-disciplinary Active Health Clinic whom specialise in chronic health especially Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, orthostatic intolerance … View Profile

    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is an umbrella term meaning that is may emcompass many different conditions and is diagnosed by exclusion of other medical conditions such as celiac disease an cancer to name a few. It is important to be diagnosed by a registered health professional such as a GP or specialist physician.
    There are many treatments purported to be for CFS however the only scientific based treatments are Graded Exercise Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy delivered by an appropriatly trained health professional with experience in CFS. Pacing and investigation into dietary triggers which mainly fall into gluten intolerance as well fructose, lactose and sorbitol malabsorbtion are recommended depending on the persons presentation.

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    Chronic Fatigue syndrome requires a comprehensive individualised management plan made between you and your GP. It is generally aimed at providing relief of symptoms as the suffering and disability caused by these symptoms can be considerable.

    Because the underlying pathophysiology is unknown and there is no validated lab tests to confirm the diagnosis of CFS or to assess the severity of the syndrome or monitor if it is getting better it can be frustrating for the  patient to assess if any treatments are working. Also many other diseases overlap with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome so it is important to have these invetigated and treated as well.

    As the syndrome is characterised by a number of symptoms causing physical and mental fatigue a multi disciplinary approach is required to help manage the symptoms being experienced and may involve a physician ( paediatrician, sleep physician), psychiatrist, psychologist, physiotherapist, exercise physiologist, dietitian and more which is dependent on the symptoms being treated.

    Food is not part of the cause of this syndrome but some patients report food intolerances that may make some symptoms worse. This is very individual and can be diagnosed by a Dietitian using and elimination diet. A Dietitian will also ensure the diet is nutritionally adequate if any foods/food groups are being eliminated. Sometimes other conditions may exist with CFS for example Irritable Bowel Syndrome requiring specialist dietary managment.

    There are number of treatments proclaimed to treat/cure this disease which have little scientific evidence at all and a lot of money can be spent trying to find relief of the symptoms from this illness. This is largely a result of the frustrating nature of this syndrome and variability in improvement. What is most important is knowing the evidence supporting different treatment options you may choose to try and that you are seeing the best person to treat each of your symptoms.

    It is important to note in some clinical trials to date over 30% of people with CFS will improve with no treatment (placebo) at all so this syndrome for some (although not all) will spontaneously improve on its own.

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    My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    Dale,  if by “G6PDD” you mean Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, I disagree with you. 
    G6PDD is an X chromosome-linked disorder which is most common in people of African, Asian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean ethnic background.

    To my knowledge, backed up by a PubMed search (“G6PDD” AND “CFS”), there are no peer-reviewed data which suggest a link between G6PDD and CFS.

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