According to CDC data, CFS may affect up to 2.5 million Americans, 90% of whom are undiagnosed. The illness drastically alters the lives of those who suffer from it by inhibiting their ability to participate in most daily activities.
There are options to help those suffering with chronic fatigue syndrome, including hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
Understanding Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (also referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME/CFS) is a medical condition that causes extreme fatigue, which can impede patients’ ability to work, socialize, concentrate, and exercise. Symptoms can ebb and flow, sometimes leading to misdiagnosis and difficulty in recommending long term treatment. The CDC reports that all demographic groups could get CFS, but it most commonly occurs in white people, people between 40 and 60 years old, and women.
What Causes It
CFS is difficult to diagnose because it has no clear underlying medical root. As such, many current treatments attempt to primarily assuage the symptoms. CFS is often associated with medical conditions such as fibromyalgia, though it is not directly caused by these other afflictions.
How to Recognize CFS
According to MedlinePlus, symptoms of CFS include:
- Severe fatigue that is not improved by rest
- Sleep problems
- Post-exertional malaise (PEM), in which your symptoms get worse after any physical or mental activity
- Problems with thinking and concentrating
These issues can become so severe that patients can hardly tolerate any sort of exercise or daily activity.
Evidence Of HBOT As Potential Treatment
Although there are no current cures, there are a variety of remedies to manage symptoms. Preliminary studies have suggested that HBOT may help relieve symptoms of CFS. One small sample study conducted in 2013 showed statistical results in decreasing patients’ CFS symptoms as assessed by three scaled measurements that are commonly used to assess CFS. Larger studies with controls are needed to confirm these findings, but this early experiment demonstrated the potential capacity of HBOT for CFS patients.
Another study implicated HBOT as a possible adjunctive treatment. It could be used alongside remedies that individually target certain symptoms, particularly PEM or sleep problems, because it may be easier to understand and respond to those complications. HBOT, in addition to these treatments, could provide maximum relief because oxygen treatment does not often induce adverse side effects.
Optimal Ways To Use HBOT
Scientists have speculated that CFS may be triggered by certain factors, such as psychological stress, hormonal imbalance, viral infections, and immune system complications. Because of HBOT’s intended effect of healing through increased oxygen absorption, it has the potential to alleviate some of these triggers and reduce the severity of CFS, particularly if the trigger is an issue that HBOT is already used to treat. If a neurological issue triggers the syndrome, then HBOT may be able to strengthen the brain system, which heavily relies on oxygen to function. Additionally, when doctors suspect that immune issues set off CFS, HBOT can bolster the body’s immune system and as such begin to treat CFS.
In some CFS cases, patients’ immune systems malfunction in a way that results in T-cells not regenerating and communicating the way they normally would. There is no direct causation between immune issues and CFS, but some studies have looked at the correlation and sought to resolve the immune system malfunction as a way of mitigating the debilitating effects of CFS. With a link between T-cell problems and CFS identified, some scientists have hypothesized that in such cases, it could be possible that HBOT could fortify the immune system and alleviate CFS symptoms.
How Does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Work?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy otherwise known as HBOT is administered to patients in a chamber. The patient is exposed to 100% pure oxygen. This increased exposure to oxygen in a hyperbaric chamber can offer many healing attributes. The added benefit is that hyperbaric treatment is painless and not intrusive at all.
Reputable HBOT Providers
Suffering from a condition such as chronic fatigue syndrome can be challenging which is why you want to be sure that your treatment provider is trusted in the medical community for prioritizing the health of their patients.
RegenQuest, accredited by AHCA, provides specialized treatment with over 30 years of combined experience in Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and Advanced Wound Care.
Chronic fatigue syndrome is not something that patients should have to struggle with alone. Contact us on 954-571-9392 or schedule an HBOT consultation online.