Pain that is felt in the abdomen. Abdominal pain is one of the many symptoms of CFS and FM.
A type of pain reliever that does not contain aspirin and does not need a prescription.
The application of pressure with the thumbs or fingertips to the same discrete points on the body stimulated in acupuncture; used for therapeutic effects to relieve tension or pain.
An ancient Chinese practice of inserting fine needles through the skin at specific points especially to cure disease or relieve pain.
Sudden or severe. Acute symptoms appear, change or worsen rapidly.
The inability of the adrenal gland to product adequate amounts of cortisol in response to stress. See “cortisol“.
A condition in which you have a painful reaction to a stimulus, such as a light touch on your skin, when you shouldnt.
American College of Rheumatology
Created the 1990 criteria for the classification of Fibromyalgia. They are an organization of and for physicians, health professionals, and scientists that advances rheumatology through programs of education, research, advocacy, and practice support that foster excellence in the care of people with arthritis, rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases.
A drug that helps reduce or eliminate the perception of pain.
Powerful medicines that fight bacterial infections. Used properly, antibiotics can save lives. They either kill bacteria or keep them from reproducing.
Antibiotics do not fight infections caused by viruses such as colds, flu, coughs and sore throats (unless caused by strep).
A prescription medication that is prescribed to relieve moodiness and depression. Some antidepressants can also promote sleep and help relieve pain.
An unpleasant state that involves a complex combination of emotions that include fear, apprehension and worry. It is often accompanied by physical sensations such as heart palpitations, nausea, chest pain, shortness of breath or tension headache.
autonomic nervous system
The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is a regulatory structure that helps people adapt to changes in their environment. It adjusts or modifies some functions in response to stress. The ANS helps regulate…
- blood vessels’ size and blood pressure
the heart’s electrical activity and ability to contract
the bronchium’s (BRON’ke-um) diameter (and thus air flow) in the lungs
The ANS also regulates the movement and work of the stomach, intestine and salivary glands, the secretion of insulin and the urinary and sexual functions. The ANS acts through a balance of its two components, the sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system.
When someone is confined to their bed: forced to remain in bed because of illness, injury or weakness.
A physiological timing mechanism. The set of mechanisms within living organisms that link physiological processes with daily, monthly, or seasonal cycles or with stages of development and aging.
People with CFS and FM often refer to their “biological clock” being messed up when they are wide awake at night and want to sleep during the day. See “circadian rhythm“.
Any abnormal general swelling, or increase in diameter of the abdominal area. As a symptom, the patient feels a full and tight abdomen, which may cause abdominal pain sometimes.
This is a set of “guidelines” set forth by the CDC that the medical profession is to use and follow to diagnose illnesses such as CFS. The problem with CDC criteria is that every person is not going to “fit” a certain mold set by the CDC.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The CDC is one of the major operating components of the Department of Health & Human Services. The mission of the CDC is to To promote health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.
The increase in the excitability of neurons within the central nervous system where normal inputs begin to produce abnormal responses. In Fibromyaglia patients, if someone just walks up to them and lightly lays a hand on them it can cause extreme pain and this is what is referred to as central sensitization.
central nervous system
The central nervous system refers to the brain and spinal cord. These serve as the main “processing center” for the whole nervous system and controls all the workings of the body. The central nervous system does not include the peripheral nerves in the arms, legs, muscles, and organs.
CFIDS Association of America
The largest and most active charitable organization dedicated to conquering chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), which is also known as chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS). Since this organization was founded in 1987, the Association has invested more than $18.4 million in initiatives to bring an end to the pain, disability and suffering caused by CFS.
CFS Awareness Day
May 12th of each year has been designated as CFS Awareness Day worldwide. Leading up to May 12th, and the week after, awareness for CFS is heavily promoted throughout the world.
CFS Lobby Day
Each year the CFIDS Association leads Lobby Day, where people with CFS, their family and friends canvas Capitol Hill, meeting face-to-face with lawmakers about the effects of CFS and the needs of CFS patients.
Discomfort or pain that you feel anywhere along the front of your body between your neck and upper abdomen. Chest pain in Fibromyaglia patients is typically referred to as costochondritis. See “costochondritis”.
Chlamydia pneumoniae is a bacterial organism first described in 1988 that is most commonly contracted by breathing droplets floating in the air after a person who carries it has coughed – as with the organism that causes tuberculosis. Cpn can then infect the “mucous-moving” cells lining the airways. It can paralyze those cells because it survives by stealing their energy, and may cause a serious respiratory infection. Then, if the body’s immune response is unable to kill the invading Cpn bacteria, they can be disseminated via “mononuclear cells” in the bloodstream to infect other cells in the body, such as those that line the blood vessels, nerve tissues, brain, muscles, and even immune cells. There again Cpn bacteria metabolize and damage these cells by “stealing” energy. Further, the Cpn bacteria are drawn to newly formed mononuclear blood cells, which tend to be generated where there is inflammation in the body – and where the Cpn can cause a secondary infection. And finally, Cpn passes through three forms in its life cycle, so that research indicates a combination of antibiotics may be necessary to kill it off in all forms.
Studies and research have shown that many CFS & FM patients have chronic chlamydia pneumoniae infection that shows up in their blood work.
An illness or medical condition that lasts over a long period and sometimes causes a long-term change in the body.
Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS)
Another name used for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). See “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)”.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a complex and debilitating chronic illness that affects the brain and multiple body systems.
CFS is characterized by incapacitating fatigue (experienced as profound exhaustion and extremely poor stamina) and problems with concentration and short-term memory. It is also accompanied by flu-like symptoms such as pain in the joints and muscles, unrefreshing sleep, tender lymph nodes, sore throat and headache. A distinctive characteristic of the illness is post-exertional malaise, a worsening of symptoms following physical or mental exertion occurring within 12-48 hours of the exertion and requiring an extended recovery period.
The symptoms of CFIDS are highly variable and fluctuate in severity, complicating treatment and the ill person’s ability to cope with the illness. Most symptoms are invisible, which makes it difficult for others to understand the vast array of debilitating symptoms with which people with the illness must contend.
Other Common Symptoms
Additional symptoms are reported by sufferers such as word-finding difficulties, inability to comprehend/retain what is read, inability to calculate numbers and impairment of speech and/or reasoning. PWCs (see “PWC”) may also have visual disturbances (blurring, sensitivity to light, eye pain, need for frequent prescription changes); psychological problems (depression, irritability, anxiety, panic attacks, personality changes, mood swings); chills and night sweats; shortness of breath; dizziness and balance problems; sensitivity to heat and/or cold; alcohol intolerance; irregular heartbeat; irritable bowel (abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, intestinal gas); low-grade fever or low body temperature; numbness, tingling and/or burning sensations in the face or extremities; dryness of the mouth and eyes (sicca syndrome); gynecological problems including PMS and endometriosis; chest pains; rashes; ringing in the ears (tinnitus); allergies and sensitivities to noise/sound, odors, chemicals and medications; weight changes without changes in diet; light-headedness; mental fogginess; fainting; muscle twitching; and seizures.
Chronic pain persists over a longer period of time than acute pain and is resistant to most medical treatments. It can-and often does-cause severe problems for patients. Pain management is an integral part of treating chronic pain.
The daily rhythm that you body adjusts to in order to carry out essential biological functions. See “biological clock“.
When a qualified medical professional identifies a condition, disorder or disease from its signs and symptoms.
Studies that have direct applicability to patients and their care, or are carried out in patients, rather than in a laboratory.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy
A psychotherapy based on modifying everyday thoughts and behaviors, with the aim of positively influencing emotions. The particular therapeutic techniques vary according to the particular kind of client or issue, but commonly include keeping a diary of significant events and associated feelings, thoughts and behaviors; questioning and testing assumptions or habits of thoughts that might be unhelpful and unrealistic; gradually facing activities which may have been avoided; and trying out new ways of behaving and reacting. Relaxation and distraction techniques are also commonly included.
Problems with concentration/attention, memory impairment, poor word-finding ability, decreased information-processing speed, motor slowing and mental exhaustion. Studies have shown that 50% – 85% of people with CFS & FM report cognitive difficulties. This is commonly referred by CFS & FM patients as “Fibro Fog”. See “Fibro Fog”.
The existence of two chronic diseases in one person at the same time.
See “cognitive dysfunction”. Patients with CFS & FM report a frequent inability to concentrate.
Condition of the digestive system where a person (or animal) experiences hard feces that makes it difficult to have a bowel movement and can be very painful. CFS & FM patients often experience bouts of constipation and diarrhea. See “Irritable Bowel Syndrome”.
An important hormone in the body, secreted by the adrenal glands and involved in the following functions and more:
- Proper glucose metabolism
Regulation of blood pressure
Insulin release for blood sugar maintanence
Normally, it’s present in the body at higher levels in the morning, and at its lowest at night. Although stress isn’t the only reason that cortisol is secreted into the bloodstream, it has been termed “the stress hormone” because it’s also secreted in higher levels during the body’s fight or flight response to stress, and is responsible for several stress-related changes in the body.
An inflammation of the cartilage that joins the ribs to the chest bone. It is this inflammation that causes the sharp chest pains inside the chest wall.
The pain of costochondritis often mimics the pain of cardiac problems, including heart attacks and stroke. This can be quite scary for some sufferers; however, costochondiritis rarely causes any physical complications. Costochondritis affects about 50-80% of FM patients. See “chest pain”.
In CFS and FM, this is where the patient alternates between periods of illness and relative well-being.
Weakening, reducing someone’s strength or energy.
To lose physical fitness through lack of exercise and/or illness.
Everyone at one time or another has felt depressed, sad, or blue. Being depressed is a normal reaction to loss, life’s struggles, or an injured self-esteem. But sometimes the feeling of sadness becomes intense, lasting for long periods of time and preventing a person from leading a normal life. Depression that has these characteristics is a treatable medical condition called major depressive disorder, one of a number of depressive illnesses. Types of depression include: Major depression, chronic depression (dysthymia), bipolar depression, and seasonal depression (seasonal affective disorder or SAD).
Depression is common in CFS & FM patients as a secondary factor to their illness. CFS & FM are not caused by depression but patients often feel depressed because of being chronically ill.
diagnosis of exclusion
Refers to a medical condition whose presence cannot be established with complete confidence from examination or testing. Diagnosis is therefore by elimination of other reasonable possibilities.
Frequent, watery, loose bowel movements. CFS & FM patients tend to experience periods of diarrhea and constipation. See “irritable bowel syndrome”.
When someone is unable to perform particular activities. Refers to somebody with a condition that makes it difficult to perform some or all of the basic tasks of daily life
A medical condition that results in pathological symptoms and is not the direct result of physical injury. A disorder with recognizable signs and often having a known cause.
A medical condition/illness involving a disturbance to the usual functioning of the mind or body.
To cause somebody to feel lost or confused, especially with regard to direction or position.
Dazed, bewildered, confused. CFS & FM patients tend to feel disoriented, especially when experiencing a flare.
Inadequate or poor-quality sleep because of one or more of the following: difficulty falling asleep; waking up frequently during the night with difficulty returning to sleep; waking up too early in the morning; or unrefreshing sleep.See “insomnia”. Disrupted sleep is a common complaint among Fibromyalgia and CFS sufferers.
Lightheadedness, dizzy, loss of balance. CFS & FM patients often have dizziness as one of their symptoms.
A chemical compound occurring in brain. A neurotransmitter that is also a precursor of epinephrine. Dopamine is similar to adrenaline. See “Dopamine Theory in Fibromyalgia”.
These drugs bind to dopamine receptors in place of dopamine and directly stimulate those receptors. The regulation of dopamine plays an important role in our mental and physical health. See “Dopamine Theory in Fibromyalgia”.
Dopamine Theory in Fibromyalgia
A ground-breaking study by Dr. Patrick Woods, a nationally recognized researcher and authority on Fibromyalgia, which proposes that people with Fibromyalgia produce less dopamine—a natural chemical in the body that functions as a neurotransmitter—in the very areas of the brain where dopamine is needed to process painful bodily sensations.
The reduction in the activity of dopamine neurons, believed to result from a combination of environmental factors, including chronic stress, as well as genetic factors, serves as the strongest evidence yet that dopamine-related issues may be the root cause of fibromyalgia.
Decreased tearing in the eyes. Symptoms of dry eyes are burning, stinging, or scratching sensation. Another symptom of CFS.
The feeling that there is not enough saliva in the mouth. Another symptom of CFS.
Sharp, dull or burning pain in the ear that may be constant or temporary. Symptom of CFS.
The ability to do things. The ability or power to work or make an effort.
Epstein Barr Virus (EBV)
Epstein-Barr virus, frequently referred to as EBV, is a member of the herpesvirus family and one of the most common human viruses. The virus occurs worldwide, and most people become infected with EBV sometime during their lives. In the United States, as many as 95% of adults between 35 and 40 years of age have been infected. Infants become susceptible to EBV as soon as maternal antibody protection (present at birth) disappears. Many children become infected with EBV, and these infections usually cause no symptoms or are indistinguishable from the other mild, brief illnesses of childhood. In the United States and in other developed countries, many persons are not infected with EBV in their childhood years. When infection with EBV occurs during adolescence or young adulthood, it causes infectious mononucleosis 35% to 50% of the time.
There have been studies done (http://www.immunesupport.com/library/showarticle.cfm/id/7266/searchtext/epstein%20barr%20virus/) that indicate that A high incidence of severe B-cell immunodeficiency and chronic reactivated Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) have been found.
Of the 58 patients evaluated, 100% had evidence of prior EBV exposure and 72% had evidence for reactivated EBV infection. Notably, 94% of CFS patients had B-cell immunodeficiency with a marked depletion of their CD19+IgM+ mature B-lymphocyte population.
A remarkable 81% of CFS patients experienced subjective improvement of their symptoms after treatment with folinic acid (CAS 58-05-9, leucovorin).
The findings provide unprecedented evidence that CFS frequently is a folinic acid responsive clinical entity accompanied by B-cell immunodeficiency and inappropriate antibody responses to EBV.
Pre-defined factors that exclude a subject from a trial. For example: clinical studies often exclude patients that would be unable to attend for review for any reason. Many studies exclude subjects of less than 18 years old.
Mental or physical exhaustion. Extreme tiredness or weariness resulting physical or mental activity.
A term used by FM & CFS patients when they refer to their inability to think clearly, short-term memory loss, lack of concentration, and difficulty with word finding. See “cognitive dysfunction”.
A chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and multiple tender points. “Tender points” refers to tenderness that occurs in precise, localized areas, particularly in the neck, spine, shoulders, and hips. People with this syndrome may also experience sleep disturbances, morning stiffness, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, and other symptoms.
To start up again. To recur, worsen, or intensify suddenly. In illnesse such as CFS & FM, a “flare” is when the illness comes out of remission.
– Fever (usually high)
– Extreme tiredness
– Dry cough
– Sore throat
– Runny or stuffy nose
– Muscle aches
– Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, also can occur but are more common in children than adults
These symptoms are usually referred to as “flu-like symptoms.”
At the onset of CFS, patients will say that they experienced “flu-like symptoms” that never went away.
Abbreviation for Fibromyalgia. See “Fibromyalgia”.
Food allergies occur when your immune system has mistakenly identified a normally harmless substance as a bacteria or virus. CFS & FM patients often complain of developing food allergies after the onset of their illness.
Dissatisfaction: a feeling of disappointment, exasperation, or weariness caused by goals being thwarted or desires unsatisfied.
Chronically ill patients often deal with frustration because of having to live with always being ill and not being able to do what they want.
Unable to function at a normal level, or at the level one used to function. CFS & FM patients find themselves functionally impaired and unable to participate and interact with physical and mental activities as they once did.
Increased susceptibility to a particular disease due to the presence of one or more gene mutations. A family history that indicates an increased risk for getting the disease.
A pain in the head lasting for some time caused by changes in pressure in the blood vessels leading to and from the brain. Symptom of CFS & FM.
An area buried deep in the forebrain that helps regulate emotion and memory.
To have a wish to get or do something or for something to happen or be true, especially something that seems possible or likely. A chance that something desirable will happen or be possible.
What often helps CFS & FM patients cope with these illnesses is that they continue to have hope for a cure.
When the chemical messangers that regulate our body’s systems no longer function properly. There may be many causes for hormonal imbalances:
– poor nutrition
– bad diets
– environmental exposure to toxins
– chronic illnesses (such as CFS & FM)
Hormones are chemical messengers that are released from glands and organs, move through your bloodstream, and enter tissues where they effect the regulation of everything from reproduction to general health and well being. Hormones can be thought of as the regulating chemical force that moves you physically, mentally, and emotionally.
To experience physical pain.
Somebody who is unduly preoccupied with personal health and believes that illness is nearly always present or imminent.
Unfortunately, many, many CFS & FM patients have been accused by physicians of being hypochondriacs. Of course, this is not the case. These patients are truly ill.
Refers to a complex set of direct influences and feedback interactions between the hypothalamus, a hollow, funnel-shaped part of the brain; the pituitary gland, a pea-shaped structure located below the hypothalamus; and the adrenal or suprarenal gland, a small, paired, pyramidal organ located at the top of each kidney. The fine, homeostatic interactions between these three organs constitute the HPA axis, a major part of the neuroendocrine system that controls reactions to stress and regulates various body processes including digestion, the immune system, mood and sexuality, and energy usage
A condition where the thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism may cause a variety of symptoms (slowing of metabolism which leads to weight gain, thinning hair, dry skin, weakness, fatigue, joint & muscle pain, depression) and is believed to be a contributing factor to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.