News and Publications

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Day raises awareness of sleep disorders

Posted: 12/05/2017


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Day falls on 12 May and is aimed at increasing awareness of a debilitating condition which is very challenging to diagnose.

What is CFS?

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) refers to a complex disorder which causes chronic and persistent fatigue that affects everyday life.
The level of fatigue a person suffers from is not akin to feeling tired due to lack of sleep or overexertion and cannot be relieved by resting. Some of the symptoms a person with CFS experiences are:

  • severe and chronic physical and mental exhaustion;
  • muscular pain, joint pain and severe headaches;
  • poor short-term memory and concentration, and difficulty organising thoughts and finding the right words (‘brain fog’);
  • painful lymph nodes (small glands of the immune system);
  • stomach pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea and nausea;
  • sore throat;
  • sleeping problems, such as insomnia and feeling that sleep isn’t refreshing;
  • sensitivity or intolerance to light, loud noise, alcohol and certain foods;
  • psychological difficulties, such as depression, irritability and panic attacks;
  • less common symptoms, such as dizziness, excess sweating, balance problems and difficulty controlling body temperature.

CFS can be particularly difficult to diagnose as there are no tests to confirm whether someone has the condition, people do not always physically appear unwell and symptoms are common to other illnesses. This means that excluding other causes as a source of fatigue is essential.

Comparisons with other conditions include:

  • mononucleosis
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • narcolepsy
  • Lyme disease
  • multiple sclerosis
  • lupus (SLE)
  • hypothyroidism
  • fibromyalgia
  • major depressive disorder

Managing CFS

Unfortunately, CFS remains a poorly understood condition, for which there is no cure. Treatment can include lifestyle changes, alternative medicine such as acupuncture, counselling, physical therapy and a combination of medications. CFS progresses differently in different people, so it is important to work with your doctor to come up with a treatment plan that works for you. Many people benefit from working with a team of healthcare providers, including doctors, therapists, and rehabilitation specialists.

Link with vaccines

In recent years, it has been reported that there may be a link between the onset of CFS and the administration of certain vaccinations. Many researchers believe that CFS is linked to an autoimmune disease and a number of people have been documented to contract CFS after receiving the Hepatitis B vaccine and the HPV vaccine.

There has been a marked increase in autoimmune disorders and this is said to be linked with the use of adjuvants in vaccines, leading to a diagnosis of autoimmune (auto-inflammatory) syndrome induced by adjuvants or ‘ASIA’. Adjuvants are used to increase the immune reaction to the compound that you are being vaccinated against. This is intended to be helpful by enhancing and potentiating the immune system response to the vaccine, but the results can be harmful if vaccinations are improperly tested.

Researchers have found that five conditions, narcolepsy, siliconosis (a complication from silicone containing implants), Gulf War syndrome, macrophagic myofasciitis syndrome (MMF), and post-vaccination phenomena were linked to previous exposures to an adjuvant found in vaccines. A study carried out in December 2014, cited in the Immunological Research journal concluded that in some cases CFS and fibromyalgia can be temporally related to immunisation as part of the ASIA syndrome.

The three main risk factors cited are: 

  • the appearance of an adverse event during immunisation;
  • the presence of autoimmune susceptibility (personal/family risk and history);
  • elevated levels of autoantibodies.

How you can participate in Chronic Fatigue Awareness Day

There are several ways you can participate in and support the spread of CFS awareness:

  • wear the colour blue on Friday 12 May;
  • look for any local events happening in your community;
  • share your personal stories and experiences about CFS;
  • spread awareness by telling a friend or neighbour about CFS;
  • learn more about how CFS affects others.

If you, a member of your family or a friend have concerns about the diagnosis or management of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or any other problems following the administration of a vaccine, our specialist teams may be able to assist.


Return to news headlines

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP