Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complicated disorder which is mainly characterized by extreme fatigue or tiredness, even after minor exertion, and sleep abnormalities & pain that wonâ€™t go away by taking rest. It is also termed as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) OR exertion intolerance disease (EID).
So far the causes of CFS have not been understood; they could be genetic or environmental factors that might include a viral infection, psychological stress, hormonal imbalances, weak immune system, or a combination of factors. Various unrelated infectious diseases (for example: pneumonia, Epstein-Barr virus infection, diarrhea, upper respiratory tract infections) appear to lead to a state of prolonged fatigue in some people. Generally, if this condition is accompanied by cognitive difficulties, it is referred to as CFS.
Studies show blockage of a key metabolic enzyme that could explain the profound lack of energy and other symptoms experienced by patients.
In patients with CFS, there is a functional impairment of pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) triggered by the immune system. PDH is a key enzyme involved in the conversion of carbohydrates to energy. Impairment of PDH could result in the cells switching to consumption of alternative fuels, causing sudden shortage of energy in the muscles and buildup of lactate, experienced as a burning sensation in their muscles after even minor exertion.
Patients might have a problem with their cells producing energy indicating that cellular energy metabolism is abnormal in such patients.
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