By Svetlana Kogan, M.D.
If you are like hundreds of thousands of other Americans, chances are you have experienced Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or a similar illness at some point in your life. A definition of CFS was adopted in 1988 which restricted the diagnosis to those who could demonstrate at least 6 of the following 11 symptoms: mild fever or chills, sore throat, painful lymph nodes, muscular discomfort, prolonged fatigue, headaches, diffuse joint aches without swelling or redness, neuropsychological complaints (forgetfulness, excessive irritability, confusion, inability to concentrate, depression), sleep disturbances, general muscle weakness, and sudden onset of symptoms.
These symptoms are all too familiar to us, working Americans. The most common ailment that strikes my office patients is the lack of energy. The number of 40 and 50-year olds suffering from fatigue is shocking. Why are people so tired nowadays?
Some blame our fast-paced, aggressive, and highly demanding working lifestyles. As the saying goes: Americans live to work, as opposed to Europeans who work to live. But let’s look at the statistics of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in our European counterparts. Applying a very broad description of this malady, a study of 3,874 people in a French community found that a striking 41% of people experienced daily fatigue. Perhaps, the pressure-cooker of our jobs is not the only culprit. Scientific Evidence of the recent decades gives us insight into various other causes of Chronic Fatigue: viruses, hormonal dysfunctions, environmental toxicities, nutritional deficiencies, and gastrointestinal dysfunctions.
This article highlights the viral etiology of CFS. Viral causes of CFS are quite wide-spread. Authoritative medical literature sites Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) and Human Herpes Virus-6 (HHV-6) as the most common viral pathogens responsible. EBV is the same virus that can cause Mononucleosis, commonly called a “kissing disease” among teenagers. If you ever had mono, you remember the terrible fatigue and listlessness it wreaked in your body and mind. Epstein-Barr Virus belong to the Herpes family of viruses, however it is not tested in the usual sexually transmitted disease blood panel. Testing for EBV and has HHV-6 has to be requested separately. Both infections typically occur via mouth-salivary transmission and go unnoticed in children. Both infections go latent in most adult, meaning that the healthy immune system manages to suppress the virus out of our circulation, into the subset of immune B-cells.
By age 45 about 95% of all adults have been infected with Epstein-Barr Virus, according to the U.S. Center for the Infectious Diseases. That is why, unless you are planning not to kiss anyone in your lifetime, it is virtually impossible to prevent this infection from taking place. So, what do we do to keep the EBV latent, i.e. inactive? Conventional medications for EBV and HHV-6 are toxic and unnecessary in most people with CFS. Many patients have been asking me if Valtrex is a viable treatment option. I would say “No”. The toxic side effects are to frequent and the efficacy is too low for EBV and HHV-6. So, antiviral prescription medications should be reserved for the sickest of all the CFS patients, are the last resort and should be managed by infectious disease specialists.
The frustrating thing is that most people complaining of feeling drained of energy at all times do not get a proper assessment of their symptoms. These folks are often overlooked by the mainstream physicals. And so, even if someone just had a perfect physical by their physician, they often still emerge asking themselves: Why do I feel foggy all the time, even though I‘ve been getting plenty of sleep? Why do I feel like yawning all day long?
I hear these questions every day and try to give viral CFS the attention it deserves. There are many alternative/holistic approaches to most viral-induced cases of CFS. In my holistic concierge practice, I encourage my patients to eat a nutritious diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, get plenty of sleep, and avoid excess sugars and alcohol, to keep their immune system balanced. The stronger the immune system – the easier it is for it to deal with the reactivated chronic fatigue viruses and bring them back under control. Depending on each person’s body mass, fat distribution, sex, age, and activity level – I would recommend a customized protocol of supplements manufactured in the United States, in facilities compliant with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and analyzed by the 3rd party independent testing labs, such as ConsumerLab.com
For the most effective management of CFS, I recommend using Ondamed treatment in my office – a series of Low frequency Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) sessions twice/week for 5 weeks to help balance patients’ immune system. Sometime I add far infra-red sauna and ionic foot bath to the CFS protocols, but these treatments are best for home use to make sure that each person has their individualized sterile sauna and foot bath equipment.
Finally and most importantly, we strengthen immune system by incorporating various Mind-Body techniques into the treatment protocol. Feeling peaceful and balanced is at the core of the CFS healing. Every patient gets “homework” and tends to these Mind-Body healing steps at his or her own pace, at home. We work as a team and with the right intention and hard work – we can heal most of the cases of CSF.
Svetlana Kogan, M.D. is a Board Certified Medical Doctor with 20 years of experience. She has appeared as a health expert on FOX, ABC, CBS, and NBC prime time TV, and has authored hundreds of publications for internet and print. She just moved her Concierge Internal Medicine practice from Manhattan NYC to Naples, where her focus is on fusing traditional medicine with holistic approach to illness and prevention.
Svetlana Kogan, M.D.
720 Fifth Ave S, Unit 209
Naples , FL 34102
Phone: (239) 676-6883