"Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” and Sen. Miriam D. Santiago’s tiredness

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I hope Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile was correct when he said that Sen. Miriam D. Santiago needed an indefinite leave from her legislative work because of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS.) I don’t know if what he meant coincided with what we know of the disease.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a nebulous medical condition with unknown cause whose manifestations run from physical to the psychological. As such CFS comes as a diagnosis only after careful and thorough health investigation which considers a plethora of possibilities—-hormonal problems (i.e. thyroid disease, diabetes,) chronic infections (TB, malaria,) exogenous drugs (substance abuse), malignancies, organ dysfunctions, nutritional, immunologic, and metabolic derangements (malnutrition, poisonings, autoimmune diseases) and psychiatric problems (bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia) among others.

CFS is a hard diagnosis to make because there are no specific tests or laboratory markers to pinpoint the ailment; many illnesses have fatigue as among their prominent symptoms and a good fraction of patients looks well. The manifestations of CFS vary in severity and its course is characterized by periods of remissions and exacerbations.

A CFS diagnosis should be considered in patients who present with six months or more of unexplained fatigue accompanied by other characteristic symptoms. These symptoms may include:

• cognitive dysfunction, including impaired memory or concentration
• malaise or exhaustion lasting > 24 hours after physical or mental exercise
• unrestful sleep
• joint pain without signs of inflammation
• persistent musculo-skeletal pain
• depression
• mood swings
• headaches
• tender cervical or axillary lymph nodes
• sore throat
• cardiac and respiratory symptoms

According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC) between 1 and 4 million Americans suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), an illness which presents with overrid ing tiredness. A fraction of patients are seriously impaired; at least a quarter are unemployed or on disability. About 50% of those affected come to their doctors and 40% of them have previously unrecognized medical or psychiatric condition.—Source: Center for Disease Control (CDC) at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/cfs

What CDC tells us is just the tip of the iceberg. From the medical perspective, one can however surmise if Sen. Miriam D. Santiago really suffers from a serious disease. Is she really sick? Does she have CFS or is she plainly tired. Let her doctor investigate so she can be treated.

The flamboyant senator who is known for her “intelligence and tartness” just wrapped up her investigation on the scandalous World Bank (WB) allegations that top-ranked officials in government colluded in rigging of project deals by contractors. She must really be tired as the Filipinos— for nothing of great significance came out of a senate probe of this nature. The investigation only broke open the unhealing wounds of corruption that has left the country mired in shame. (Photo Credits: St.ChristopherLucky; diong) =0=

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