Don’t let its name fool you – Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also called myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is more than just the regular exhaustion many of us feel after a long day. In fact, CFS is a disorder that impacts one’s nervous system and causes such severe fatigue (among other symptoms) that it can be debilitating. In fact, people with CFS are twice as likely to be unemployed.
Unfortunately, while millions of Americans suffer from CFS, many don’t even know they have it. CFS can occur at any age, although women are twice as likely as men to have it, as are those who are 40 years or older.
In addition to severe and often debilitating fatigue, those with CFS are also at an increase in functional impairment. CFS is characterized as extreme fatigue that impacts daily activities and can’t be explained by another condition, and that lasts a minimum of six months. This fatigue becomes worse when the individual engages in mental or physical activity and is not remedied by rest.
While the severity and kind of symptoms may vary on a daily basis, common symptoms of CFS may include:
- Extreme exhaustion after physical or mental exercise
- Sore throat
- Enlarged lymph nodes in your neck or armpits
- Unexplained muscle or joint pain
Lesser-known symptoms of CFS include:
- Sleep that isn’t refreshing
- Difficulties with memory, focus, and concentration
- Dizziness that worsens with moving from lying down or sitting to standing
What Causes CFS?
Unfortunately, we still aren’t completely sure as to what causes CFS. Many believe that certain people are born with a predisposition for it and that it is triggered with any one of the following triggers:
- Physical or emotional trauma
- Viral infections
- Hormonal imbalances
- Immune system problems
How Can You Treat CFS?
In order to treat CFS, you must first determine that CFS is in fact what you are suffering from. Unfortunately, there is no one test to determine if you have CFS. Instead, it is a matter of weeding out other potential illnesses or diseases and determining that the symptoms in question have persisted continually for at least six months. Also, certain tests may show abnormalities, which would be indicative of the syndrome.
At the moment there is no cure for CFS, although early detection tends to help. It’s more likely that the management of CFS will be the focus. How your CFS is treated is determined by other testing and factors.
What if You Are Unable to Work with CFS?
While some people are able to find work that they can do despite their CFS, others find that they are physically unable to work altogether. If this is the case, you may apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA).
In order to qualify for SSD benefits, you must demonstrate that you have a severe impairment that limits your physical or mental ability to do work and that it has or will likely prevent you from working for at least a year. Additionally, in order to receive SSD benefits, you must not earn more than $1,310 per month.
Since so much is still unknown about CFS, the more detailed medical records you can offer the SSA, the better. These records should include any and all:
- Doctor visits
- Physician reports
- Medications you take
- Lab tests results
It may also be a good idea to have your treating physician fill out a residual functional capacity (RFC) form that demonstrates your limitations. It is not enough to have CFS. You must also be able to show to the SSA that it interferes with your ability to participate in any substantial gainful activity. The SSA will also take into consideration your age and work experience.
The Las Vegas SSD Attorneys at Roeschke Law, LLC Can Help
If you or a loved one is struggling with a disability that prevents you from working, you may not know how to proceed. Fortunately, the attorneys at Roeschke Law, LLC can help. We understand the impact that a disability can have on your physical, emotional, and financial health. That’s why it’s our mission to help you. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!