Fatigue and tiredness is something that almost all teens experience at some point. They’re busy all day with school, sports, extracurriculars and social activities and often up late on their phones or computers — all while their bodies are still growing! This busyness means that it can be hard for teens to get the full 8-10 hours of sleep that their bodies need every night. However, some teens are exhausted far beyond regular tiredness and may be suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. Here are 6 signs of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) to watch for.
Your Teen Doesn’t Feel Rested After Sleep
CFS causes people to feel overwhelmingly exhausted no matter how much sleep they’re getting. The exhaustion that people with CFS experience cannot be “cured” by rest, no matter how much they stay in bed and sleep.
Their Fatigue Has Lasted 6 Months or Longer
In order to be diagnosed with CFS, your teen must have been experiencing chronic exhaustion with no obvious cause for at least 6 months. This exhaustion makes it really difficult to get out of bed and often interferes with school attendance and social relationships.
Your Teen Was Recently Ill
Teens have a higher risk of developing CFS if they have recently gotten over a flu-like or mononucleosis-like illness.
Their Fatigue is Accompanied by Other Symptoms
In order to be diagnosed with CFS, the exhaustion must be accompanied by at least 4 of the following symptoms: difficulty with concentration, sore throat, tender lymph nodes, muscle pain, joint pain without swelling or redness, headaches that are more severe than usual headaches, sleep that doesn’t help a person feel rested and exhaustion that lasts over 24 hours after an athletic event.
Your Teen is Experiencing Memory Problems
Individuals with CFS often report that they are forgetful, have difficulty concentrating, can’t speak clearly and can’t remember words. One study found that individuals with CFS have memory skills ranging from 5 to 20% below those of healthy participants.
Other Health Conditions Have Been Ruled Out
Before diagnosing someone with CFS, doctors must be sure that they have first ruled out any other possible health conditions such as mono, depression, lupus or hyperthyroidism. Chronic exhaustion is a symptom of many other illnesses as well, making CFS very difficult to diagnose.
CFS is a relatively rare illness; only 0.2 to 2.3 percent of teens suffer from the condition. However, the side effects of CFS can be extremely frustrating and often interfere with everyday life. If you’re worried that your teen may have CFS, make sure that you make an appointment with your family doctor.
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