Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic Fatigue
WHY Chronic Fatigue??
• I got MONO when I was 19,
and still suffer from chronic
• Thought it would be
interesting to find out
current research.
• How set up an exercise plan
 Definition
 Epidemiology
 Symptoms
 Diagnosis
 Complications
 Treatments
 Effects of Disease & Medicine on Exercise
 Effects of Bout of exercise on Patient vs.
Effects of Training
 Exercise Prescription
 Summary
Define: Chronic Fatigue
Syndrome CFS
 Also known as Chronic Fatigue and Immune
Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS)
 CFS is a puzzling & complex idiopathic condition
defined only by symptoms
 Persistent debilitating fatigue, not relieved by rest, and
not accounted by any specific identified medical or
psychiatric conditions
Definition Continued…
Criteria for CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)
 Severe chronic fatigue lasting 6 months
 4 or more of the following symptoms
Substantial impairment in short-term memory or concentration
Sore throat
Tender lymph nodes
Muscle pain
Multi-joint pain without swelling or redness
Headaches of a new type, patter, or severity
Un-refreshing sleep
Post-exertional malaise lasting at least 24 hrs.
Incidence or Prevalence
 Prevalence is between 400 to 2,500 adults per
100,00 population
Just under 1 million people
more common in women, white majority, middle
Recently, show CFS is higher in lower socioeconomic
status and minority cultural or ethic groups
CFS is associated with social strain, negative aspects
of social support, physical inactivity, anxiety &
Causes of CFS is still unknown but possible causes
1. Viral infection (MONO)
2. Immunologic dysfunction
3. Abnormal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)
axis activity
4. Neurally mediated hypotension
5. Nutritional deficiency
6. Profound psychological stress
 On-going fatigue-not relieved by
Sleep disturbance
Muscle pain
Frequent sore throat
Painful lymph nodes
Difficulty concentration &
Low-grade fever
Symptoms inhibit day to day
Diagnosis & Test
 According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
 If someone has substantial reduction in previous levels of
occupational, educational, social, and or personal activities.
 If there is an occurrence of 4 or more of the following
impairment in short-term memory
sore throat,
tender lymph nodes,
muscle pain,
multi-joint pain,
sleep is not refreshing,
post-exertional malaise (more than 24hrs)
 A physician must exclude all other conditions that
may precipitate similar symptoms
 To exclude all conditions, a person with CFS must
endure countless laboratory test and procedures
***Thus a fitness professional must appreciate the
long, exhausting, and frustrating journey their client
has to take before receiving the diagnosis of CFS
Diagnosis & Test
 Since the diagnosis of CFS is
based solely on symptoms,
there are no recommended
specific lab test.
 Lab test should be focused on
confirming or excluding other
possible conditions
***White blood cell count……any
monocytes or granulocytes ?
Typical Treatments
1. Pharmacological therapy
2.Sleep hygiene
3.Dietary management & nutritional
4.Activity management
5.Cognitive Behavioral Therapy/Graded
6.Alternative approaches
(for exercise)
2. 2. Graded
 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) :is a
psychotherapeutic approach: a talking therapy.
 CBT aims to solve problems concerning
dysfunctional emotions, behaviors and cognitions
through a goal-oriented, systematic procedure in the
 Graded Exercise Therapy : improving physiological
exercise capacity and exercise tolerance by gradually
increasing exercise intensity and duration.
Graded Exercise Therapy (GET)
 Main goal is to 1st increase
duration and 2nd to increase
 Patients need to start at a low
baseline for 2 weeks, exercising at
least for 5 days
 Then incrementally increase
daily exercise on duration until
they are doing 30 min of exercise
for 5 days
 Can be done in sessions of 10 to
15 mins
Graded Exercise Therapy
 Once 30 minutes of daily exercise is achieved, intensity
should be increased.
 10-20%, but no more than 20% weekly.
 If patient develops symptoms as a response to increased
intensity, they should KEEP exercising at that level,
rather than stop
 The body with start to adapt and the symptoms should
 Let your patient/client chose what kind of exercise and
dosage they will preform because they will be more
likely to continue exercising
One study from Journal of
Pediatrics and Child Health,
2009 showed:
 GET had a significant effect in aerobic
capacity on CFS
 Increase in exercise duration by 18%
 Also increase in time to fatigue, exercise
intensity (METs) and peak oxygen uptake
 Upper body muscular strength and endurance
through a 70% increase in # of pushups
Overall concluded that GET is
effective in improving quality of
life and depressive feelings
Educating Clients
 Providing information about home exercise programs, their
illness & treatment, is considered an important part of the
therapy process.
 Early research has shown that if patients recognize the
benefits from exercise ,on their chronic disease, than they
are more likely to continue physical activity.
In the general population, ½ of all who
participate in supervised exercise
programs stop within 3-6 months… 
Common Effects of Disease on Ability to Exercise
 Post-exertion malaise /more than
 Musculoskeletal pain- in vigorous
 Worsening symptoms
So, it is important for patients to learn how to
estimate their current physical capability,
prior to exercise.
When exercise, patients need lots of breaks,
with the lengths of the breaks equaling
duration of activity
Patients can’t just work out when they want to
work out. They need to be in the “RIGHT”
Medicines For CFS
Effects on exercise
Antidepressants (TCA)
Increase heart rate, decrease blood
pressure, & ECG changes
Anti-arrhythmic agent
Increase heart rate & ECG Changes
Carisoprodol/ cyclobenzaprine
Reduce blood pressure and cause
Reduce heart rate & blood pressure
Alprazolam & lorazepam
Muscular in-coordination
Beta Blockers
Decrease heart rate and blood
pressure, reducing exercise capacity in
patients without angina
Acute Effects of Chronic Fatigue on Exercise
 Higher RPE at every work load
compared to healthy controls
 Slower hear rate acceleration as
workloads increase
 Some may have 10 to 50% lower
maximal power output compared
to controls
 Expect to experience an increase
in symptoms after completion of a
single bout of exercise
Chronic Effects of Exercise with
CFS clients
• One study showed that those who participated in a low
impact aerobic dance session 2x per week (20 weeks) had
significant decrease in exercise induced pain.
• In the long run, exercise programs have shown to improve
pain, fatigue, and/or anxiety/depression.
• Overall it was not shown improvements with strength, but
more the ability to tolerate pain without symptoms
getting worse!!
• Prevent deconditioning
Exercise tests
 Submaximal test using the Balke &
Naugton Treadmill protocols
 Cycle ergometer protocols
 Start slow, go slow
 Primary concern is an adequate warm-up
and tolerable rate of increase to minimize
premature local muscle failure and fatigue
 6 min walk test- better used as functional
test, rather than measurement of
cardiorespiratory fitness.
Exercise Testing
 Incremental exercise testing with monitoring of
standard cardiovascular & ventilatory responses.
 electrocardiogram, blood pressure, heart rate
monitor, respiratory gas exchange and ventilation
may be indicated as a screening test for individuals
whose diagnosis is not yet established.
 Remember , individuals with long-standing
symptoms are very likely to have a low level exercise
activity & have undergone significant
Exercise Testing
 Work rates will therefore usually start out low
relative to standard protocol. Based on predicted
age, size, and gender.
 Work rates below 2 METs and increase .5 to 1
MET per stage.
 Testing should be scheduled for a day when the
client does not have other activities scheduled
Exercise Goals/Programming
 1st- prevent further
 Resist the temptation to
adopt a traditional
method of training aimed
at aerobic capacity
 Instead focus on modest
goals for preventing
 Focus on increasing
duration not intensity.
 RPE should be the
primary goal to
determine exercise
intensity of the client
 Aerobic exercise should
be one that is familiar to
 For strength training stay
away from delayed onset
muscle soreness
(DOMS). Eccentric
Aerobic: large muscle activities (walking, Prevent deconditioning
rowing, cycling, swimming)
Maintain functional abilities
Return to desired occupation/social
Resistive: Large muscle groups
(theraband, light dumbbells)
Similar to aerobic exercise
Intensity/Duration/ Frequency
Aerobic: RPE 9-12
*Intensity not main focus
5 Min per session up to 60 Min
3 to 5 days per week
Be prepared for set backs
1 to 2 times per day
Resistive: Below point of muscle to fatigue
As tolerated
Expect a slower rate of progression
3 to 5 days per week
Avoid symptoms of muscle soreness
Once per day
Therapeutic Range
Maximal Tolerated
Pharmacotherapy model
Summary & Conclusion
 CFS is defined by symptoms, therefore there isn’t any
diagnosis test
 Chronic Fatigue is fatigue lasting at least 6 months
 Exercise is one of the common treatments for CFS
 The goals for exercise are 1st duration 2nd intensity
 RPE is the primary key for intensity
 When testing CF patients remember their workloads are
going to be lower than the norms and to increase slower
than normal
 Encourage client to not stop if symptoms resume, to just
continue to exercise and the body will adapt
Bailey, S. P. T. ,. D. ,. F. (2011). Exercise as a treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome. ACSM Health &
Fitness Journal, 15(1), 20-25.
Clark, L., & White, P. (2005). The role of deconditioning and therapeutic exercise in chronic fatigue
syndrome (CFS). Journal Of Mental Health, 14(3), 237-252
Darcy, P., Napora, L., DeMarco, C., & Remsber, C. (2002). Acsm's resources for clinical exercise
physiology. (1 ed., pp. 111-120). Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Durstine, J. L., Moore, G. E., Painter, P. L., & Roberts, S. O. (2009). Acsm's exercise management for
persons with chronic diseases and disabilities. (3rd ed., pp. 233-237). Champaign, IL: Human
Gordon, B. A., Knapman, L. M., & Lubitz, L. (2010). Graduated exercise training and progressive
resistance training in adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome: a randomized controlled
pilot study. Clinical Rehabilitation, 24(12), 1072-1079. doi:10.1177/0269215510371429
Gordon, B. and Lubitz, L. (2009), Promising outcomes of an adolescent chronic fatigue syndrome
inpatient programme. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 45: 286–290. doi:
Nijs, J., Paul, L., & Wallman, K. (2008). Chronic fatigue syndrome: an approach combining selfmanagement with graded exercise to avoid exacerbations. Journal Of Rehabilitation
Medicine: Official Journal Of The UEMS European Board Of Physical And Rehabilitation
Medicine, 40(4), 241-247.
Skinner S., J. (2005). Exercise testing and exercise prescription for special cases. (3rd ed. ed., pp. 188199). Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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