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What Are The Differences Between Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Diabetes?

By Edited May 21, 2014 0 0

Do You Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Diabetes?

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is often confused with diabetes.  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a controversial condition that describes a person who is continuously exhausted.  The person continues to be exhausted even if they rest.

A diabetic may mimic the same symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome but the two are very different.  In fact, chronic fatigue syndrome resembles a lot of diseases including lupus, hypothyroidism, mononucleosis, lyme disease, depression, and alcohol or substance abuse.  This article examines the differences between chronic fatigue syndrome and diabetes including their causes, the common symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is not known.  There are a various ideas about the causes of chronic fatigue syndrome.  One theory is that CFS is a result of the inflammation of the nervous system.  Despite the medical research in this area, there are not any known causes.  At this point, the research suggests that there are some typical traits that people with CFS share.  For instance, most people who are diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome are between the ages of thirty and fifty.  Most people with CFS are also women.


The cause of diabetes differs based on the type that an individual is diagnosed with.  Like CFS, the causes of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are not known.  However, type two diabetes is commonly associated with living a poor lifestyle.  Type II diabetes is tied to genetics and environmental factors.   According to the Mayo Clinic, type 2 diabetes is often associated with being overweight.[1149]


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome resemble other common illnesses.  Some symptoms include being tired for more than twenty-four hours (for an extended period of time), being forgetful, being confused, joint pain without any swelling, being irritable, having mild fever, having muscle weakness, sore throat, sore lymph nodes in the neck or under the arms, or headaches that differ from those in the past. It is important to understand that the symptoms that are experienced with chronic fatigue syndrome surpass the typical everyday complaints that one may experience.  For instance, someone that has chronic fatigue syndrome is going to be exhausted not just tired.  This exhaustion would prohibit the person from starting any activity.  In addition, in order to truly be considered a symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome, the symptoms would not be easily identifiable as the side effects of a medication.


The symptoms that a diabetic may experience will vary based on the seriousness of the person’s condition. A type one diabetic will usually experience extreme fatigue, frequent urinitation, extreme hunger, unexplainable weight loss, and thirst.   A type two diabetic can have any of the symptoms of a type one diabetic but may also have blurred vision, numbness in their hands, being slow to heel, skin or bladder infections.  A type two diabetic may not have any symptoms.


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

It is difficult and controversial to diagnose someone with chronic fatigue syndrome because it is so similar to other diseases.  There is not a test that will identify an individual with chronic fatigue syndrome.  In order to get a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome, the doctor will have to eliminate all other possible diseases.  This is one of the main reasons that people are not usually diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and diabetes.  Since chronic fatigue syndrome is a diagnosis of last resort, it is unlikely that a diabetic would be identified as a chronic fatigue syndrome patient.


The diagnosis of diabetes is based on a medical test.  One test that is issued is the finger stick blood glucose test.  It is a quick test that immediately reads the glucose of an individual.  Another test is the fasting plasma glucose test.  This is the test where you have your blood drawn and sent to a laboratory.    


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Someone who is diagnosed with CFS, will be encouraged to do certain things.  Someone with chronic fatigue syndrome will be encouraged to eat a healthy diet, use medications to treat the pain or fever, use sleep management techniques, and lead socially active lives.  People with chronic fatigue syndrome are also encouraged to use relaxation techniques.  One particular technique is not emphasized over any other technique.  Some relaxation techniques that are emphasized include hypnosis, medication, yoga, and deep breathing exercises.

Medications are not assigned to someone that only has chronic fatigue syndrome without any other symptoms.  However, if someone has chronic fatigue syndrome in combination with another illness (especially a mental illness), then they will receive medication.


An individual who is diabetic will need to receive treatment immediately to stop it from getting worse.  A diabetic will also need to check their blood glucose levels.  This should be done before eating meals and before going to bed.  It is important to keep a record of these levels.  A type one diabetic will need to receive insulin injections.  A type two diabetic may receive oral medication and receive insulin injections.

A diabetic will need to receive some of the same treatments that someone with CFS may receive.  A diabetic will need to follow a healthy diet.  This diet should be high in fiber and have very little sweets.  Diabetics are also encouraged to exercise so that they can minimize their risk of other diseases.  Diabetics are encouraged not to use alcohol or smoke. 

Other Considerations

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

People with chronic fatigue syndrome will need to make sure that the see the doctor regularly.  If they start to experience other complications, they will need to get those tested immediately to ensure that they do not have another medical condition.


Diabetics need to watch their health.  Because diabetics need to adopt a new lifestyle, they will probably need to attend classes on the proper adjustments that you need to make.  One of the best suggestions is to get a cookbook for diabetics.  Additionally, those with diabetes should also consider getting a diabetes medical alert rubber bracelet.


As you can see there are significant differences between chronic fatigue syndrome and diabetes. Make sure to consult your physician if you think that you have either of these illnesses.



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  1. "Diabetes." Mayo Clinic. 14/November/2011 <Web >

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