It’s no secret that there are plenty of us who simply don’t get enough sleep. Between always trying to find that old work-life balance and all our responsibilities that keep us up at night, sleep is a pretty hot commodity these days.
But as it turns out, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a lot more common than we thought. At its core, CFS is a disorder in which sufferers experience ongoing fatigue that can be accompanied by a loss of memory or concentration, headaches, muscle and joint pains and disrupted sleep patterns.
Researchers and doctors don’t know what causes CFS, but it appears that the disorder is on the rise — at least in Canada.
You see, Stats Canada put out a survey asking Canadians whether they’ve ever been diagnosed with the disorder by doctors, and a whopping 560,000 Canadians said yes. That’s roughly 36.7 per cent more people than those who confirmed in 2014 for the same survey, which suggests that it’s now more common than breast cancer, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis combined.
This revelation obviously has experts in the field rallying for the government to put more money into researching what causes CFS and how to effectively treat it. While psychological treatment can sometimes work for some sufferers, it doesn’t help all cases.
“What my patients need most urgently is good medical care,” a Calgary-based psychiatrist, Eleanor Stein, told CTV News. “These people are suffering and they have nowhere else to go. I get phone calls and emails in my office every day from people in despair, because they don’t know how to survive. They can’t do things for themselves because of the seriousness of their condition.”
The good news is that it looks as though the government will act on the survey’s findings in the near future. The Canadian Institute of Health Research has designated a $100,000 grant to the University of Alberta to look into potential causes of the disorder, while Health Minister Jane Philpott said in a statement that she is “supporting promising research to better our understanding of [CFS] which will ultimately help to improve the health and well-being of Canadians.”
Well, we suppose that’s a start. In the meantime, it’s important to note that if you think you’re among those who are suffering from CFS, only your doctor can give you a better diagnosis and treatment plan that could potentially help.
Sweet dreams, everyone.