Chronic Fatigue Body

Chronic fatigue affects sufferers in many different ways. Most people with chronic fatigue experience physical symptoms, as well as persistent mental exhaustion. While chronic fatigue symptoms can differ greatly from patient to patient, chronic fatigue can do more than make you feel tired. In fact, persistent exhaustion can take a toll on nearly every system of your body. Learn about the links between chronic fatigue and your body.

Primary Chronic Fatigue Symptoms

In addition to sleep problems and mental exhaustion, chronic fatigue can cause persistent muscle and joint pain and headaches. Sore throat and tender lymph nodes, particularly in the neck or armpits, are other common chronic fatigue symptoms.

A physician may diagnose chronic fatigue on the basis of four of these symptoms persisting for at least six months.

Other Physical Symptoms Associated with Chronic Fatigue

Chronic fatigue may also be accompanied by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), eye pain, earache, dizziness or the inability to maintain balance. Some patients experience abdominal pain and bloating, diarrhea and nausea. Chronic fatigue symptoms may also include muscle stiffness, especially in the morning.

Other physical problems reported by chronic fatigue sufferers include:

  • Chest pains
  • Chronic cough
  • Dry mouth
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Significant fluctuations in weight.

Chronic Fatigue and Your Body’s Immune System

No matter the cause, chronic fatigue can affect the immune system, and some researchers believe that a poorly-functioning immune system is the cause of the syndrome. Swollen lymph nodes, one of the primary symptoms of chronic fatigue, are typically associated with increased immune activity. A defective immune system may also be responsible for chronic fatigue symptoms like chronic cough and gastrointestinal complaints.

Chronic Fatigue and Metabolism

In some cases, chronic fatigue is caused by dysfunctional cell metabolism. The mitochondria in each of the body’s cells are responsible for processing energy from the food we consume. When they malfunction–causing mitochondrial disease–chronic fatigue may result. This impaired metabolism leads to a buildup of waste in the body and can cause either excessive weight loss or gain.

If you experience any of the physical symptoms associated with chronic fatigue for more than a few weeks, even if the primary symptoms aren’t present, see your physician. Chronic fatigue can have devastating and wide ranging effects on the body. All of these symptoms can also be indicative of other serious medical conditions outside of or in addition to chronic fatigue syndrome.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Retrieved September 29, 2010, from

Mayo Clinic. (2009). Chronic fatigue: Symptoms. Retrieved September 29, 2010, from

University of Maryland Medical Center. (2010). Chronic fatigue syndrome: Causes. Retrieved September 29, 2010, from