Dizziness and Balance Problems

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Along with the fatigue of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (or ME) debilitating fatigue, one of the common symptoms many people with CFS experience is dizziness and balance problems.

Understanding Dizziness and Balance Problems in CFS

Dizziness in the context of CFS doesn’t just refer to a feeling of light-headedness or feeling faint, but also includes complex perceptual issues such as feeling disoriented or detached from the environment. These feelings may worsen when standing up, known as orthostatic intolerance, or may be associated with poor coordination and clumsiness.

Balance problems, on the other hand, can range from simple unsteadiness, feeling a sensation of moving, spinning (vertigo), or having issues with spatial orientation to more perplexing problems like feeling as if the floor is uneven.

Causes of Dizziness and Balance Problems in CFS

There are many potential causes of dizziness and balance problems in CFS. One common cause is a condition called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), which involves an abnormal increase in heart rate after sitting or standing up and can lead to dizziness and fainting. Additionally, CFS patients may have unregulated blood pressure control mechanisms, leading to low blood pressure (hypotension) when standing up, causing dizziness.

Balance problems may stem from issues in the nervous system, where the brain struggles to accurately perceive the body’s positioning in space.

Treatment and Management

There’s no specific cure for dizziness and balance problems in CFS, but several things can help manage the symptoms. Patients are often advised to steadily increase their intake of fluids and salt to combat low blood pressure. Compression stockings and certain types of medication could also help alleviate the symptoms. Lifestyle changes such as avoiding sudden changes in body position and ensuring sufficient rest may also help in managing the symptoms.

Specific exercises can be used to improve balance. Physical therapy and balance training can also be beneficial.

Remember that each person’s experience with CFS can be different, and it’s important to have detailed discussions with medical professionals to get proper diagnosis and treatment plans tailored to individual needs.