40% of Type 1 Adults Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

A new study out of Holland suggests that people with Type 1 diabetes are much more likely to suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) than the average population, and it apparently has nothing to do with fluctuating glucose levels.

The study, conducted by the Expert Center for Chronic Fatigue at Radboud University in Holland, found that 4 in 10 adult study participants with Type 1 diabetes suffered from CFS, compared with fewer than 1 in 10 in the control group of adults. The study results were published this August in Diabetes Care, a scientific journal of the American Diabetes Association.

The researchers emphasized that CFS onset had nothing to do with glucose levels or bouts of hypoglycemia. Researchers had a subset of 66 participants with Type 1 diabetes wear a continuous glucose monitor, and those with fewer events of hypoglycemia actually were more likely to have symptoms of CFS.

While the researchers found that depression and complications from diabetes made CFS more likely among the Type 1 population in the study, it’s difficult to draw many conclusions about the possible causes of CFS among people with diabetes. First recognized as a syndrome in 1994, CFS is still poorly understood, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CFS researchers are exploring everything from infection to stress as possible causes for the syndrome. Treatment is complex, as well, as doctors focus mainly on mitigating the symptoms of CFS in absence of a cure.

According to the CDC, the fatigue of CFS is accompanied by at least 4 of 8 characteristic symptoms lasting at least 6 months. These symptoms include:

  • -post-exertion malaise lasting more than 24 hours

  • -unrefreshing sleep

  • -significant impairment of short-term memory or concentration

  • -muscle pain

  • -pain in the joints without swelling or redness

  • -headaches of a new type, pattern, or severity

  • -tender lymph nodes in the neck or armpit

  • -a sore throat that is frequent or recurring

Other symptoms can include irritable bowel, depression or other psychological problems, chills and night sweats, visual disturbances, brain fog, difficulty maintaining upright position, dizziness, balance problems, fainting, and allergies or sensitivities to foods, odors, chemicals, medications, or noise.

If you suspect you have CFS, the CDC recommends contacting your healthcare provider to explore the possibility of a diagnosis and possible treatment options.

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Craig Idlebrook is a past editor for Insulin Nation, Type 2 Nation, and Información Sobre Diabetes. He is now the community engagement and content manager for T1D Exchange.

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