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The initial symptoms of CFS are identical to Hypoxia, and the recent findings of severe loss of oxygen capacity (see VO2-Max) in CFS patients leads to the conclusion that they are hypoxia (at sea level) symptoms caused by a change of pH in the blood, coagulation (slowing down the blood flow) and destruction of red blood cells.

The term hypoxia includes the following:

  • Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS),

  • High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and

  • Cerebral Edema (HACE).

There are two processes occurring with the above:

  • decrease of oxygen to the body

  • loss of air pressure to the lungs.

The latter does not occur with CFIDS, the former does (because of thick blood or other conditions)- thus all lung/breathing symptoms are omitted from the discussion below. There are no laboratory tests to identify AMS

Altitude Sickness Symptoms

The typical symptoms are (% for 8000'):

  • mild headache (70%)

  • a severe headache which fails to respond to any normal

  • treatment (7%)

  • sleep disturbance, insomnia ( 30%)

  • weakness, fatigue (30%)

  • increased thirst

  • nausea (5%)

  • loss of appetite, anorexia (5%)

  • dizziness (20%),

  • apathy

  • flu like symptoms in the absence of a fever or only a very

  • low grade fever

  • noticeable symptoms of slurred speech,

  • loss of decision making skills,

  • loss of coordination and vision

Clinical Determination

At altitudes over 2400m / 8000 ft, the diagnosis of AMS is based on a headache plus at least one of the following symptoms :

  • GI upset (loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting)

  • fatigue/weakness

  • dizziness/light-headedness

  • insomnia (more than just the usual frequent waking)

HACE will have symptoms of AMS plus either gait ataxia or mental status changes, or will have both gait ataxia and mental status changes regardless of AMS symptoms. ... use a simple tandem-gait test: asking the patient to walk heel-toe along a straight line..., they should be able to perform this test without difficulty. If they struggle to stay on the line, fall off it, or are unable to walk without assistance, they fail and are presumed to have HACE.

Side effects are reduced by drugs that increase the rate of respiration (thus not likely to be effective for CFS).

Dietary Recommendations

The following is recommended for AMS (and thus, may apply to CFS)

  • no alcohol,

  • no tobacco,

  • no coffee (because it dehydrates)

  • no soda (pop)

  • lots of liquids..

  • a general carbohydrate diet of at least 60% of the total calories

  • reduce proteins and fat, these put more stress on the body.




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