Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

How relationships influence health

For three years, Whitney Dafoe's world has been a darkened room at the end of a hallway in the back of his childhood home. An insidious disease, one with no known cause or cure, has slowly stolen his life from him, turning ...

May 17, 2016
popularity11 comments 0

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is the most common name used to designate a significantly debilitating medical disorder or group of disorders generally defined by persistent fatigue accompanied by other specific symptoms for a minimum of six months, not due to ongoing exertion, not substantially relieved by rest, nor caused by other medical conditions. The disorder may also be referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), post-viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS), chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS), or several other terms. Biological, genetic, infectious and psychological mechanisms have been proposed for the development and persistence of symptoms but the etiology of CFS is not understood and may have multiple causes. There is no diagnostic laboratory test or biomarker for CFS.

Symptoms of CFS include post-exertional malaise; unrefreshing sleep; widespread muscle and joint pain; sore throat; headaches of a type not previously experienced; cognitive difficulties; chronic, often severe, mental and physical exhaustion; and other characteristic symptoms in a previously healthy and active person. Persons with CFS may report additional symptoms including muscle weakness, increased sensitivity to light, sounds and smells, orthostatic intolerance, digestive disturbances, depression, and cardiac and respiratory problems. It is unclear if these symptoms represent co-morbid conditions or are produced by an underlying etiology of CFS.

Fatigue is a common symptom in many illnesses, but CFS is comparatively rare. Estimates of CFS prevalence vary widely, from 7 to 3,000 cases of CFS for every 100,000 adults, but national health organizations have estimated more than 1 million Americans and approximately a quarter of a million people in the UK have CFS. CFS occurs more often in women than men, and is less prevalent among children and adolescents. The quality of life is "particularly and uniquely disrupted" in CFS.

There is agreement on the genuine threat to health, happiness and productivity posed by CFS, but various physicians' groups, researchers and patient advocates promote different nomenclature, diagnostic criteria, etiologic hypotheses and treatments, resulting in controversy about many aspects of the disorder. The name "chronic fatigue syndrome" itself is controversial as many patients and advocacy groups, as well as some experts, believe the name trivializes the medical condition and want the name changed.

This text uses material from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA

Latest Spotlight News

Cell phones and rats: Study explores radiation exposure

For some years research teams have explored and attempted to sort out any evidence concerning a cause-effect situation with mobile phones and cancer. Interest in the question does not disappear. Scientific groups prefer to ...

The brain needs cleaning to stay healthy

Research led by the Achucarro Basque Center for Neuroscience, the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), and the Ikerbasque Foundation has revealed the mechanisms that keep the brain clean during neurodegenerative diseases.

Mimicking deep sleep brain activity improves memory

It is not surprising that a good night's sleep improves our ability to remember what we learned during the day. Now, researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan have discovered a brain circuit that governs how ...

Powering up the circadian rhythm

At noon every day, levels of genes and proteins throughout your body are drastically different than they are at midnight. Disruptions to this 24-hour cycle of physiological activity are why jet lag or a bad night's sleep ...