Chronic Fatigue Syndrome challenges patients, medical professionals

July 1, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- We all get a little tuckered out now and then, but when that tired feeling doesn’t go away with what’s considered normal rest and relaxation there are a myriad of medical conditions that can be the root cause, including chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

This diagnosis can be a challenge, however, says Lesley Arnold, MD, director of the University of Cincinnati (UC) Women’s Health Research Program (WHRP), which was established in 1999 and focuses on chronic pain and fatigue disorders that predominately affect women. 

The WHRP is most widely recognized as a leader in the research and treatment of fibromyalgia: a disorder that is much more common in women than men and is characterized by chronic pain and tenderness, fatigue and sleep disturbance. CFS is also more common in women, and often occurs in conjunction with fibromyalgia.

"Chronic fatigue syndrome isn’t something that can be identified by a blood test or other objective measure,” says Arnold, adding that "the diagnosis is often a process of elimination, a ruling out of all the other factors that could be causing the fatigue."

According to both Arnold and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with experience a profound fatigue that is not improved by bed rest and that may be worsened by physical or mental activity. CFS patients most often function at a substantially lower level of activity than they were capable of before the onset of the illness. Additionally, CFS patients report various nonspecific symptoms, including weakness, muscle pain, impaired memory and/or mental concentration, insomnia and post-exertional fatigue lasting more than 24 hours. 

"Fatigue is a very disabling problem that can interfere substantially with a person’s quality of life and function,” says Arnold. 

Unlike fibromyalgia, there are no FDA-approved medications for CFS.
Many patients, she says, are advised to seek some form of exercise or counseling therapies but more research is needed to improve the understanding of the causes of CFS and to find effective medical treatments.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Zika virus infection alters human and viral RNA

October 20, 2016

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have discovered that Zika virus infection leads to modifications of both viral and human genetic material. These modifications—chemical tags known as ...

Food-poisoning bacteria may be behind Crohn's disease

October 19, 2016

People who retain a particular bacterium in their gut after a bout of food poisoning may be at an increased risk of developing Crohn's disease later in life, according to a new study led by researchers at McMaster University.

Neurodevelopmental model of Zika may provide rapid answers

October 19, 2016

A newly published study from researchers working in collaboration with the Regenerative Bioscience Center at the University of Georgia demonstrates fetal death and brain damage in early chick embryos similar to microcephaly—a ...

Scientists uncover new facets of Zika-related birth defects

October 17, 2016

In a study that could one day help eliminate the tragic birth defects caused by Zika virus, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have elucidated how the virus attacks the brains of newborns, ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jul 01, 2011
They believe fish poison is a "human model of CFS" and the plant sugar D-mannitol has been tested.

"Reversed by D-mannitol"

"Chronic phase lipids in sera of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS),chronic ciguatera fish poisoning (CCFP), hepatitis B, and cancer with antigenic epitope resembling ciguatoxin, as assessed with MAb-CTX."
"Neuroprotectant effects of iso-osmolar D-mannitol to prevent Pacific ciguatoxin-1 induced alterations in neuronal excitability: A comparison with other osmotic agents and free radical scavengers"
not rated yet Aug 06, 2011
What connection between the fact fatigue is caused by hemolysis in PNH and chronic fatigue is thought to be caused by the tick which ALSO causes hemolysis ? We know fish toxin causes hemolysis. IS hemolysis somehow involved in the fatigue ? WHAT could be causing the hemolysis AND fatigue in all ?
"Ciguatera Epitope is Found to Kill Red Blood Cells; Implications for Red Cell Lysis, Sequestration, Rheology and Blood Volume"
"This study provides the first evidence of hemolytic activity associated with B. burgdorferi"

Another disease which has a high rate of hemolysis is porphyria. THAT disease has been treated with homeopathic snake venom . In PNH tocopherol phosphate has been shown to help and carbohydrate loading also to be of help. A lack of tocopherol causes red blood cell lysis / hemolysis. IS it a lack of tocopherol / vitamin E in chronic fatigue ?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.