Chronic fatigue syndrome

Head | Neurology | Chronic fatigue syndrome (Disease)


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. The fatigue may worsen with physical or mental activity, but doesnt improve with rest.

The main symptom of CFS is extreme tiredness (fatigue), which lasts at least 6 months and is severe enough to keep you from participating in certain activities. Other symptoms include: concentration problems; confusion; joint pain but no swelling or redness; headaches that differ from those you have had in the past; irritability; mild fever; muscle aches; muscle weakness; sore throat and sore lymph nodes in the neck or under the arms.

Causes and Risk factors

The exact cause of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is unknown, but it may be a combination of factors that affect people who were born with a predisposition for the disorder. Some theories suggest CFS may be due to: viral infections such as Epstein-Barr virus or human herpes virus-6 and mouse leukemia viruses, inflammation in the nervous system, immune system problems and hormonal imbalances. Age, previous illnesses, stress, genetics and environmental factors also can play a role in developing this syndrome.

Possible complications of chronic fatigue syndrome include: depression, social isolation, lifestyle restrictions and increased work absences.

Diagnosis and Treatment

There are no characteristic laboratory abnormalities to diagnose CFS, so testing is used to rule out other potential causes for symptoms. There is currently no cure for CF, the goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms.

Medication like antidepressant and sleep pills is prescribed, also therapy in reducing stress. ...