Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complicated disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that may worsen with physical or mental activity, but doesn't improve with rest. Although there are many theories about what causes this condition — ranging from viral infections to psychological stress — in most cases the cause is still unknown. 

Сhronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is the most common name given to a variably debilitating disorder generally defined by persistent fatigue unrelated to exertion, not substantially relieved by rest and accompanied by the presence of other specific symptoms for a minimum of six months.

The disease process in CFS displays a range of neurological, immunological, and endocrine system abnormalities. Although classified by the World Health Organization under Diseases of the nervous system, the cause or origin of CFS is currently unknown and there is no diagnostic laboratory test or biomarker. 

Fatigue is a common symptom in many illnesses, but CFS is a multi-systemic disease and is relatively rare by comparison.

Symptoms of CFS include post-exertional malaise; unrefreshing sleep; widespread muscle and joint pain; cognitive difficulties; chronic, often severe, mental and physical exhaustion, and other characteristic symptoms in a previously healthy and active person.

CFS patients may report additional symptoms including muscle weakness, hypersensitivity, digestive disturbances, depression, poor immune response, and cardiac and respiratory problems. It is unclear if these symptoms represent co-morbid conditions or are produced by an underlying cause of CFS. All diagnostic criteria require that the symptoms must not be caused by other medical conditions.

Studies have reported numbers on the prevalence of CFS that 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. For unknown reasons CFS occurs most often in people in their 40s and 50s, 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. A prognosis study review calculated a median untreated patient full recovery rate of 5%. There is agreement on the genuine threat to health, happiness and productivity posed by CFS; it is a serious illness. If you think you may have CFS, it is imperitive to get evaluated and treated by a qualified health care professional who can give effective treatment.