Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Facts

By

VanStee, Amy

Was this helpful? (2)
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
tired, headache, fatigue, sleepy, drowsy

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a debilitating condition characterized by profound tiredness, regardless of how much rest you get.

Having CFS means more than just being tired. The condition often disables sufferers to the point that they can’t take part in everyday activities. For many with CFS, just making it out of bed takes effort. This fatigue persists for months or even years, despite getting plenty of rest and sleep. Work, physical activity, and mental tasks can leave sufferers exhausted for days or weeks.

Causes

CFS can occur suddenly and last for years. It affects two to four times more women than men, especially middle-aged women. The cause of CFS isn’t known, nor are there specific tests available to diagnose the condition. But studies have identified differences in the brain and immune and nervous system of those who have it. Genes also may play a role.

CFS is sometimes called chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome.

Diagnosis

CFS diagnosis depends on two criteria:

  • Severity and duration. The severe and chronic tiredness lasts for more than six months and other medical conditions have been ruled out. Several other diseases and conditions can cause fatigue, such as hypothyroidism, sleep apnea and narcolepsy, major depressive disorders, chronic mononucleosis, eating disorders, cancer, autoimmune disease, and reactions to prescribed medications.

  • Number of symptoms. The person has four or more of the symptoms of CFS.\

Treatment

No specific treatments for CFS have proved effective. Vitamin supplements and medications have some benefit for some people with CFS, but many treatments simply ease symptoms.

Treatment for CFS will be determined by your doctor based on your overall health and medical history, the extent of the condition, and your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies. Treatment may include:

  • Medication, including anti-inflammatories and antidepressants

  • Physical activity

  • Dietary supplements and herbal preparations

  • Psychotherapy and supportive counseling

  • Vitamin B12 supplements

  • Other lifestyle changes, such as preventing overexertion, reducing stress, making diet changes, and doing gentle stretching
Was this helpful? (2)
Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Aug 31, 2017

© 2018 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

You Might Also Like