Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Causes, Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment
It is very difficult to properly diagnose Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). The syndrome has no known cause, and no tests to diagnose it.
While there is no “cure” for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, there are several ways thought to combat it.
For years, it wasn’t even considered a real syndrome!
For its sufferers, however, it is very real; and in 1994, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) developed an actual case definition for it, requiring the following three elements.
These symptoms should have persisted, or recurred, during six or more consecutive months of illness; and they cannot have first appeared before the fatigue.
CDC Guidelines for CFS
- The individual has had severe chronic fatigue for six or more consecutive months, and the fatigue is not due to ongoing exertion or other medical conditions associated with fatigue (these other conditions need to be ruled out by a doctor after diagnostic tests have been conducted).
- The fatigue significantly interferes with daily activities and work.
- The individual concurrently has four or more of the following eight symptoms:
- post-exertion malaise, lasting more than 24 hours
- unrefreshing sleep
- significant impairment of short-term memory or concentration
- muscle pain
- pain in the joints, without swelling or redness
- headaches of a new type, pattern, or severity
- tender lymph nodes in the neck or armpit
- sore throat that is frequent or recurring
While CFS is more common in women aged 25 to 45 years old, it is rare in children. The syndrome is unpredictable, because it is different for everyone. Some people report it being worse in the beginning stages, while for others it seems to get progressively worse. Even the range of how CFS affects people can be drastically different. For example, some can go about daily life, while some can’t even get out of bed.