Your browser does not support javascript:   Search for gard hereSearch for news-and-events here.

Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Chronic fatigue syndrome

*

* Not a rare disease

Other Names for this Disease
  • Myalgic encephalomyelitis
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Your Question

What are the recommendations for palliative care for myalgic encephalomyelitis?  What are the staging levels for this illness?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What is chronic fatigue syndrome?

Chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as systemic exertion intolerance disease or myalgic encephalomyelitis, is a condition that causes extreme, long-lasting fatigue which can limit the ability to participate in ordinary, daily activities.[1]  It generally occurs in young adults between the ages of 20 and 40 and is twice as common in women.[2][3] The main symptom is disabling fatigue that does not improve with rest.[2] Other signs and symptoms may include muscle pain; joint pain; concentration and memory problems; headaches; sleep problems; fever; sore throat; and/or tender lymph nodes.[1][2] The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is not known, but some researchers have proposed that this condition is caused by infections or by immunological or hormonal problems.[3][2] There may be stress-related triggers in those who have a genetic predisposition.[3] Because the symptoms are similar to many conditions that need to be ruled out, the diagnosis make take some time to be made and patients are frequently misunderstood. There is still no cure for this condition but there are several clinical trials. Current treatment focuses on improving symptoms and may include medications to treat pain, sleep disorders and other associated problems.[1]
Last updated: 8/7/2015

What are the recommendations for pallitative care for people with chronic fatigue syndrome?

At this time the underlying cause for chronic fatigue syndrome is unknown, also the symptoms and condition severity is highly variable among patients. As a result it is a challange to create a single pallitative care guideline that can be applied with successful results to all. Instead, a person with chronic fatigue syndrome should talk to their doctor about the symptoms that are most disruptive or disabling to them, so that their doctor can tailor their management plan accordingly. Treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome can be directed toward the most problematic symptoms as prioritized by the patient, but only after underlying conditions applicable to those symptoms have been investigated and excluded.
Last updated: 10/14/2013

What are the staging levels for this illness?

We are not aware of standardized staging criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome. Just as the symptoms and severity of this syndrome vary, so does its clinical course. The percentage of people who completely recover from chronic fatigue syndrome is not known, however most people have improvement in their symptoms over time with proper treatment strategies and regular care. People with chronic fatigue syndrome may cycle through periods of relief and periods of illness.[4][5]
Last updated: 10/14/2013

References
Other Names for this Disease
  • Myalgic encephalomyelitis
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.