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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Chronic fatigue syndrome

*

* Not a rare disease

Other Names for this Disease
  • Systemic exertion intolerance disease
  • Chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome
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 chronic fatigue syndrome?; 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, 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 (20 to 40 years of age) 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 exact cause is not known.[3][2] Symptoms are similar to many conditions that need to be ruled out; the diagnosis is often delayed and patients are frequently misunderstood. There is still no cure for this condition but there are several clinical trials. Current treatment consists of cognitive and/or behavioral therapy and focuses on improving symptoms.[1][4]

There is controversy and debate in the medical literature about the relationship between myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome and there is no consensus on nomenclature or classification for these disorders. Different countries, organizations, and researchers continue to use different names to describe these conditions.[5]
Last updated: 7/19/2016

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: 3/10/2016

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.[6][7]
Last updated: 3/10/2016

References
Other Names for this Disease
  • Systemic exertion intolerance disease
  • Chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.