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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Chronic fatigue syndrome

*

* Not a rare disease

Other Names for this Disease
  • Myalgic encephalomyelitis
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Overview

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

References

  1. Chronic fatigue syndrome. MedlinePlus. May 19, 2015; http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/chronicfatiguesyndrome.html. Accessed 8/4/2015.
  2. Hatron PY. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Orphanet. April 2009; http://www.orpha.net/consor/cgi-bin/OC_Exp.php?lng=EN&Expert=1983. Accessed 8/4/2015.
  3. Gluckman SJ, Aronson MD & Park L. Clinical features and diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome (systemic exertion intolerance disease). UpToDate. June 29, 2015; http://www.uptodate.com/contents/clinical-features-and-diagnosis-of-chronic-fatigue-syndrome-systemic-exertion-intolerance-disease. Accessed 8/4/2015.
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Basic Information

  • The Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research also provides information about chronic fatigue syndrome. Click on the link above to view this information page.
  • You can obtain information on this topic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC is recognized as the lead federal agency for developing and applying disease prevention and control, environmental health, and health promotion and education activities designed to improve the health of the people of the United States.
  • The Lab Tests Online Web site provides additional information on Chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
  • The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library provides information on this condition for patients and caregivers. 
  • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) is a federation of more than 130 nonprofit voluntary health organizations serving people with rare disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.

In Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
  • MeSH® (Medical Subject Headings) is a terminology tool used by the National Library of Medicine. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
  • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs.  Access to this database is free of charge.
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Chronic fatigue syndrome. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.
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.