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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
  • Myalgic encephalomyelitis
  • 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.

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 yet, but some researchers have proposed that this condition is caused by viral infections or by immunological, hormonal or mental or psychiatric problems, but none have been proved.[3][2] It is also believed that there may be a genetic predisposition for this condition and stress-related events act as triggers.[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. Affected patients are typically highly functioning individuals who are "struck down" with this disease. There is still no cure for this condition but there are several clinical trials. Current treatment consist on cognitive and/or behavioral therapy and focuses on improving symptoms and may include medications to treat pain, sleep disorders and other associated problems.[1][4]
Last updated: 11/6/2015

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.
  4. Committee on the Diagnostic Criteria for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; Board on the Health of Select Populations; Institute of Medicine. Source Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US). Beyond Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Redefining an Illness. The National Academies Collection: Reports funded by National Institutes of Health. February, 2015; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25695122. Accessed 11/4/2015.
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Basic Information

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
  • Systemic exertion intolerance disease
  • Myalgic encephalomyelitis
  • 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.