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
  • 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.

Overview

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

References

  1. Chronic fatigue syndrome. MedlinePlus. May 19, 2015; http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/chronicfatiguesyndrome.html.
  2. Hatron PY. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Orphanet. April 2009; http://www.orpha.net/consor/cgi-bin/OC_Exp.php?lng=EN&Expert=1983.
  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.
  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.
  5. Twisk FN. Replacing Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with Systemic Exercise Intolerance Disease Is Not the Way forward. Diagnostics (Basel). February 5, 2016; 6(1):
GARD Video Tutorials
GARD Video Tutorials
Learn how to find information on treatment, research, specialists, and more.
Your Questions Answered
Your Questions Answered
View questions about this condition answered by GARD Information Specialists. You can also submit a new question.

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) has a report for patients and families about this condition. NORD is a patient advocacy organization for individuals with rare diseases and the organizations that serve them.

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
  • 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.