Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
 

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome facts

Chronic fatigue syndrome may be confused with other conditions, including fibromyalgia syndrome; myalgic encephalomyelitis; neurasthenia; multiple chemical sensitivities; chronic mononucleosis; Lyme disease; HIV-related diseases; depression; hypothyroidism; malignancies; and parasitic diseases.

What is chronic fatigue syndrome?

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a debilitating condition characterized by profound tiredness, regardless of bed rest. CFS symptoms may actually worsen with physical or mental activity. CFS can occur suddenly and last for years. CFS affects three to four times more females than males. The cause of CFS has not been identified, nor are there specific tests available to diagnose the condition.

CFS sometimes is called chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome.

What are the symptoms of CFS?

Symptoms of CFS often mimic the flu. The following are the most common symptoms of CFS. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

The symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome may resemble other medical conditions. Always consult your health care provider for a diagnosis.

How is chronic fatigue syndrome diagnosed?

CFS diagnosis depends on two criteria:

  1. Severity and duration. The severe and chronic tiredness lasts for more than six months and other medical conditions have been ruled out.
  2. Number of symptoms. The patient has four or more of the symptoms of CFS.

A specific treatment for CFS has yet to be proven effective. Vitamin supplements and medications have some therapeutic benefit for some CFS patients, but many treatments just alleviate the symptoms of CFS.

How is treatment determined?

Treatment is determined by your health care provider and based on:

Treatment may include:

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