Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

What is chronic fatigue syndrome?

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is something many people may experience in their lives and not be accurately diagnosed. It is a complex condition that is characterised by feeling extremely fatigued for more than 6 months without the explanation of an underlying medical disorder, although cognitive difficulties are often experienced along with fatigue. The fatigue experienced may increase with mental or physical activity, and will not improve with rest.

The condition is also referred to as ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis) and has recently been renamed SEID (systemic exertion intolerance disease) after this was proposed by the Institute of Medicine in 2015. The three different names for chronic fatigue (CFS, ME and SEID) share the main symptom of an individual being chronically fatigued and are often used as interchangeable terms. Chronic fatigue as a symptom may be caused by a number of underlying conditions, therefore making the disorder more difficult to explain and diagnose.

The cause of CFS is still unknown, however, there are a number of theories in circulation within the medical community. These theories range from psychological stress to viral infections. There are some experts who believe that the disorder may be the result of many factors which can trigger chronic fatigue syndrome. 

There is no single way to diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome and if you’re suffering from persistent, extreme, unexplained fatigue you may require an assortment of tests in order for other health disorders with similar symptoms to be ruled out. Once this has been done, treatment will usually focus on the relief of the symptoms.  

NEXT What are the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome?

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