Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

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CFS KaleidoscopeChronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a chronic, incurable illness with many symptoms. It is best known for it's hallmark symptom of longlasting severe fatigue. However it can also cause insomnia, exercise intolerance, widespread joint and muscle pain, memory and concentration problems, tender lymph nodes, sore throat, and headaches. (Also see Autoimmune Diseases)

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? Chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS, is a debilitating and complex disorder characterized by profound fatigue that is not improved by bed rest and that may be worsened by physical or mental activity. Persons with CFS most often function at a substantially lower level of activity than they were capable of before the onset of illness.

Adolescent chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS): a follow-up study. About half of the adolescents had recovered from CFS at follow-up. The other half was still severely fatigued and physically impaired. Health care use had been high, and school and work attendance were low. van Geelen SM. (PubMed) Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med, 2010 Sep;164(9):810-4.

Causes of CFS

Sympathetic nervous system dysfunction in fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and interstitial cystitis. Sympathetic dysfunction could be the common underlying pathogenesis that brings on these overlapping clinical features. PubMed, J Clin Rheumatol, 2014 Apr;20(3):146-50. (Also see Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Interstitial Cystitis)

Causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified CFS as a chronic (long-term) neurological condition and this classification has been accepted by the Department of Health. However, the WHO's decision remains controversial and is not accepted by everyone working in the field. NHS.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Inherited Virus Can Cause Cognitive Dysfunction and Fatigue. A common virus, Human Herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6), is the possible cause of some CFS cases. Science Daily, 07/26/2013.

Diagnosis of CFS

Discovery Could Lead to Faster Diagnosis for Some Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Cases. Scientists detected specific antibodies linked to latent Epstein-Barr virus reactivation in blood samples from people who had experienced classic CFS symptoms and responded to antiviral treatment. Control blood samples from 20 healthy people showed no such antibodies. Science Daily, 11/14/2012.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. In general, in order to receive a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome, a patient must satisfy two criteria: (1) Have severe chronic fatigue of six months or longer duration with other known medical conditions excluded by clinical diagnosis, and (2) Concurrently have four or more of the following symptoms: substantial impairment in short-term memory or concentration, sore throat, tender lymph nodes, muscle pain, multi-joint pain without swelling or redness, headaches of a new type, pattern or severity, unrefreshing sleep, and post-exertional malaise lasting more than 24 hours. National Center for Infectious Diseases CDC.

Treatments of CFS

Chronic fatigue syndrome treatments and drugs. Treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome focuses on symptom relief. Options include antidepressants, sleeping pills, graded exercise and psychological counseling. Mayo Clinic.

A Systematic Review of Drug Therapies for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME). The unknown etiology of CFS/ME, and complications arising from its heterogeneous nature, contributes to the lack of clear evidence for pharmaceutical interventions. PubMed, 05/23/2016.

Relationship Between (CFS) and Fibromyalgia (FMS)

Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Information on the relationships between the rheumatological condition known as fibromyalgia, fibrositis, or FMS, chronic fatigue syndrome, CFS, myalgic encephalitis, ME, hypometabolism and thyroid disease, including hypothyroidism. VeryWell.

Neurological Disorders

Cognitive Dysfunction in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS): a Review of Recent Evidence. The development of a brief neurocognitive battery specifically tailored to CFS and adoption by the international research community would be beneficial in establishing a profile of cognitive dysfunction. PubMed, Curr Rheumatol Rep, 2016 May;18(5):24.

Cognitive deficits in chronic fatigue syndrome and their relationship to psychological status, symptomatology, and everyday functioning. A slowing in information processing speed appears to be the main cognitive deficit seen in persons with CFS. Neuropsychology, 2013 Mar;27(2):230-42.

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)

Cognitive impairments associated with CFS and POTS. Future research should continue to examine possible explanations for cognitive impairments in CFS and POTS, and ultimately use this information to try and reduce cognitive impairments for these patients. Front. Physiol., 16 May 2013.


Trapezius activity of fibromyalgia patients is enhanced in stressful situations, but is similar to healthy controls in a quiet naturalistic setting: a case-control study. FM patients show elevated muscle activity (in particular trapezius activity) in situations with imposed stress, including sympathetic activation, and putative anticipatory stress. BMC Musculoskelet Disord, 2013 Mar 18;14:97.

Disability Information for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

CFS/FMS Objective Medical Evidence Requirements for Disability Adjudication Regarding Social Security Disability in the U.S. Susan M. Daniels, Ph. D.

CFS Stories

Beverly: CREST Scleroderma I was overtired and needed naps in the afternoon, pain was slowly getting the better of me and I finally went to the doctor…

Krisha S: Multiple Autoimmune Condition I have multiple sclerosis (MS), fibromyalgia, and Stiff Person Syndrome…

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