Chronic fatigue syndrome

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–°hronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is the most common name[1] given to a variably debilitating disorder or disorders generally defined by persistent fatigue unrelated to exertion, not substantially relieved by rest and accompanied by the presence of other specific symptoms for a minimum of six months.[2] The disorder may also be referred to as post-viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS, when the condition arises following a flu-like illness), myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), or several other terms. The disease process in CFS displays a range of neurological, immunological, and endocrine system abnormalities. Although classified by the World Health Organization under Diseases of the nervous system,[3] the etiology (cause or origin) of CFS is currently unknown and there is no diagnostic laboratory test or biomarker.[2]

Fatigue is a common symptom in many illnesses, but CFS is a multi-systemic disease and is relatively rare by comparison.[4] Symptoms of CFS include post-exertional malaise; unrefreshing sleep; widespread muscle and joint pain; cognitive difficulties; chronic, often severe, mental and physical exhaustion; and other characteristic symptoms in a previously healthy and active person. CFS patients may report additional symptoms including muscle weakness, hypersensitivity, orthostatic intolerance, digestive disturbances, depression, poor immune response, and cardiac and respiratory problems.[5] It is unclear if these symptoms represent co-morbid conditions or are produced by an underlying etiology of CFS.[6] All diagnostic criteria require that the symptoms must not be caused by other medical conditions.

Studies have reported numbers on the prevalence of CFS that vary widely,[4] from 7 to 3,000 cases of CFS for every 100,000 adults,[6] but national health organizations have estimated more than 1 million Americans and approximately a quarter of a million people in the UK have CFS.[7][8] For unknown reasons CFS occurs most often in people in their 40s and 50s, more often in women than men,[9][10] and is less prevalent among children and adolescents.[7] The quality of life is "particularly and uniquely disrupted" in CFS.[11] A prognosis study review calculated a median untreated patient full recovery rate of 5%, and the median improvement rate at approximately 40% compared to pre morbid status.[12]

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