Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Last Updated: May 30, 2020

Definition - What does Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) mean?

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a disorder that affects multiple body systems, causing the sufferer to experience fatigue and other symptoms for which no underlying physical cause can be identified. One of the primary symptoms of CFS is a chronic state of fatigue that is not alleviated with rest.

Other symptoms of CFS include difficulty concentrating, memory loss, muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, headache, and bouts of extreme exhaustion following either physical or mental exertion. Individual symptoms of the condition and their severity may fluctuate over time. Suffers of CFS may also experience depression or lifestyle interruptions that exacerbate their condition. They also often face societal stress and pressures where employers, family, and friends do not believe the individual is sick but instead brand them as lazy.

There is no cure for chronic fatigue syndrome. Instead, medical professionals help patients to address and treat the symptoms of the condition. CFS is often unrecognized and misunderstood as diagnosis of the condition can only be made through a process of elimination.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is also know as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) or systematic exertion intolerance disease (SEID).

WorkplaceTesting explains Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

The cause or causes of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) are not yet completely know.

Some researchers believe that CFS may result from a combination of factors including infections and psychological stress. Until 2015, it was primarily treated as a psychosomatic disorder. However, treatments intended to address the condition as a purely psychological have since been abandoned as ineffective. In 2017, new research into CFS was released which pinpointed molecular evidence of the condition in the form of changes in brain chemistry. This evidence has led researchers to suspect that CFS is a brain disorder caused by a malfunction in the body's ability to produce certain proteins after exertion.

The condition continues to be the focus of several research initiative designed to pinpoint its causes, potential methods of diagnosis, and treatments.

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