Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

(CFS; Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome)

Definition

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a condition that causes chronic, debilitating fatigue. It continues for at least 6 months. The fatigue is not relieved by bed rest. People who have CFS perform at a significantly lower level compared to their activity prior to the onset of the illness.

Causes

The cause of CFS is unknown. Some believe there may be a link between CFS and stress, the immune system, toxins, the central nervous system, or activation of latent virus.
Central Nervous System and Organs Including Endocrine Glands
CNS and Endocrine
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Risk Factors

Women are more likely to have CFS than men. It is also more common in people between 25-55 years of age.

Symptoms

Symptoms vary from person to person. They include:
  • Unexplained, new onset, persistent fatigue that is not relieved with bed rest and often worsens with physical or mental activity
  • Unexplained muscle aches
  • Joint pain without swelling or redness over 6 months
  • Headaches over 6 months
  • Trouble with short-term memory or concentration a "brain fog"
  • Forgetfulness or confusion
  • Irritability, anxiety , panic attacks, mood swings, or depression
  • Sore throat over 6 months
  • Tender lymph nodes over 6 months
  • Trouble sleeping or not feeling refreshed after sleep over 6 months
  • Visual disturbances (eyes sensitive to light, blurring, pain)
  • Reduced activities (social, job-related, educational, and personal)
  • Lightheadedness, balance problems, or fainting
  • Chills and night sweats
  • Allergies or sensitivities to foods , chemicals, odors, medications, or noise

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