The Nitty Gritty Important
Issues Surrounding CFS

The Nitty Gritty Important Issues Surrounding CFS Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or CFS is a poorly understood ailment.

Annals of Internal Medicine in December of 1994 published a definition for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome under the guidance of the Center For Disease Control.

Here is a shortened outline of that definition: To be diagnosed with CFS the patient must present with new, unexplained fatigue that has been of 6 month duration or longer that can not be attributed to physical exertion, cannot be relieved by rest and limits or reduces the patients activity level.

Four or more of the following symptoms must occur at the same time and have been occurring for a minimum of 6 months and must not have started before the symptom of fatigue

  • Self-noticed short-term memory loss or decreased ability to concentrate that results in a noticeable decease in the persons ability to perform activities.
  • Sore throat
  • Tender cervical or axillary lymph nodes
  • Muscle pain
  • Multiple joint pain without redness or without being swollen
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Extreme fatigue following physical exertion

There is a difference between Chronic Fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Chronic Fatigue is where someone experiences the state of being tired, frequently. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a systemic (more than one body system) organic disease that manifests itself in a wide array of symptoms.

The fatigue that is experienced by CFS patients is so extreme that the symptom of fatigue is one of the defining elements of the disease.

Fibromyalgia Syndrome is not the same as CFS. Fibromyalgia Syndrome is a painful, inflammatory disease that affects the connective tissues.

The diagnosis can be overlapping, in other words a patient can have both diseases but they are not one in the same disease.

There is no one single test, not even a blood test that can be used to determine if a patient has CFS.

A physician will take a detailed medical history from the patient, complete a physical examination and then conduct a series of tests in order to exclude all other causes for a patients symptoms.

When all other diseases and causes for the symptoms have been ruled out, then and only then can a doctor make the diagnosis of CFS.  

Chronic Fatigue Fast Facts

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The symptoms of CFS can increase or decrease in intensity and can even improve over the years. There are patients that have had CFS for 20 years. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is not related to Aids. The two diseases differ greatly in respect to the immune system. In patients who have CFS there immune systems are overactive. Patients who have Aids have suppressed immune systems.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is not a contagious disease. Others who live with or who are in contact with CFS patients have not been known to contract the disease from exposure to the CFS patients they have association with.

There is no cure for CFS, there is only treatments and medications that relieve or reduce the symptoms that CFS patients experience.

It is most beneficial for patients with CFS to become educated about the disease and to surround themselves with support in terms of professionals, persons who care about them and support groups. 

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Facts

As a general rule, if extreme fatigue lasts for six months or more, and has cognitive related problems associated with it such as trouble focusing on the tasks at hand, or problems with short-term memory, then Chronic Fatigue Syndrome would be seriously considered as the cause.

For More Information: Centers for Disease Control: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Hotline(404) 332-4555. This hotline has been established to answer questions about the illness. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health(301) 402-1663.



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