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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic Fatigue vs. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Fatigue refers to a sensation of exhaustion during or after usual daily activities, or a lack of energy to begin these activities. Most people have fatigue at one time or another in their lives. Fatigue may result from exertion, lack of sleep, or illnesses such as colds. Fatigue is not extreme or persistent. Instead, it generally goes away after getting more rest or recovering from a cold. Chronic fatigue, however, occurs when symptoms of exhaustion or lack of energy last over 6 months.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is the medical name for a condition of extreme and persistent fatigue. To have a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), a patient must meet the following two criteria: 1) have severe chronic fatigue for 6 months or longer with other known medical conditions excluded by clinical diagnosis, and 2) at the same time, have four or more of the following symptoms: substantial impairment in short-term memory or concentration; sore throat; tender lymph nodes; muscle pain; multijoint pain without swelling or redness; headaches of a new type, pattern, or severity; unrefreshing sleep; and discomfort after physical activity that lasts more than 24 hours. The symptoms must have persisted or recurred during 6 or more consecutive months and must not have predated the fatigue. When there is no apparent explanation or cause of fatigue, such as a disease, a diagnosis of CFS is given. Additional information on chronic fatigue syndrome is available on the Web at www4.od.nih.gov/orwh/CFS-newhome.html and in the resource section at the end of this paper.
The following information covers chronic fatigue-not CFS-as a symptom of many diseases of the skin, muscles, and joints.

Chronic Fatigue: A Symptom of Many Diseases

Why is Basic Research Important to Understanding Fatigue?

Why are Clinical and Behavioral Research Important to Understanding Fatigue?

Current and Planned Initiatives

Where to Find Additional Information

 
     
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