Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Few conditions have baffled medical science as much as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) but ever since the term ‘yuppie flu’ was coined, the scientific community has been desperately trying to understand the mechanisms and all the manifestations of this intriguing medical disorder.

CFS is technically known as myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME for short. In its literal sense, ME is the swelling of the brain and spinal cord, and there is no clear cause and effect, symptoms are collectively attributed to a syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. There is a marked and prolonged fatigue lasting up to 6 months or more with no identifiable cause and typically with a flu-like illness. There is general muscle weakness and pain with low grade fever, sore throat, painful lymph nodes in the neck and armpits, exacerbation of fatigue after moderate or strenuous exercise for periods of 24 hours or more.

CFS is frequently viewed in association with psychiatric illness such as depression and anxiety even though no causal link has been established. CFS is also often confused with fibromyalgia because they share a number of symptoms. The difference between one diagnosis and another may simply be a matter of the degree to which sufferers have the symptoms.

There are no firmly established treatment recommendations within conventional medicines and ultimately it is a question of management. Broadly speaking, treatment approaches fall into 3 areas: conventional, alternative and behavioural (psychological).

Read the full article here: chronic-fatigue-syndrome

Primary Health Care 2007; 17(1): 25-29rcnpublishing

Primary Health Care Journal is a Royal College of Nursing Publication