chronic fatigue syndrome

a viral disease of the immune system, usu. characterized by debilitating fatigue and flu-like symptoms.
[1988]

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also called  myalgic encephalomyelitis 

      disorder characterized by persistent debilitating fatigue. There exist two specific criteria that must be met for a diagnosis of CFS: (1) severe fatigue lasting six months or longer and (2) the coexistence of any four of a number of characteristic symptoms, defined as mild fever, sore throat, tender lymph nodes, muscle pain and weakness, joint pain, headache, sleep disorders, confusion, and memory loss. In addition, a diagnosis of CFS requires that the symptoms experienced cannot have predated the onset of fatigue and that all other illnesses or medical conditions capable of giving rise to these symptoms have been ruled out clinically.

      CFS was once routinely dismissed as an imagined rather than a specific physical condition, and even today it remains controversial. Indeed, its validity as a distinct disorder is sometimes questioned, since there is considerable overlap with other so-called functional somatic syndromes such as fibromyalgia and Gulf War syndrome. As with these two conditions, some persons initially diagnosed with CFS are later diagnosed with a mental disorder. However, for the majority of people with CFS, the disability and symptoms are physically real and debilitating. A number of theories about the cause of the syndrome have been advanced, but none have been proved. Outside of underlying mental disorders, proposed causes include iron deficiency anemia, autoimmunity to parts of the nervous system, viral infection (e.g., infection with the Epstein-Barr virus), immune system dysfunction, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), chronic hypotension (low blood pressure), allergies, and altered hormone production. It has been suggested that CFS itself represents a broad category containing subgroups of diseases, all with unique symptoms but all producing the same ultimate affect—fatigue.

      There is no cure for CFS. Patients can be treated with drugs to control their most severe symptoms; for example, some patients are treated with antihistamines to control allergy-like symptoms or with sedatives to treat sleep disorders. Many patients respond positively to a range of nondrug therapeutic approaches, including exercise therapy, counseling, and stress reduction. In addition, studies have shown promising responses to cognitive-behavioral therapy, in which patients learn to develop strategies that help them cope with their disease and that improve the quality of their lives. While some persons with CFS become progressively worse, most improve gradually, and a few eventually achieve full recovery.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Chronic fatigue syndrome — Die Neutralität dieses Artikels oder Abschnitts ist umstritten. Eine Begründung steht auf der Diskussionsseite …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome — A debilitating and complex disorder characterized by profound fatigue of six months or longer duration that is not improved by bed rest and that may be worsened by physical or mental activity. Persons with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) most… …   Medical dictionary

  • chronic fatigue syndrome — N UNCOUNT Chronic fatigue syndrome is an illness that is thought to be caused by a virus, and which affects people for a long period of time. Its symptoms include tiredness and aching muscles. The abbreviation CFS is often used. Syn: ME …   English dictionary

  • chronic fatigue syndrome — noun A condition characterized by immune, endocrine and neurologic pathology whose main symptoms are extreme fatigue, extremely low stamina, muscle pain, lymph node swelling, post exertional Malaise, and cognitive difficulties. Syn: myalgic… …   Wiktionary

  • chronic fatigue syndrome — chronic fa tigue .syndrome n [U] an illness that makes you feel very tired and weak and can last for a long time …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • chronic fatigue syndrome — chronic fa tigue ,syndrome noun uncount an illness caused by a VIRUS that makes you feel tired and weak all the time: ME …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • chronic fatigue syndrome — noun a severe, systemic illness acquired after an apparently mild viral infection, and characterised chiefly by incapacitating fatigue but also by neurological, immunological and endocrinological dysfunction; post viral syndrome; ME. Abbrev.: CFS …   Australian English dictionary

  • chronic fatigue syndrome — chron′ic fatigue′ syn drome n. pat med a viral disease of the immune system, usu. characterized by debilitating fatigue and flu like symptoms • Etymology: 1990–95 …   From formal English to slang

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