19239 Health Library | Health and Wellness | Wellmont Health System
  • Conditions InDepth: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

    Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a chronic, debilitating disorder. It affects your brain and multiple parts of your body. It causes extreme fatigue and is not relieved by bed rest. Physical or mental fatigue often makes the condition worse. Symptoms last at least six months and are severe enough to interfere with daily activities.
    There is no specific lab test or clinical sign for CFS. No one knows exactly how many people are affected by this illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates, that as many as 500,000 people in the US have a CFS-like condition.
    No one knows what causes CFS. For more than a century, doctors have reported seeing illnesses similar to it. In the 1860s, Dr. George Beard named the syndrome neurasthenia. He thought it was a nervous disorder with weakness and fatigue. Experiments in men supported his idea that the brain is somehow involved in CFS.
    Health experts have suggested some explanations for this baffling illness, including:
    • Various viruses (such as, Epstein-Barr virus, enteroviruses, parvovirus B19 )
    • Malfunction of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis
    • Emotional stress
    • Iron-poor blood ( anemia )
    • Low blood sugar ( hypoglycemia )
    • Low blood pressure
    • Environmental allergy or toxins
    • Body-wide yeast infection ( candidiasis )
    Recovery time varies among individuals with CFS. You may recover to the point where you can resume work and other activities. You may continue to experience various or periodic CFS symptoms. CFS typically follows a cyclical course. It alternates between periods of illness and relative well-being. You may also recover completely with time.
    What are the risk factors for chronic fatigue syndrome?What are the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome?How is chronic fatigue syndrome diagnosed?What are the treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome?Are there screening tests for chronic fatigue syndrome?How can I reduce my risk of chronic fatigue syndrome?What questions should I ask my doctor?What is it like to live with chronic fatigue syndrome?Where can I get more information about chronic fatigue syndrome?

    References

    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. American Academy of Family Physicians Familydoctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/chronic-fatigue-syndrome.html . Updated November 2010. Accessed December 28, 2012.

    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/cfs/index.html . Updated May 16, 2012. Accessed December 28, 2012.

    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Updated November 10, 2012. Accessed December 28, 2012.

    Devanur LD, Kerr JR. Chronic fatigue syndrome. J Clin Virol. 2006;37:139-150.

    Prins JB, van der Meer JW, Bleijenberg G. Chronic fatigue syndrome. Lancet. 2006;367:346-355.

    Revision Information

  • Join WellZones today.

    Make a Change For LifeLearn more

    Wellmont LiveWell is creating a new tradition of wellness in the mountains by providing individuals with tools and encouragement to live healthier lifestyles.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease early and prevent heart attacks with HeartSHAPE® - a painless, non-invasive test that takes pictures of your heart to scan for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.


  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.