Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)

Chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS, is a debilitating and complex disorder characterized by profound fatigue that is not improved by bed rest and that may be worsened by physical or mental activity.




CFS symptoms (Mayo Clinic definition)
The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is unknown, although there are many theories — ranging from viral infections to psychological stress. Some experts believe chronic fatigue syndrome might be triggered by a combination of factors.

To be diagnosed with CFS an adult must have severe chronic fatigue for at least four months with no other medical condition identified as the cause. They must also have one or more of the following symptoms:
    •    Substantial impairment in short-term memory or concentration
    •    Sore throat
    •    Tender lymph nodes
    •    Muscle pain
    •    Multi-joint pain without swelling or redness
    •    Headaches of a new type, pattern or severity
    •    Unrefreshing sleep
    •    Post-exertional malaise lasting more than 24 hours


   Other symptoms that may occur include:
    •    Abdominal pain
    •    Chest pain
    •    Chronic cough
    •    Diarrhoea
    •    Dizziness
    •    Dry eyes or mouth
    •    Earaches
    •    Irregular heartbeat
    •    Jaw pain
    •    Morning stiffness
    •    Nausea
    •    Night sweats
    •    Psychological problems, such as depression, irritability, anxiety, panic attacks
    •    Shortness of breath
    •    Skin sensations
    •    Tingling sensations
    •    Weight loss
In general, the symptoms of CFS aren't improved by bed rest and may be worsened by physical or mental activity.

  Factors that may increase your risk of chronic fatigue syndrome include:
    •    Age. Chronic fatigue syndrome can occur at any age, but it most commonly affects people in their 40s and 50s.
    •    Your sex. Women are diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome much more often than men, but it may be that women are simply more likely to report their symptoms to a doctor.
     •    Lifestyle. People who are overweight and inactive are more likely to develop chronic fatigue syndrome. Stress also appears to be a factor.