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- Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID) facts
- What is chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS or SEID)?
- What causes chronic fatigue syndrome or systemic exertional intolerance disease?
- What are risk factors for CFS/SEID?
- What are systemic exertion intolerance disease or chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms and signs?
- What are CFS/SEID symptoms in men?
- What are SEID/CFS symptoms in women?
- How is chronic fatigue syndrome (or systemic exertion intolerance disease) diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for CFS/SEID?
- Is there a cure for CFS/SEID?
- What is the prognosis (outcome) for CFS/SEID?
- Is it possible to prevent CFS/SEID?
- Where can people find additional information about CFS/SEID?
Quick GuideChronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment
Is there a cure for CFS/SEID?
Although some people may spontaneously have a reduction or cessation of some symptoms of CFS/SEID, especially with treatments described above, there is no known cure for CFS/SEID. The current goal is to relieve symptoms; accomplishing symptom reduction is often done by several different activities that patients can use at the same time. Such combined activity (or therapy) may include the following:
- Healthy diet (increasing fruits and vegetables and avoiding fatty foods); some claim adding the following herbals and diet products to the patient's diet may reduce symptoms (astragalus, borage seed oil, bromelain, comfrey, Echinacea, garlic, Ginkgo biloba, ginseng, primrose oil, quercetin, St. John's wort, maca, pau d'arco, spirulina, and Shiitake mushroom extract), but patients should check with their doctors before using such items.
- Exercise (regular daily exercise programmed for the individual patient)
- Intellectual stimulation (may require cognitive-behavorial therapy)
- Testing for sleep apnea and receive sleep-management therapy if needed
- Medication for pain and discomfort
- Anti-anxiety and /or antidepressant medication
What is the prognosis (outcome) for CFS/SEID?
Because full recovery from CFS/SEID is very infrequent (only 5%-10% of adult patients diagnosed), the prognosis usually ranges from fair to poor. Many patients can only work at part-time jobs; some patients become bedridden. Mental impairment, especially memory loss and the ability to concentrate are very disconcerting to CFS/SEID patients. Even with symptomatic treatment, some patients may continue with a slow decline in their ability to function. Some studies suggest that even about two years after diagnosis and symptomatic treatment, over half of the CFS/SEID patients still were fatigued.
The prognosis for children is better than that for adults as most children recover completely after about one to four years of treatment; although during recovery, they often have problems in school with attention and memory. Many will also have anxiety and depression. Researchers suggest that cognitive-behavioral therapy is a major effective treatment for adolescents with CFS/SEID.