Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (cont.)
Prevalence of CFS
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) affects more than one million people in the
United States. There are tens of millions of people with similar fatiguing
illnesses who do not fully meet the strict research definition of CFS.
Risk Factors for CFS
- People of every age, gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic group can have CFS.
- CFS affects women at four times the rate of men.
- Research indicates that CFS is
most common in people in their 40s and 50s.
- Although CFS is much less common in
children than in adults, children can develop the illness, particularly during
the teen years.
Defining CFS Symptoms
- CFS is marked by extreme fatigue that has lasted at least six months; is not
the result of ongoing effort; is not substantially relieved by rest; and causes
a substantial reduction in daily activities.
- In addition to fatigue, CFS
includes eight characteristic symptoms:
- postexertional malaise (relapse of
symptoms after physical or mental exertion);
- unrefreshing sleep;
impairment in memory/concentration;
- muscle pain;
- pain in multiple joints;
- headaches of a new type, pattern or severity;
- sore throat;
- and tender neck or
armpit lymph nodes.
- Symptoms and their consequences can be severe. CFS can be as
disabling as multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, congestive heart
failure and similar chronic conditions. Symptom severity varies from patient to
patient and may vary over time for an individual patient.