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Home :: Chronic Fatigue And Immune Dysfunction Syndrome

Chronic Fatigue And Immune Dysfunction Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a disease that was first named in the 1980s. Although it is not a new disease, and has been referred to by other names since the 1700s, it still remains the subject of a great deal of controversy. Even now, as increasing numbers of people are being diagnosed with CFS, many people inside and outside the health professions still doubt its existence or maintain that it's a psychological ailment.

Chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic Epstein-Barr virus [EBV], benign myalgic encephalomyelitis, "Yuppie flu") is typically marked by debilitating fatigue, neurologic abnormalities, and persistent symptoms that suggest chronic mononucleosis. It commonly occurs in adults under age 45, and its incidence is highest in women.


No one is certain about what causes CFS. The symptoms may be caused by an immune system that isn't working well. Or they may be caused by some kind of virus. Researchers are looking for the cause of CFS.

CFIDS may be associated with a reaction to viral illness that's complicated by dysfunctional immune response and by other factors that may include gender, age, genetic disposition, prior illness, stress, and environment.

Chronic Fatigue signs and symptoms

The characteristic symptom of CFIDS is prolonged, often overwhelming fatigue that's commonly associated with a varying complex of other symptoms. To aid identification of the disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses a "working case definition" to group symptoms and severity. In addition to persistent fatigue, not caused by other known medical conditions, chronic fatigue syndrome has eight possible primary signs and symptoms. These include:

  • Loss of memory or concentration
  • Sore throat
  • Painful and mildly enlarged lymph nodes in your neck or armpits (axillae)
  • Unexplained muscle soreness
  • irregular heartbeat
  • Jaw pain
  • Morning stiffness
  • Nausea
  • Night sweats


The cause and nature of CFIDS are still unknown, and no single test unequivocally confirms its presence. Therefore, the diagnosis is based on the patient's history and the CDC criteria. Because the CDC criteria are admittedly a working concept that may not include all forms of this disease and are based on symptoms that can result from other diseases, a diagnosis is difficult and uncertain. Considerable overlap exists between CFIDS and fibromyalgia syndrome, with patients often having features of both.


No therapy is known to cure CFIDS. Experimental treatments include the antiviral acyclovir and selected immunomodulating agents, such as I. V. gamma globulin, ampligen, and transfer factor.

Treatment of symptoms may include tricyclic antidepressants (doxepin), histamine2-blocking agents (cimetidine), and antianxiety agents (alprazolam). In some patients, avoidance of environmental irritants and certain foods may help to relieve symptoms.


Because the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome remains unknown, there's no known way to prevent the illness from occurring. Be aware of the symptoms and signs of chronic fatigue syndrome and seek the help of your doctor to manage them if they occur. However some prevention tips are :-

  • Keep a daily diary to identify times when you have the most energy. Plan your activities for these times.
  • Keep up some level of activity and exercise, within your abilities. Your doctor can help you plan an exercise program to maintain your strength at whatever level is possible. Exercise can help your body and mind.
  • Give yourself permission to recognize and express your feelings, such as sadness, anger and frustration. You need to grieve for the energy you have lost.

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Disclaimer: website is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. Always take the advice of professional health care for specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment. We will not be liable for any complications, or other medical accidents arising from the use of any information on this web site. Please note that medical information is constantly changing. Therefore some information may be out of date.