Chronic fatigue syndrome is a debilitating disorder in which the individual experiences prolonged weakness and fatigue, that is not relieved with rest. This disorder primarily affects women, predominantly of ages 40-59, often occurring in cycles of relapses and remission (Center for Disease Control [CDC], 2010). Up until recent years, the has been a widespread misunderstanding of chronic fatigue syndrome, often being thought of as a mental impingement, or symptom of depression, limiting the extent of accurate diagnosis and treatment (Rosati, 2008). The International Chronic Fatigue Study Group ([ICFSG] 1994) standardized a case definition of diagnostic criteria, stating:
All people suffering from CFS experience severe, all-consuming mental and physical fatigue that is not relieved by rest. The fatigue can be worsened by minimal physical or mental exertion. Although the formal diagnosis of CFS requires fatigue of at least 6 months’ duration.
Because this disease is so complex, and being seen increasing in incidence with medical advancement, health care providers need to have knowledge of therapeutic modalities to individualize care according to the many unique presentations of the disorder. This further exemplifies the need for adequate review of systems, and obtaining a thorough history of present illness to determine what specific problems the patient is experiencing, and being able to tailor treatment and management to their specific needs.
Center for Disease Control [CDC], (2010). Chronic fatigue syndrome. Retrieved from:
International Chronic Fatigue Study Group, (1994). The chronic fatigue syndrome: A
comprehensive approach to its definition and study. Annual International Medicine, 121: 953-958.
Rosati, P (2008). Chronic fatigue syndrome: Implications for women and their health care
providers during the childbearing years. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health