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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Pathophysiology of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The etiology of CFS appears to be neurologic, and abnormalities in cerebral perfusion, hypothalamic function, and neurotransmitter regulation have been documented.

Abnormalities of immune system activation or immune system dysfunction have also been associated with CFS.

Most frequently occurs in working-age adults, both male and female, but has been described in all age groups. 70% of patients are female. Not associated with chronic

CFS is characterized by profound fatigue worsened by exertion or exercise. Patients may also complain of headaches, sore throat, lymph node pain, abdominal pain, muscle and joint pain, temperature regulation symptoms.

CFS is a diagnosis of exclusion. Clinical evaluation and laboratory tests should rule out treatable organic or mental

Obtain a complete history of symptoms, including prior psychiatric illness. Abrupt onset of symptoms suggests an infectious or other organic etiology.

Neurologic symptoms such as dizziness, balance disorder, paresthesias, and cognitive disturbances involving short-term memory and attention may also be present.

Emotional symptoms of depression or panic disorder, sleep problems and fibromyalgia symptoms (muscle aches and tenderness), or allergies may be present.

A protracted course is common, although the level of fatigue varies considerably from day-to-day. Physical or mental stress often exacerbates CFS.