Chronic fatigue syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a condition that causes severe, unrelenting fatigue that interferes with a person's daily activities. The fatigue is not the result of exertion and it is not relieved by rest.

The cause of CFS is unknown.

Symptoms of CFS include fatigue, sleep problems, difficulty concentrating and thinking clearly, memory problems, fever, headaches, muscle and joint pain, sore throat, and tender glands in the neck or armpits. Normal activity and light exertion cause tiredness and malaise that usually last longer than 24 hours.

Physical examinations and laboratory tests are done to rule out other causes of the symptoms. Because there is no test that can identify CFS, it can be diagnosed only by ruling out all other conditions.

Treatment for CFS is directed at relieving fatigue and other symptoms enough for a person to function normally and gradually return to his or her previous level of activity. Home treatment is a very important part of treating CFS. Diet, exercise, and good sleep habits can often help relieve and control symptoms. Many people with CFS find that their symptoms improve over time, allowing them to return to near normal activity within 1 to 2 years.

Last Updated: April 28, 2009

Author: Monica Rhodes

Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Karin M. Lindholm, DO - Neurology

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.