Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is chronic fatigue syndrome common?"
Just feeling tired all of the time and I think I have chronic fatigue syndrome. Is this rare or is it pretty common? I don't want to go to the doctor if there's nothing I can do about it. Are there treatments?
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a medical disorder or group of disorders with unknown etiology that is generally characterized by a persistent fatigue accompanied by other specific symptoms for a minimum of six months, not due to ongoing exertion, not substantially relieved by rest, or caused by other medical conditions. People experiencing chronic fatigue syndrome simultaneously have four or more of the following symptoms: significant problems with short-term memory or concentration, sore throat, tender lymph nodes, widespread muscle pain, pain in several joints without swelling and redness, headaches of a type not previously experienced, severe mental and physical exhaustion, and other various symptoms. Chronic fatigue syndrome can lead to depression, but depression is not a cause of this condition. Fatigue is a common symptom in many diseases, but chronic fatigue syndrome is comparatively rare. It occurs more often in women than men. Since the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is unknown, there is no established treatment to cure this condition. Treatment is directed at relief of symptoms rather than cure. I would suggest that you work with your doctor who can help you manage this condition to regain some level of preexisting function and well-being. There are also numerous diseases that have symptoms resembling those of chronic fatigue syndrome so it is good idea to consult a primary care physician to rule out several treatable illnesses: Lyme disease, sleep disorders, depression, hypothyrodism, diabetes, lupus, mononucleosis (mono), multiple sclerosis, chronic hepatitis, and various malignancies.
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