ZocdocAnswersDo I have chronic fatigue syndrome?

Question

Do I have chronic fatigue syndrome?

Just can't figure this out. I get plenty of rest and eat well, but I'm still tired all of the time, especially when I'm sitting at my desk at work. Coffee and energy drinks just don't have any effect. Why am I so tired? Is it chronic fatigue syndrome?

Answer

There are many possible conditions that can cause fatigue like you are experiencing. Since this has been going on for a while now, I think it is now essential that you go to see your primary care doctor so that you can get some help figuring out what is going on. Chronic fatigue syndrome is what we call a diagnosis of exclusion - meaning that there are a lot of other much more common medical conditions that need to be ruled out first. Your doctor will first analyze your eating and sleeping habits, as well as your stress level, to make sure there is not any easily identifiable factor which you may have overlooked. If they cannot identify anything, then they will want to rule out the common causes of fatigue. These include some psychiatric conditions, especially depression, and medical conditions like vitamin deficiencies, anemia, and problems with the thyroid gland. Your doctor will likely want to order some simple blood tests to help rule out some of these conditions. Based on these results and the results of the interview and physical exam, they will then be able to make recommendations about what is going on and what treatments are needed.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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