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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; Key Q&A.

If there is no treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), what can my health care professional do to help me?

Even though the cause of CFS has not been identified, your health care professional will base your treatment on the symptoms you experience as a result of the illness. It is important to tell your health care professional about any symptoms you experience since many are also symptoms of other diseases that can be treated. Also remember that new illnesses or conditions may present at any time and are not necessarily related to CFS. These need to be reported and the cause identified. Your health care professional can also recommend support groups and other therapies to help you cope with CFS.

Why do my symptoms seem to come and go?

The symptoms are usually most severe in the first year or two. Thereafter, symptoms typically stabilize and then can persist chronically, wax and wane, or improve. Currently, an individual's course of illness cannot be predicted.

How can my health care professional diagnose CFS if there is no known cause and no diagnostic tests available?

Your health care professional will determine if you have CFS based on your symptoms and medical history, and through the use of medical tests and examinations that will rule out any other probable causes for your symptoms.

Will I ever be cured?

There is no cure for CFS at this time. In fact, there is no treatment for CFS, only treatments for the symptoms of CFS, such as headaches, sore throats or sleep problems. Some patients partially recover, a few may fully recover, while others may find their symptoms get worse. Others experience periodic relapses. Since little is known about the cause and progression of CFS, the course of your individual illness cannot be predicted. It is important to realize that people with CFS can be helped with appropriate treatment.

Is CFS contagious?

No. Nor is there any evidenced that it can be transmitted through intimate or casual contact or with a blood transfusion, or that people with CFS need to be isolated in any way.

What are the symptoms of CFS?

Besides debilitating fatigue that is not alleviated by rest, common symptoms of CFS include: more intense or changed patterns of headaches, reduced short-term memory or concentration, recurrent sore throats, tender lymph nodes, muscle discomfort or pain, joint pain without joint swelling or redness, and sleep that is unsatisfying and fails to refresh. You may not experience all of these symptoms. The severity of symptoms varies with each individual.

Can CFS be confused with other illnesses or diseases?

Yes. That's why it's very important you see a health care professional if you suspect you have CFS. Even if you've been diagnosed with CFS, talk to your health care professional about any new symptoms or changes in the course of your illness so other conditions can be ruled out.

Besides medical treatments for my symptoms, what can I do to minimize the effects of CFS?

Often, health care professionals will suggest lifestyle changes, such as increased rest, the use of stress reduction and management techniques, dietary changes, nutritional supplementation and an individualized activity plan that can help minimize deconditioning. Supportive therapy, such as counseling, can also help to identify and develop effective coping strategies.


"Chronic Fatigue Syndrome." Fact Sheet. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. National Institutes of Health. Accessed Oct. 2001.

"Chronic Fatigue Syndrome." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Infectious Diseases. Accessed Oct. 2001.

"Introduction to CFIDS and CFS" and "Medical Issues." The CFIDS Association of America, Inc. Accessed Oct. 2001.

Natelson, Benjamin, H., Facing and Fighting Fatigue, (Yale University Press, 1998)

"About CFS: Demographics." The Centers for Disease Control. May 2005. Accessed May 2006.

"About CFS: Diagnosis." The Centers for Disease Control. May 2005. Accessed May 2006. "Genetics a factor in chronic fatigue." Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics News. April 30, 2006. Accessed June 2006."Basic Facts (on CFS)." The Centers for Disease Control. May 2006. Accessed June 2006.

Keywords: chronic fatigue syndrome, cfs, symptoms of cfs, treatment for cfs, symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome
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Title Annotation:questions and answers
Publication:NWHRC Health Center - Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 9, 2006
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