Dr James Schaller
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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Over a million Americans have been given this diagnosis. When someone is told they have this problem what do they mean?

First, it means in an evaluation with your physician you report unexplained persistent or on and off chronic fatigue that is not lifelong. It started at a certain month or season in your life. It cannot be due to significant exaercise, and the fatigue does not end with a nap. Simply, Chronic fatigue syndrome impairs all aspects of your life

Also, the CDC and other agenxcies require at least four problems from this list for more than two seasons:

  • short-term memory trouble
  • reduced concentration
  • a sore throat
  • a tender lymph nodes
  • muscle aches
  • joint pain without swelling in multiple places
  • new headaches
  • unrefreshing sleep
  • significant fatigue for over a day after exersise or work

Fatigue is Part of Hundreds of Medical Problems

In my research oriented practice we do very aggressive testing and often find multiple causes for fatigue and the symptoms mentioned above. It is stuning to me that a CFS work up is felt to be a mere 4-5 tubes of blood. This means on can check for 5-20 causes of fatigue, but not all the other possible causes.

Some feel that a good evaluation is a simple check for hypothyroidism, Hepatitis B or C, sleep apnea, cancer, medication side effects, eating disorders, depression and bipolar depression, sedating type drugs of abuse or miorbid obesity, Lyme disease, syphillis, and basic autoimmunity disorders.

My concern is this is a very sparce list of things to rule out, so many and perhaps most people will be left with sickness and a mere diagnostic label.

According to the government, their standard tests are useless at diagnosing CFS. I would agree. I simply diagnose the cause of the fatigue and other symptoms and ignore the label.

For very basic CFS data go to: www.cdc.gov/cfs/cfsdefinitionHCP.htm

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