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What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?


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Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is NOT an autoimmune disease. It is included here because the symptoms of fatigue, muscle pain, and depression are often symptoms that are found in many autoimmune diseases, and diagnosis is difficult.
According the National Institutes of Health's Trans-NIH Working Group for Research on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, "CFS is a debilitating and complex syndrome that involves multiple body systems. It is characterized by profound fatigue that is not improved by bed rest and may be exacerbated or re-kindled by physical or mental activity..."
"Neither a specific cause(s) nor any specific diagnostic test(s) have been identified for this illness. The range of symptoms, however, suggests there may be subtle pertubations in multiple physiological pathways that are triggered by diverse causes such as infection, stress, brain structure abnormalities, hormone levels, proinflammatory cytokines, etc. Epidemiological evidence is also limited and requires further study. Existing data suggest, however, that CFS occurs three to four times more frequently among women than among men and 10 times more often in white Americans than in American of other racial/ethnic groups. A more recent study disputes these numbers and would narrow the gap between the sexes, as well as among racial ethnic population subgroups."

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