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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: It's Real, and We Can Do Better

Sunday, May 12, 2019, is ME/CFS awareness day

ME/CFS is a complex, chronic, debilitating illness with systemic effects. It's characterized by reduced ability to perform activities that were well-tolerated pre-illness, accompanied by profound fatigue not improved by rest, and lasting for more than 6 months.

Most School's of Medicine teach little about this real syndrome. Some may even call it psychosomatic. The CDC Institute for Viral illnesses classified this a real illness despite there being no specific markers for it.

It is estimated 836,000 to 2.5 million Americans suffer from ME/CFS, a serious, long-term illness that can severely impair the ability of those affected to live normal lives. But the majority of those affected are not diagnosed, and many struggle with symptoms for years before receiving a diagnosis.

The absence of a definitive diagnostic test contributes to this problem. In addition, most medical schools in the United States do not include ME/CFS in their physician training. Less than one-third of medical school curricula and less than half of medical textbooks in the United States address ME/CFS, so many healthcare providers need more information about this condition.

A major concern is the difficulty in finding good healthcare from informed and compassionate providers. To address this need, we released an updated CDC website about ME/CFS for healthcare providers in July 2018. The new site was designed specifically with clinicians in mind. It offers information about how clinicians can better assess and help their patients manage this illness.

The new content includes:

Presentation and clinical course of ME/CFS;

Prognosis, epidemiology, and possible causes of ME/CFS;

Diagnostic criteria for ME/CFS, released in 2015; and

2015 Institute of Medicine Report on ME/CFS

A major stumbling block until now is a definitive evidence-based conclusion about ME/CFS. and that ME/CFS was a rule out diagnosis after all other differential diagnoses were considered.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: It's Real, and We Can Do Better: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: It's Real, and We Can Do Better

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