Written by Dr. Varshini Jayaraman,  Ph.D. | 

Medically Reviewed by The Medindia Medical Review Team  on Mar 05, 2016


I felt I had no energy within me. A strange kind of blur and fogginess enveloped me both within and outside. I felt different. I hated going out in sunlight. I didnít want to move out of my bed. This went on for weeks. I felt so lethargic. I lost my high profile job and my life seemed to be suddenly shattered. I did not know what was wrong with me; the doctor said it must be a "virus"....

The above are typical symptoms of a condition called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Chronic illness is a term used to represent a condition that is present over a prolonged period. A few examples of chronic illness include hypertension, diabetes and cancer. Of the numerous chronic illnesses known so far, chronic fatigue syndrome deserves special mention.

While it is relatively easy to attribute the cause of diseases like AIDS and tuberculosis to the HIV virus or mycobacterium tuberculosis respectively, the exact cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome still remains a mystery. Nobody is immune to developing this condition. It can affect even the healthy!

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

A person can have it for years, and yet go unnoticed. It can strike following an episode of illness such as cold or can also be associated with high levels of stress. In some cases, it might be difficult for the patient to pinpoint when it all began. There is currently no method by which the severity of the disease can be gauged. The complex nature of the disease accompanied by lack of understanding of this strange disorder has left us with very few treatment options.

Chronic fatigue disorder or CFS is a disorder characterized by extreme fatigue, not resolved by bed rest. The condition can be aggravated by mental or physical activity. Persons suffering from CFS exhibit a substantially lower level of functionality when compared to their counterparts. The presence of non-specific symptoms such as muscle and joint pain, weakness, lack of sleep, decreased alertness and perceived impairment in the ability to concentrate, make it difficult to diagnose the condition.

The disease was originally described as "yuppie flu" as women in their 30s to 40s, with a high level of income reported CFS or rather CFS-like symptoms. It is now known that it can affect people of all ages, despite their ethnic and socio-economic condition.


  1. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/chronicfatiguesyndrome.html)
  2. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/cfs/)

Latest Publications and Research on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


Joowlz Monday, November 12, 2012

I have all these symptoms of ME/CFS for over a year and had presented to my GP with symptoms but at time they seem unrelated. Recently when I told her I believed I had it, her comments were "You don't have it by what I know although you are definitely stressed, and definitely fatigued". When I responded that I had sore throat/tender glands in my neck and that if I do more than normal activity I am wrecked afterwards and sometimes have flu like illness without being the bug, she did not reply. It left me angry she did not take me seriously although my counsellor whom is also a registered doctor agreed with my diagnosis. It is unfortunate no lab. tests exist to prove this. What I think confuses my doctor is the fact I am 51 and have chronic pain treated with prescribed narcotics but she cannot explain sudden weight gain [12kg] in a year as well as all the other chronic fatigue like signs! Thanks, Jem

TheReviewer Friday, October 25, 2013

As described CFS is a set of symptoms and not a disease by itself. the underlying causes are still unknown to medical science but due to some medical conditions also you can get these kind of symptoms [Syndrome]. I just read in another article about 'andropause'. a situation described similar (although not) to menapause in women. Here the level of Testestorone (male hormone) gets depleted. This can be tested in blood test. Also other conditions include vit B12 deficiency, clinical depression, anxiety disorders, etc. You can rule out some of them as there are tests available. As you have described, you were on pain management medicines that may also have such side effects. Also, acceptance / non-acceptance by your doctor should not mean anything to you. Its the right treatment is required for the same. So, first thrash out the possibilities where tests are available (Vit B12, TSH, testestorone level, etc) and then you'll be sure about this yourself. All the best!

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