Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome CFIDS

In the U.S. population, 0.5 percent of people meet the criteria for CFIDS, compared to 5 to 15 percent of the population who are diagnosed with FM. The

overlap between the two shows that 35 to 70 percent of those with CFIDS have FM, whereas 20 to 70 percent of those with FM report an additional diagnosis of CFIDS. Earlier terms for CFIDS included yuppie flu or chronic Epstein-Barr Syndrome. CFIDS is defined by the Centers for Disease Control as a medically unexplained, persistent, or relapsing fatigue that is not substantially alleviated by rest and which is associated with significant functional impairment, including fatigue that occurs concurrently with four of more of the following: cognitive dysfunction, sore throat, tender lymph nodes, muscle pain, joint pain without swelling, headaches, lightheadedness, unrefreshing sleep, and postexertional malaise lasting for at least twenty-four hours. These symptoms must persist at least six consecutive months to be diagnosed as CFIDS. As there is no simple test to confirm CFIDS, diagnosis is based on history and physical exam. Tests are often done to rule out other diseases that might mimic this syndrome. These may include blood testing for thyroid dysfunction, hepatitis B and C infection, Lyme disease, syphilis, along with occult stool tests (fecal sampling that detects bowel cancer) and a CBC (complete blood count). Occasionally people with neurodegenerative diseases like multiple sclerosis are temporarily misdiagnosed with CFIDS. The cause of CFIDS remains only partly understood, but alterations in the ANS and CNS are pathophysiologic changes that have been seen. More recently, immune and inflammatory markers are being studied. Treatments are symptom-based and include both drug and nondrug therapies for fatigue, depression, insomnia, cognitive dysfunction, pain, dizziness, and lightheadedness.

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