Question

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

What is the rate of incidence for chronic fatigue syndrome?

A Answers (2)

  • Studies show that anywhere between one and four million people in the United States currently meet the criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome. Because many cases of this condition are undiagnosed and because the guidelines doctors use to diagnose it are not set in stone, that number may be much higher. Original estimates that around 38 out of 100,000 Americans meet the criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome have been thought to be an understatement.

  • AJacob Teitelbaum, Integrative Medicine, answered

    The number of people with chronic fatigue syndrome is severely underestimated. This is because if a person has "exclusionary conditions" (any other condition that might conceivably also cause fatigue), then he or she is very unlikely to be diagnosed as having chronic fatigue syndrome. (An anology to this would be if exclusionary conditions such as these were similarly used for metastatic cancer, over three quarters of people would be incorrectly eliminated from being diagnosed with cancer.) In my experience, and in many studies, most people who have chronic fatigue syndrome also have fibromyalgia and vice versa. An estimated 2-4% of the population has fibromyalgia. And this has been rising rapidly over the last decade. This makes it more reasonable to look at what is actually happening in real life. The prevalence of fibromyalgia gives us a more accurate picture, being present in 2-4% of the population. In some studies this is as high as 8%. This suggests that these illnesses have more than doubled in the last decade.

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How common is chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)?