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Redefining Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Redefining Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Sleeping Beauty slept for 100 years, until she was awakened by the kiss of a prince. Although it took a long time for her to find relief, at least her profound tiredness was cured. That’s something up to 2.5 million folks with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) can only hope for.

This mysterious malady has only been acknowledged as a legitimate disease. Now researchers are trying to find ways to more accurately name and diagnose it. The Institute of Medicine released a report suggesting that in place of CFS, or its alternative name myalgic encephalomyelitis, the condition be called Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease, or SEID. And they proposed new criteria for diagnosing the condition:

  • For at least 6 months you haven’t been able to engage in pre-illness levels of activity and you suffer newly occurring, often severe fatigue that’s not the result of intense exertion.
  • Your symptoms get worse with physical, mental or emotional exertion.
  • Sleep or rest doesn’t make you feel refreshed.
  • You have one of these two symptoms: cognitive impairment or trouble standing up, and you feel better after you lie down.  

Now if researchers could discover what triggers SEID, they might find a cure. Until then your best bet is to combine counseling to help you cope with the condition with stress-reduction techniques, such as meditation or massage, and perhaps antidepressants. Stay tuned for continuing news about progress in determining the cause and where that prince is hiding.

Medically reviewed in August 2018.

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