Information for Healthcare Providers
Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a complex, chronic, debilitating disease with systemic effects. ME/CFS is characterized by reduced ability to perform pre-illness activities that lasts for more than 6 months and is accompanied by profound fatigue, which is not improved by rest. A hallmark of ME/CFS is that symptoms can worsen after physical, mental, or emotional effort, a manifestation known as post-exertional malaise (PEM). Patients with ME/CFS also have unrefreshing sleep. Other common manifestations are orthostatic intolerance, cognitive impairment, and pain. As can be observed in people with other long-term chronic illnesses, secondary psychological symptoms such as depression and anxiety may also be present in some patients with ME/CFS.
Beyond Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Redefining an Illness. In 2015, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), now National Academy of Medicine (NAM), published the report on ME/CFS, in which the IOM committee summarized the evidence base and proposed redefining the diagnostic criteria to facilitate timely diagnosis and to improve understanding of the illness among healthcare professionals and the public. Additional resources include:
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Diagnosis and Management in Young People: A Primer. Front. Pediatr., 19 June 2017.
Disclaimer: The findings and conclusions in these documents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Page last reviewed: July 12, 2018
- Page last updated: July 12, 2018
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