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.
ME/CFS educational resources to help healthcare providers with patient care, including assessment, managing ME/CFS symptoms and providing other supportive strategies to improve patients’ quality of life.
- Handout: ME/CFS Assessment Overview Table pdf icon[PDF—1 page]
- Handout: What is ME/CFS? pdf icon[PDF—1 page]
- Handout: What are ME/CFS symptoms? pdf icon[PDF—2 pages]
- Handout: Managing Specific Symptoms pdf icon[PDF—2 pages]
- Handout: Managing Post-exertional Malaise (PEM) pdf icon[PDF—1 page]
- Handout: Other Supportive Strategies pdf icon[PDF—2 pages]
CDC has partnered with Medscape to offer four continuing medical education (CME) activities for healthcare providers. All courses can be accessed by either a desktop computer or a mobile device.
- A Fresh Look at Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Diagnosis and Management of a Multisystem Illnessexternal icon (Authors: Benjamin Natelson, MD; Donna Felsenstein, MD; Mitchell Miglis, MD; Dale Strasser, MD)
- ME/CFS: A Case-Based Learning Moduleexternal icon (Author: Stephen Gluckman, MD)
- ME/CFS: Test Your Strengths and Gaps in Knowledgeexternal icon (Author: Nancy Klimas, MD)
- Diagnosing Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: The Experts Weigh Inexternal icon (Authors: Lucinda Bateman, MD; Natalie Azar, MD; Nancy Klimas, MD; José Montoya, MD)
Beyond Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Redefining an Illnessexternal icon. In 2015, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), now National Academy of Medicine (NAM), published this, 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:
- ME/CFS Clinicians’ Guide pdf icon[PDF—4.77MB]external icon
- Report Brief pdf icon[PDF—373KB]external icon
- Key Facts pdf icon[PDF—107KB]external icon
- Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Essentials of Diagnosis and Management – Mayo Clinic Proceedingsexternal icon
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Diagnosis and Management in Young People: A Primer.external icon 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).