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Chronic fatigue syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) causes extreme tiredness that does not go away after you rest. Because the fatigue is long-lasting, CFS makes it hard to keep up with normal daily activities. CFS symptoms can include:

CFS occurs most commonly in women in their 40s and 50s. It may develop after an illness, such as a cold. Or it can start during or after a period of high stress. It can also come on slowly, with no clear starting point.

There are no tests to diagnose CFS. Your doctor must base a diagnosis on your medical history and by ruling out other possible causes of symptoms. Getting a diagnosis can take a long time.

CFS has no cure. But medicines can help treat some of your symptoms, such as muscle aches and sleep problems. Moderate physical activity balanced with rest may help keep your energy level up and improve mood, sleep, pain, and other symptoms. Counseling might help you keep a positive outlook.

CFS affects each person differently. Some people with CFS don't have enough energy to leave home. Yet others are able to improve symptoms to the point that they can go back to work and lead near-normal lives.

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Content last updated September 22, 2009.

Resources last updated September 22, 2009.

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