Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a condition that is not well understood. In addition to other symptoms, people with CFS feel too tired to do all of their normal, daily activities. This study explores how patients with CFS, as well as family physicians, view and understand the condition, and how their understanding might affect the primary care visit.
What This Study Found: Interviews with 24 patients and 14 family physicians in the United Kingdom find that:
Family physicians feel unprepared by their medical training and education to diagnose and manage CFS.
As a result, they seek information through other sources, such as the media, observations of patients outside the office, and personal experience.
Patients are aware of doctors' limited understanding of CFS and sometimes feel their concerns are dismissed.
Family physicians need evidence-based knowledge about CFS.
Training and continuing medical education for CFS could make use of the rich base of knowledge that patients with CFS possess.
Source: Annals of Family Medicine, June-July 2008. 6:340-348. DOI: 10.1370/afm.867, by Chew-Graham CA, Cahill g, Dowrick C, Wearden A, Peters S. School of Community-Based Medicine and Division of Psychology, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK; Division of Primary Care, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK. [E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org]