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Chronic fatigue & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS): shifting boundaries & attributions

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By Lloyd AR • www.ProHealth.com • September 28, 1998


The subjective symptom of "fatigue" is one of the most
widespread in the general population and is a major source of
healthcare utilization. Prolonged fatigue is often associated
with neuropsychological and musculoskeletal symptoms that form
the basis of several syndromal diagnoses including chronic
fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and neurasthenia, and is
clearly not simply the result of a lack of force generation
from the muscle. Current epidemiologic research in this area
relies predominantly on self-report data to document the
prevalence and associations of chronic fatigue. Of necessity,
this subjective data source gives rise to uncertain diagnostic
boundaries and consequent divergent epidemiologic, clinical,
and pathophysiologic research findings. This review will
highlight the impact of the case definition and ascertainment
methods on the varying prevalence estimates of chronic fatigue
syndrome and patterns of reported psychological comorbidty. It
will also evaluate the evidence for a true postinfective
fatigue syndrome.




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