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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) in the community. Prevalence & associations

  [ 28 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
www.ProHealth.com • June 2, 1995


BACKGROUND. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a poorly understood
condition, apparently related to both psychiatric disturbance
and infectious illness. Little progress has been made in
identifying aetiology, owing to a lack of epidemiological
studies using case-definition criteria.

METHOD. A community
postal survey of a random sample of over 1000 patients
registered at a local health centre comprised a fatigue
questionnaire and the 12-item General Health Questionnaire
(GHQ).

RESULTS. Total fatigue scores were modestly higher in
women than men. Fatigue was most frequently attributed to
psychosocial factors. Fatigue and GHQ scores were strongly
correlated. Two men and two women satisfied British criteria
for CFS, a prevalence of 0.56% (95% Cl 0.16-1.47%); three were
probable psychiatric cases.

CONCLUSIONS. Previously reported
sociodemographic associations of CFS may reflect medical
referral patterns. A strong association exists with
psychological morbidity, but relabelling CFS as a psychiatric
disorder is not justified.

Lawrie SM, Pelosi AJ




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