Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: An illness of unknown etiology

The chronic fatigue syndrome is an illness of unknown etiology

characterized by severe fatigue, myalgias, lymphadenopathy,

arthralgias, chills, fevers, and postexertional malaise.

Recognizing chronic fatigue syndrome is primarily a method of

exclusion with no definitive diagnostic test or physical

findings. As research continues to delve into the many

possible etiologic agents for chronic fatigue

syndrome–infectious, immunologic, neurologic, or psychiatric

alone or in combination–the answer remains elusive. What is

known is that chronic fatigue syndrome is a heterogeneous

disorder very possibly involving an interaction of biological

systems. Therefore, chronic fatigue syndrome may describe a

large subset of patients, each exhibiting unique symptoms and

serologic profiles dependent on the nature of the onset of

illness and the genetic profile of individual patients.

Kakumanu S, Yeager M, Craig TJ

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