chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
Sudden debilitating fatigue of unknown cause. It may follow a nonspecific illness with mild fever, tender lymph nodes, sore throat, headaches, weakness, muscle and joint pain, and confusion or difficulty in concentrating. To meet the criteria of CFS, the syndrome must be new, with a definite point of onset, and must persist more than six months. Once dismissed as imaginary, CFS remains controversial. Many authorities question whether it is a distinct disorder, since there is considerable overlap with other conditions such as fibromyalgia and Gulf War syndrome. No diagnostic test for CFS exists. Although a number of theories about the cause of CFS have been advanced, none has been proved. No cure has been found, but most patients improve gradually.
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