Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, A Serious Disease; Patients Deserve Real Care

By Maria Slither - 12 Feb '15 08:44AM

Chronic fatigue syndrome is now considered a serious disease contrary to the traditional thinking that such illness is just caused by mental and physical stress. With this come new criteria for its symptoms and guidelines for proper diagnosis and treatment set by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), a government advisory group in the U.S.

According to Yahoo, the health experts made the resolution on Tuesday to address the illness that has plagued at least 2.5 million people in the US. They have also assigned a new name, Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease, or SEID, said to clearly reflect the symptoms of the disease.

"This is not a figment of their imagination. These patients have real symptoms. They deserve real care," Dr. Ellen Wright Clayton of Vanderbilt University's Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society said.

NPR enumerated the core symptoms of the illness such as: (1) profound fatigue lasting at least six months, (2) total exhaustion after even minor physical or mental exertion that patients sometimes describe as a "crash" and is known medically as post-exertional malaise (3) unrefreshing sleep and (4)cognitive impairment (aka "brain fog") or a worsening of symptoms upon standing.

The Daily Mail also added another symptom in the list including orthostatic intolerance, a condition wherein symptoms heighten when lying down. Patients experiencing this condition also find it hard to stay upright for long.

The new criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome are said made simpler so as to save time for doctors in conducting several tests and thus giving more time in treating the patient.

Chronic fatigue syndrome has acquired several names through the years including epidemic neuromyasthenia, myalgia nervosa, and Royal Free Disease. But its recent Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease (SEID) is something that IOM has been critical about.

"For years, nobody has been able to come up with an alternate name. We struggled, but we tried to pack each word with meaning," Lucinda Bateman, a panel member of the IOM who specializes in treating fatigue said.

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