Dr. MJ Bazos MD, Patient Handout
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

How do I know if I might have chronic fatigue syndrome?
If you answer yes to any of the questions listed below, you may have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), which is also called chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS).

1. Have you been tired (fatigued) for a long time—more than 6 months—even though you are getting enough rest and are not working too hard?
2. Has your doctor been unable to find illnesses that could explain your symptoms?
3. Are you able to do less than half of what you used to do, because you feel tired?
4. Have you had recurrent or persistent problems for 6 months or more with any of the signs and symptoms listed below?

What causes chronic fatigue syndrome?
No one is certain about what causes CFS. The symptoms may be caused
by an immune system that isn’t working well. Or they may be caused by
some kind of virus. Researchers are looking for the cause of CFS.

How is chronic fatigue syndrome treated?
The first step is to see if there is a medical cause for your fatigue. Your doctor will probably want to review your symptoms and medical history, and give you a physical exam. Your doctor may also want to do some blood tests, but lab testing is not often helpful. Some of the symptoms, such as muscle aches, sleep problems, anxiety and depression, can be treated with medicine. The medicine is intended only to reduce your symptoms and allow you to be more active, not to cure the fatigue. So far, there is no medicine that cures the entire syndrome. Most patients improve with time.

How can I help myself?

How can my doctor help?
Your doctor can work with you to provide symptom relief and to help you find ways of coping with the changes CFS makes in your life. Chronic fatigue affects you physically, emotionally and socially. When you address all of these factors, you have the best chance of adjusting to your illness and feeling more satisfied with your life. If you have CFS, a good long-term relationship with your doctor helps. This relationship is the key that helps you feel less frustrated.