Don’t fail to treat chronic fatigue syndrome was the message from doctors to doctors in a recent article in the British Medical Journal.
The three senior doctors writing the article argued that an “air of defeatism” among doctors regarding chronic fatigue syndrome may undermine treatment. The doctors point out that severe chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis is rare and mortality is not usually increased by the disorder.
However, the authors noted that the greatest risk to life of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome is suicide. Since that’s linked with depression, it can be treated.
Graded exercise therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy have been shown effective in treating chronic fatigue syndrome. Yet, the alternative to treatments is often nothing, leaving patients feeling as if the medical profession has given up on them.
“We owe it to our patients and to our professionalism to do what we can to help those with this potentially treatable condition because, notwithstanding the difficulties, this is our primary duty,” the doctors concluded.
According to the CDC, chronic fatigue syndrome occurs up to four times more often in women. People between the ages of 40 and 59 are most often affected by chronic fatigue syndrome. There’s no evidence that the disorder is contagious, but more research is needed to determine if there’s a genetic link. Since there’s no laboratory test to determine if a person has chronic fatigue syndrome, it’s usually a diagnosis of exclusion after many tests. Read more about how chronic disease syndrome is diagnosed at CDC.
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