Understanding & Treating Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Part 3 of 3

Part 3: Potential Causes & Comprehensive Treatment Plans

It is estimated that over 1 million people in the United States are living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, ME/CFS). CFS is a debilitating disease characterized by extreme fatigue and a host of other symptoms such as sleep disorders, muscle pain, headaches, swollen lymph nodes and sore throat, to name a few. These symptoms can worsen after physical or mental activity and do not improve with rest. There is no known cause for CFS and despite advances in research a cure remains elusive with treatment primarily focused on providing relief.

People living with CFS, the majority of whom are women, face challenges in every aspect of life. Productivity suffers both at home and at work, relationships with family members and friends often deteriorate and the ability to actively engage in many of life’s activities is compromised. Many people with CFS are looked upon as lazy or delusional by their peers, and tragically even health care providers have doubted CFS to be a legitimate illness. This stigma along with losing one’s sense of accomplishment can cause depression and further one’s sense of despair. The effects of CFS can devastate a person’s quality of life for many, many years.

Dr. Gary Kaplan, a member of the Department of Health & Human Services’ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Advisory Committee (CFSAC), will share his view on the challenges of diagnosing CFS and what needs to be done differently to advance its treatment.

Dr. Kaplan will also comment on the recent findings of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Pathways to Prevention conference “Advancing the Research on ME/CFS,” which was held on Dec 10, 2014.

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