Prevalence of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
We are all tired from time to time. But, for some Americans, this tiredness or fatigue can be so severe that it qualifies as a medical condition.
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a very common but under-diagnosed and under-recognized medical condition.
We all feel tired from time to time, this is entirely normal.
Most people get some rest, go for a run, or take some time off to recharge.
However, for around 1 million Americans, this is not enough. These Americans have debilitating fatigue that gets in the way of normal activity. Unlike normal fatigue, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome does not get substantially better with rest and sleep.
Based on epidemiology studies, experts estimate that between 800,000 and 2.5 million Americans have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
There are more Americans with this syndrome than the populations of several states and countries.
Studies have consistently found that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is significantly more common among women than men.
Is fatigue a medical issue?
Impact of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome on Productivity
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can make it hard to function normally. We all need some energy to go to work, meet our goals, and chase that promotion. However, for those with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, researchers estimate that their productivity is less than half of what it would have been without Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Similarly, individuals with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are less able to perform necessary tasks at home. Economists also count housework as work, even though you may not necessarily be paid for it.
Individuals with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome perform 37% less housework than they would have without Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Economic Impact of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
This isn’t just an issue for those who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, it is also an issue for our economy as a whole.
The strength of the economy depends on the productivity of its citizens. In 2004, researchers estimated that chronic fatigue syndrome cost the United States around $9.1 billion in lost productivity.
Each individual person what kind of fatigue syndrome lost around $20,000 of productivity.
Given that our economy has grown, workers have become more productive, and the dollar has inflated, this number is likely much higher today.
Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
What is a syndrome
Conditions such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are often difficult to define since there is no known underlying cause.
Instead, scientists and doctors define chronic fatigue syndrome by looking at symptoms that tend to occur together.
The Institute of Medicine, one of the most prestigious academic institutions in medicine, created the above definition of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.