Prevalence of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Prevalence of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Figure 1: Prevalence of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has been estimated to affect between 800,000 and 2.5 million Americans. There are more Americans with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome than the populations of Alaska, Vermont, and Wyoming. It is significantly more common in Women than in Men.

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?

Fatigue is a very common symptom that can be caused by many conditions. These range from not sleeping well to Conditions as extreme as cancer or organ failure. Generally, by itself, it is not diagnostic of any particular condition. However, if it is constant or if it is accompanied by other symptoms, it could be a sign of a medical condition. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about you or a loved one’s fatigue.

Source: Beyond Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Redefining an Illness.

Impact of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome on Productivity

Impact of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome on Productivity.

Figure 2: Impact of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome on Productivity. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has been estimated to reduce workplace productivity by 54% and household productivity by 37%. Household productivity includes housework, childcare, and other uncompensated but necessary tasks of life at home.

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.

Source: The economic impact of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Economic Impact of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Economic Impact of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Figure 3: Economic Impact of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Researchers estimate that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome cost the US economy $9.1 Billion in 2004. Each patient with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome reduced economic output by $20,000 in 2004. This is likely much higher today due to gains in productivity and inflation.

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.

Source: The economic impact of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Figure 4: Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

What is a syndrome

A syndrome is a collection of symptoms that often occur together. Sometimes, these can have a known underlying cause for example with Down Syndrome, which is caused by an extra chromosome. Other times, these can be symptoms that are often observed together but have no known underlying cause.

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.

Source: Beyond Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Redefining an Illness.

Expert Opinions

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JAMA

Over the past 35 years, thousands of studies from laboratories in many countries have documented underlying biological abnormalities involving many organ systems in patients with ME/CFS, compared with healthy controls: in short, there is something wrong. Moreover, most of the abnormalities are not detected by standard laboratory tests.

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Centers for Disease Control

Between 836,000 and 2.5 million Americans have been estimated to have ME/CFS, as noted in the 2015 IOM report. Among cases identified through active surveillance for ME/CFS, less than 20% reported having received an ME/CFS diagnosis from a healthcare provider. Although anyone can get ME/CFS, among persons diagnosed with ME/CFS, the ratio of women to men can be as high as 4 to 1.

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MedlinePlus

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a serious, long-term illness that affects many body systems. Another name for it is myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). CFS can often make you unable to do your usual activities. Sometimes you may not even be able to get out of bed.

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