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  (What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFIDS) (ME)?)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a serious and complex illness characterized by

1.) Incapacitating fatigue (experienced as profound exhaustion and extremely poor stamina)

By definition the condition does not improve with rest and persists for a minimum of 6 months. In many cases it lasts for years and severely impairs a person's ability to function.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Also known as:

(CFIDS) Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome.
This is to reflect not just the fatigue aspect of this illness but also immune changes that take place in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.

(ME) Myalgic Encephalomyelitis: This is misleading and dates from 1950 from The Royal Free Hospital London, and although Cfs patients have Myalgic (muscle pain) there is no evidence that they suffer from Encephalomyelitis (inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.)

Tapanui Flu: Named in New Zealand after the tapanui flu.

Explanation of the Chart:

Although Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME) - (CFIDS) is the name given to this illness and Fatigue is the main symptom, in actual fact chronic fatigue syndrome consists of a very large range of secondary symptoms divided into two groups: Also there are some very clear guidelines for diagnosis to determine that you actually have Cfs and not some other form of illness

(Symptoms)     Explanation of the Chart:


Main Symptom:  



Group One  Symptoms:

Lymph node pain: (glands in the armpit neck and groin.)
Memory: (short term memory loss.)
Concentration: (inability to concentrate.)
Headaches :( of a new type, pattern or severity.)
Myalgic: (muscle pain.)
Malaise: (post-extertional malaise lasting more than 24 hours.)
Sleep: (disturbed and unrefreshing sleep.)
Moods: (mood swings, sometimes very rapid, the smallest thing annoying you never did before.)
Chills: (chills, feeling cold.)
Night Sweats: (sweating at night.)
Breathing: (shortness of breath, hyperventilation.)
Arthralgia: (joint pain.)

Group Two Symptoms:

Balance: (problems with balance.)
Chest: (chest pains.)
Hearing: (hearing problems such as hyperacusis-painful sensitivity to noise.)
Periods: (worsening of symptoms before a period.)
Eyes: (eye problems such as pain round the eyes, difficulty focusing, dry eyes and sensitivity to bright lights.)
Nausea: (feeling sick.)
Head: (feeling dizzy or light-headed.)
Abdominal and digestive problems.
Feeling (hot or cold) at odd times.


Some of these symptoms can be frightening and you may fear life threatening, discuss them with your doctor, but above all remember with this illness the greatest doctor is yourself, this is a serious illness, for some life long, for others in phrases, and for some full recovery, but this depends a lot on yourself, how you approach it, your attitude to it and of course very important

(A stress free as possible environment in which to live in.)

(Learn to pace your life and activities.)

Some people with CFS have symptoms that are always present but vary in intensity. Others alternate between episodes of illness and wellbeing, and recurrences may either be random or in cycles. All symptoms can worsen with excessive stress, mental or physical exertion. The degree to which CFS patients are disabled varies widely. Some patients continue to function at home and at work, although at a reduced level of activity, while others are severely disabled and can not perform many routine activities of daily living. CFS patients are among the invisibly disabled.



How Many people have CFS?
In New Zealand there is an estimated 20,000+ sufferers.

Who Gets CFS?
CFS strikes people of all ages, all ethnic and all socioeconomic groups.

Is there a diagnostic test in New Zealand available to my doctor?
Unfortunately not. Currently diagnosis is made by clinical presentation and by ruling out all other possible causes of fatigue. Routine blood tests typically return "normal".