Chronic Fatigue

Also known as: chronic fatigue syndrome, CFS, myalgic encephalomyelitis, MFS, ME.

What is chronic fatigue?

No one is exactly sure what causes chronic fatigue. In some cases it may be associated with other illnesses like:

  • Infectious mononucleosis

  • Anemia

  • Low thyroid activity

  • Mood disorders

  • Depression

  • Sleep problems


What are the symptoms of chronic fatigue?

Symptoms may appear similar to many other illnesses, are frequently unpredictable and may come and go. Most children/adolescents won't be able to undertake the level of activity normally performed by them; may feel more fatigued after any mental (plus problems with thinking and memory/ stress/anxiety/depression) or physical activity, have worsening symptoms when standing upright, and have difficulty falling and/or staying asleep.

The disease may also be accompanied by muscle and joint, chest and abdominal pain/discomfort,  new or worsening headaches, medical problems like dizziness and lightheadedness,  sore throat, sleep problems and tender lymph nodes (plus other immune manifestations) and other problems (low blood pressure, heart rhythm changes, changes in body temperature).

What are chronic fatigue care options? 

There is no cure for chronic fatigue syndrome. Children/adolescents may be helped to manage some of the symptoms of chronic fatigue, such as pain and sleeping problems, through medications or family and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Other forms of graded therapy can also help affected individuals cope with the condition

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 10/11/2017 10:21:11 AM

Andrew was born with chronic lung disease and has had to live his entire life connected to a ventilator that helps him breathe. He’s been receiving treatment at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital since he was three months old, and along the way he and his family were told about VACC Camp, a week-long camp free of charge for patients like him.

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