Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (cont.)
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.
In this Article
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) facts
- What is chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)?
- What causes chronic fatigue syndrome?
- What are risk factors for chronic fatigue syndrome?
- What are the symptoms and signs of chronic fatigue syndrome?
- What are chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms in men?
- What are chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms in women?
- How is chronic fatigue syndrome diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome?
- Is there a cure for chronic fatigue syndrome?
- What is the prognosis (outcome) for chronic fatigue syndrome?
- Can chronic fatigue syndrome be prevented?
- Where can people find additional information about chronic fatigue syndrome?
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome FAQs
- Find a local Rheumatologist in your town
What causes chronic fatigue syndrome?
As of January 2013, no defined cause of CFS is known, even after about two decades of research on patients that fit the CFS criteria. Although many diseases coexist with CFS in patients, there are no proven links to any known disease (physical or mental) or pathogen (including viral) that is responsible for CFS development.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that researchers are still trying to identify the cause(s) of CFS and offer some speculation about the ongoing research. For example, they suggest the possibility that CFS represents an endpoint of multiple diseases or conditions such as viral infections, stress, and toxin exposure. However, the CDC states that "CFS is not caused exclusively by any single recognized infectious disease agent." This includes Epstein-Barr virus, Lyme disease bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi), human retroviruses, bornaviruses, fungi, Mycoplasma spp, and many others. However, if a person has been infected with several (at least three) different pathogens, the chances of getting CFS goes up. In addition, some researchers had suggested that a new virus found in some CFS patients (termed XMRV or xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus) may be a candidate for cause, but a recent larger study has disproven this theory. In addition, although the CDC says no autoimmune changes like lupus or other diseases are found in CFS, many CFS patients have high levels of immune complexes and anti-self antibodies in their blood that may be a clue about what causes CFS. The CDC mentions other findings (allergies, T cell activation, and cytokines), but none have any direct link to causing CFS.
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