Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a debilitating illness that affects adults and children alike. The illness is also known as chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS) or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). The National Institutes of Health has selected three research facilities to study the illness. A network of support group organizations exists nationwide to help patients and their families. At present, there is no known cause of the illness. Some treatment strategies are available to alleviate symptoms.
Chronic fatigue is only one symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome, just as chronic thirst can be one symptom of untreated diabetes. However, CFS differs from the more typical feeling of fatigue; it is a debilitating disorder that interferes with a persons ability to participate in the activity of daily life, sometimes for long periods of time. Even the simplest task can become a hurdle to overcome, and expending a small amount of energy can put a person right back in bed.