| Tue, Feb 09, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: It’s Not All in Your Head

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

chronic fatigue syndromeChronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), it could be said, has been the Rodney Dangerfield of diseases. It’s gotten no respect from some in the medical community.

Those days could be over.

People who suffer with CFS – who may have been told “it’s all in your head” – can now point to a 2015 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report that declares the disease “real.” The report goes on to describe it as a “serious, complex, multisystem disease.”

The jury is still out on the exact cause of CFS (also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, or ME), but the IOM report lays out what forms a diagnosis:

  • A sharp drop in the ability to do activities at previous levels that developed recently and:
    • Lasts more than six months
    • Includes deep fatigue
    • Does not improve with rest
  • A worsening of symptoms after any type of exertion
  • Unrefreshing sleep
  • The presence of one or both of the following:
    • Difficulty with thinking (cognitive impairment)
    • Symptoms, such as dizziness, that occur when standing upright that are relieved by lying back down (orthostatic intolerance)

The IOM report is a step toward raising awareness and understanding about CFS. The next step is getting the information and recommendations into the hands of health care providers. In addition, the report calls for more research to study what causes CFS, how the disease develops and how to treat it.

One thing is certain, people who suffer with CFS or who think they may have it can begin to shed any concerns they may have that their symptoms are psychological or not real. If you’re one of these people, be sure to discuss the IOM report with your doctor at your next Medicare Wellness Visit.

It may not be “all in your head.” It’s important to be open with your doctor about any symptoms or questions you may have, without fear of being criticized or dismissed.

You deserve that respect.

For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.

Resources:

Beyond Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Read the IOM report.

Medicare.gov: Visit the official U.S. government site for Medicare.

 

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