What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? Neglected condition shares symptoms with long COVID

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a neglected medical condition that affects approximately 1.5 million Americans. The COVID-19 pandemic has shed new light on the complicated disorder, as researchers found many post-COVID patients suffered from similar symptoms.

Some symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome include intense and constant fatigue, problems with memory or concentration, symptoms of illness, sore throat or headache after physical or social activities, inexplicable muscle and joint pain, and inability to get a good night’s sleep or rest after physical activity. or mental exercise. It can last at least six months, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Chronic fatigue syndrome extends beyond the psychological symptoms often associated with depression and is a severely debilitating chronic condition that manifests more physically. Several conditions and illnesses can have symptoms similar to chronic fatigue syndrome, making it difficult to diagnose.

“There’s this presumption that maybe it’s just depression or anxiety, or maybe it’s the pandemic or the state of the world, but people know when something’s up. that’s wrong with them,” said Jaime Seltzer, director of science and medical outreach at #MEAction. NPR.

There are many similarities between the symptoms of long COVID and chronic fatigue syndrome.

The disability community, including those with chronic fatigue syndrome before the pandemic, was “among the first to sound the alarm that this was going to be a mass disabling event. We were looking at the symptoms of a long COVID and saying there would be a shipload of people with CFS/ME [chronic fatigue syndrome]Robert Sklans of the #MEAction network told NorthJersey.com.

While the long-term effects of COVID remain largely unknown – the pandemic is only entering its third year – it is estimated that one in 10 infections may develop chronic fatigue syndrome. With nearly 78 million recorded cases in the United States, 7.8 million Americans could be dealing with chronic fatigue syndrome.

The number could even triple given the high volume of people in the United States who have had the virus and have long COVID symptoms, experts say.

There aren’t a wealth of resources at the federal and state level dedicated to addressing chronic fatigue syndrome. According to the National Institutes of Health, the estimated funding budget for chronic fatigue syndrome for 2022 is $16 million.

“People with complex chronic conditions have lived with this for decades. Researchers have been studying this for decades. We definitely need to use the path we’ve come over time and start basing our assumptions on what we’ve seen in these diseases with other labels,” Seltzer told NPR.

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