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Chronic fatigue syndrome

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    Science & Technology
  • Published
    13th Aug, 2022


A woman from Bengaluru has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court to stop her Noida-based friend, who has been suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome since 2014, from travelling to Europe to undergo a physician-assisted euthanasia.

About the disease

  • Also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, is a serious and debilitating disease that affects the nervous system, the immune system and the body’s production of energy, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Experts have suggested that the term can trivialize the severity of the illness. In a 2015 report, the US Institute of Medicine proposed the term systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID).
  • Its causes are still unknown. However, the potential triggers would include viral or bacterial infection, hormonal imbalances and genetic predispositions. 
    • There is no specific test for the disease, and doctors have to rely on medical examinations, blood and urine tests.
  • ME/CFS can affect anyone, from children to adults of all ages. 
    • According to the CDC, it’s more common in women and people between 40 and 60 years old.


  • The biggest telltale symptom is a significantly lowered ability to do activities that were performed before the illness. 
  • This is accompanied by at least 6 months (or longer) of debilitating fatigue that is more severe than everyday feelings of tiredness. 
  • This fatigue is not relieved by sleep or rest and exercising usually makes the symptoms worse, according to the UK’s National Health Services (NHS).
  • Other symptoms include trouble sleeping, difficulty in thinking, memory retention and concentration, dizziness/lightheadedness, headaches, muscle pain, joint ache, flu-like symptoms, tender lymph nodes and digestive issues.
  • According to the New York state health department, the most recognizable symptom is post-exertional malaise (PEM). 
    • Patients often describe it as a “crash” in physical/mental energy following even minor activities like grocery shopping or brushing teeth.


  • As of yet, there is no specific cure or approved treatment. Instead, doctors recommend ways to deal with the symptoms of the disease.
  • To manage PEM, patients are recommended ‘pacing,’in which patients learn to balance rest and activity to prevent crashes caused by exertion.
  • The CDC earlier recommended cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and graded exercise therapy (GET), which uses physical activity as a treatment for ME/CFS.
  • After concerns over their effectiveness and possibility of harm, the CDC stopped recommending these treatments.

Verifying, please be patient.