Wednesday, 11 February 2015

New Name, New Criteria for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?


U.S.-appointed panel says illness is 'legitimate,' should be called Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Dennis Thompson

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Feb. 10, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Chronic fatigue syndrome, a debilitating illness affecting up to 2.5 million Americans, may soon get a new name and set of diagnostic criteria.

In a report released Tuesday, an independent panel of experts convened by the U.S. government called the illness a "legitimate" disease that features five main symptoms and should be taken seriously by physicians.

In fact, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee behind the report is urging that chronic fatigue syndrome be renamed "Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease," to better reflect the seriousness of its effect on patients.

The new report could prove a watershed moment following years of struggle for people with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), who often have had to fight to convince doctors that something was truly wrong with them, said Suzanne Vernon, scientific director of the Solve ME/CFS Initiative.

"I believe we are at a tipping point for people suffering from ME/CFS, where we are going to be able to get people diagnosed, and with that diagnosis comes the ability for us to really lay the groundwork for much more effective treatment for ME/CFS," Vernon said.

"In its most severe form, this disease can consume the lives of those whom it afflicts," the IOM panel said in a news release. "It is 'real.' It is not appropriate to dismiss these patients by saying, 'I am chronically fatigued, too.' "

Chronic fatigue syndrome is also extremely difficult to diagnose. There are no tests for it, and other illnesses can cause similar symptoms, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Diagnosis often is a process of elimination, with a person's doctor ruling out a number of other possible illnesses before suspecting CFS.

Until now, doctors have had to rely on a case definition of chronic fatigue syndrome created in 1994 that was intended mainly to help researchers get a better handle on what at the time had not been conclusively determined to be an actual illness, Vernon said.

source : New Name, New Criteria for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

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