Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
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How is Chronic Fatigue Treated?

Wednesday, 23 Jun 2010 10:38 AM


Question: Can you tell me if you know of any recent findings regarding chronic fatigue syndrome? My doctor diagnosed me 10 years ago, and the diagnosis was confirmed three years ago at the Chronic Fatigue Clinic at Harborview Hospital at the University of Washington. For some history: I've been diagnosed over the past 10 years by my family doctor (after the usual lab tests — CBC, thyroid panel, rheumatoid panel, infectious processes, CSF analysis etc.). The diagnosis was confirmed three years ago.

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:
You say that your chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) was confirmed at the medical center, but there are no specific tests that identify this syndrome. The diagnosis is generally a clinical one of exclusion. Of the approximately 4 million people with reported CFS in the United States, this represents only the half that has been to a doctor for consultation.
It is estimated that upwards of 40 percent of CFS patients have a clearly defined treatable cause for their CFS complaints, and that when the cause is treated, the fatigue will disappear. Fatigue is associated with many disorders such as diabetes, heart disease, renal disease, thyroid and other endocrine disorders, chronic inflammation, infection, and malignancy to mention a few.
There have been numerous guesses as to the causes and triggers for CFS, including viral, but little proof. Above all, it is imperative that victims seek medical consultation so that any serious underlying disorders can be corrected.
CFS has served as a dumping ground for multiple medical and psychiatric disorders, all of which have failed to meet more specific diagnostic criteria. Much of the time, CFS either resolves spontaneously or an underlying condition is eventually identified.
I refer you to the CDC website for an excellent discussion of chronic fatigue syndrome.

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