Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - An often undetected and misdiagnosed condition

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - An often undetected and misdiagnosed condition

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17 million people worldwide suffer from the incurable disease “chronic fatigue syndrome” (myalgic encephalomyelitis), including up to 240,000 in Germany. Chronic fatigue as a symptom of many diseases is not the same as this independent syndrome.


In contrast to the perception of outsiders, fatigue has nothing to do with exhaustion. Those affected are not tired, but their bodies can hardly generate any energy. It has nothing to do with fatigue.

Myalgic encephalomyelitis

The correct diagnosis often only comes after years: myalgic encephalomyelitits (ME).

What are the symptoms?

The patients are extremely exhausted - all the time. They suffer from increased sensitivity to light and have difficulty concentrating. Fatigue, irritability and perceptual disorders are not the main symptoms, in contrast to other diseases that are associated with exhaustion. Likewise, sufferers do not suffer from mental disorders, which can include fatigue - for example, depression.

Pain and cramps

Many patients suffer from severe pain in the head, muscles and joints. There are also twitches and cramps in the muscles, sleep disorders and neurocognitive symptoms. The sensitivity to light is sometimes so great that those affected have to stay in darkened rooms.

The German society for ME / CFS warns on its homepage: "In specialist circles and institutions, ME / CFS is often misunderstood as psychologically conditioned and viewed in the context of outdated research results." It sometimes takes years for those affected to get a reliable diagnosis. Only a few doctors in Germany are sufficiently informed about the clinical picture, and those affected have extreme difficulties in getting adequate medical care. ”

Regulated everyday life not possible

Aalborg University found in 2015 that the quality of life of those affected is often even lower than that of lung cancer patients or people who have had a stroke. Up to a quarter of those affected could not leave the house, many depend on care and around 60% are unable to work.
(Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

Video: Beyond the Data Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Advancing Research and Clinical Education (May 2022).