Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

A lot of us feel tired in the morning, but chronic fatigue syndrome is more than just feeling tired. People with the condition can feel very sick. "It feels like you have the worst flu you've ever had in your life, almost daily." says Eileen Holderman. She's been dealing with chronic fatigue for more than eight years.

Until now, doctors have had to rely on patients' symptoms. They can only diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome if a patient has had four of the following symptoms for at least six months: fatigue, sore throat, tender lymph nodes, sore muscles, joint aches, headaches, problems with concentration or short term memory, or discomfort after exertion.

A lot of doctors chalk these symptoms up to depression. Immunologist Dr. Susan Levine says "The internist typically says, I did all your blood tests and everything looks fine here and we can't figure out what's wrong with you. You must be depressed, go out and get a job, are you and your husband planning baby, etc...."

But a report in the Smithsonian Magazine says the CDC has found a new gene that is linked to chronic fatigue syndrome. A simple blood test may be available in the next few years.Larry Katzenstein wrote the Smithsonian article. "The hope is by using this test if a person is suspected of having this illness this is like a quick way of telling if indeed they do or not."

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