Pure Unexplained Exhaustion Has A New Name


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The illness that has been called “chronic fatigue syndrome” (CFS) is being renamed by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). To be more fully descriptive the Institiute has suggested the disease now be called “systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID),” There are four characteristics of the disease:

  1. a substantial reduction or impairment in the ability to engage in pre-illness levels of occupational, educational, social, or personal activities that persists for more than 6 months and is accompanied by fatigue, which is often profound, is of new or definite onset (not lifelong), is not the result of ongoing excessive exertion, and is not substantially alleviated by rest;
  2. postexertional malaise (often described by patients as a “crash” or “collapse” after even minor physical or mental exertion);
  3. unrefreshing sleep; and
  4. cognitive impairment and/or orthostatic intolerance.

It was emphasized that this illness should not be considered a figment of  patients’ imagination. This is a real disease, with real physical manifestations that need to be identified and cared for. The cause of this disorder is still unknown.

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