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Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2019 Feb 11;21(2):5. doi: 10.1007/s11926-019-0804-2.

The Invisible Burden of Chronic Fatigue in the Community: a Narrative Review.

Author information

1
Department of Human Behaviour, School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Level 1 30 Botany Street, UNSW, Sydney, NSW, 2052, Australia. s.fatt@unsw.edu.au.
2
Department of Human Behaviour, School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Level 1 30 Botany Street, UNSW, Sydney, NSW, 2052, Australia.
3
School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, 2006, Australia.
4
Viral Immunology Systems Program, The Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, 2052, Australia.
5
Department of Human Behaviour, School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Level 1 30 Botany Street, UNSW, Sydney, NSW, 2052, Australia. j.beilharz@unsw.edu.au.

Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW:

Unexplained fatigue is commonly reported in the general population, with varying severity. Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) sits at the extreme of the fatigue continuum, yet more individuals experience unexplained prolonged fatigue (1-6-month duration) or chronic fatigue (> 6 months) that, although debilitating, does not fulfil ME/CFS criteria. This review examines the empirical literature comparing symptoms for those with prolonged fatigue, chronic fatigue and ME/CFS.

RECENT FINDINGS:

Substantial overlap of self-reported psychological, physical and functional impairments exists between chronic fatigue and ME/CFS. The conversion rate from prolonged or chronic fatigue to ME/CFS is not understood. Current research has failed to uncover factors accounting for differences in fatigue trajectories, nor incorporate comprehensive, longitudinal assessments extending beyond self-reported symptoms. Distinguishing factors between prolonged fatigue, chronic fatigue and ME/CFS remain poorly understood, highlighting a need for longitudinal studies integrating biopsychosocial approaches to inform early management and targeted rehabilitation strategies.

KEYWORDS:

Autonomic; Chronic fatigue syndrome; Fatigue; Function; Myalgic encephalomyelitis

PMID:
30741357
DOI:
10.1007/s11926-019-0804-2

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