Exercise Can Worsen Chronic Fatigue
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revised its patient guidelines for myalgic encephalomyelitis, often called chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and is changing its guidelines for physicians as well. Chronic fatigue syndrome is a serious long-term illness, and standard forms of exercise can make the condition much worse unless doctors and patients are very careful.
CFS is characterized by long-term, incapacitating fatigue, joint pain, and cognitive problems. It is believed to affect more than 1 million people in the United States. Recent actions by the CDC and anticipated actions by the UK’s National Health Services represent a significant shift in the years-long controversy over diagnosis and management of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Doctors now know that ME/CFS, which makes patients incredibly sensitive to exertion, is not a psychological disorder, as some previously thought, and that exercise worsens symptoms in many people with the disease. New guidelines emphasize doctor supervision when it comes to exercise programs, and programs individually tailored to each patient.