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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
December 2001

Q. I am a 73-year-old female and have had CFS/Fibromyalgia/Chemical sensitivities for the past 23 years; severely at first, then moderately and finally well-controlled for about 10 years. Following a bout of severe antibiotic-induced colitis last year which lasted several months, my symptoms returned and persisted and a new one, very suggestive of TIA (still undiagnosed but under investigation) appeared along with them. Is there any known correlation between CFS and TIA or TIA-like symptoms (left facial numbness usually preceded by sharp pains in my head). There is very little help available locally for CFS.

A. Chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome (CFIDS), is estimated to be affecting nearly one million Americans. It is an area of much research, yet there is still very incomplete understanding of the cause of the condition, and as such, treatment can vary a lot from person to person. Use of medication is often aimed at relieving the specific symptoms that are contributing to the disability. The current definition of CFIDS is as follows:

1. Severe chronic fatigue of six months or longer duration with other known medical conditions excluded by clinical diagnosis, and

2. Concurrently have four or more of the following symptoms:

  • substantial impairment in short-term memory or concentration
  • sore throat
  • tender lymph nodes
  • muscle pain
  • multi-joint pain without swelling or redness
  • headaches of a new type, pattern or severity
  • unrefreshing sleep
  • post-exertional malaise lasting more than 24 hours.

I have not found published reports of TIA associated with chronic fatigue syndrome. It is wise to have this thoroughly evaluated as you are doing.

Several excellent WEBSITES can provide valuable information for you:

http://my.webmd.com/content/dmk/dmk_summary_account_1654

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/cfs/index.htm

http://www.co-cure.org/

http://www.cfids.org/

http://www.aacfs.org/

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