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Chronic fatigue syndrome – Generally unrecognized and misdiagnosed condition

Chronic fatigue syndrome (myalgic encephalomyelitis), an incurable disease, affects 17 million people worldwide, including up to 240,000 people in Germany. Chronic fatigue as a symptom of many diseases is not identical to this autonomic syndrome.


Unlike the perception of an outsider, tiredness has nothing to do with exhaustion. The sick are not tired, but their body can hardly produce more energy. It has nothing to do with murder.

Chronic fatigue has nothing to do with tiredness, but the body barely generates energy. (Image: pressmaster / fotolia.com)

Mialgic encephalomyelitis

Often, just after years, a true diagnosis: Mialgic encephalomyelitis (ME).

What are the symptoms?

Patients are extremely exhausted – all the time. They suffer from increased sensitivity to light and have problems with concentration. Fatigue, irritability and cognitive impairment are not among the leading symptoms, as opposed to other disorders related to fatigue. Just as small patients suffer from mental disorders, follow-up symptoms include fatigue-for example, depression.

Pain and cramps

Many patients suffer from severe pain in the head, muscles and joints. There are also jerks and cramps in the muscles, sleep disorders and neurocognitive symptoms. Sensitivity to light is sometimes so great that those who are affected must remain in dimmed spaces.

The German Society for ME / CFS warns on its homepage: "In professional circles and institutions, ME / CFS is often misunderstood as being psychologically conditioned and considered in the context of outdated research results." Sometimes it takes years before the affected people get a reliable diagnosis. Only a few doctors in Germany have been adequately informed about the condition, and those affected have extreme difficulties in obtaining adequate medical care. "

Regulated daily life is not possible

The University of Aalborg in 2015 found that the quality of life of those affected is often even lower than the quality of patients suffering from lung cancer or people who have had a stroke. For example, up to a quarter of those affected would not be able to leave their home, many should care, and about 60% would be disabled for work.
(Dr. Utz Anhalt)

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