A Year in Review series article from Medpage Today provides an update on the 2015 recommendation for more funding for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Lily Chu, MD, an ME/CFS researcher, explained the difference between general fatigue and what patients experience. A person who runs a marathon may have general fatigue, but it isn’t an all-over body pain, their lymph nodes aren’t swollen, and they don’t have difficulty sleeping or problems concentrating.
“Those aren’t things you normally see with healthy people after exertion,” said Chu, a community advisory board member at the ME/CFS Initiative at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif. A third to a quarter of patients are bedbound or homebound because of their ME/CFS, she added.
Yet 85% of healthcare providers believe ME/CFS is fully or partly a psychiatric condition, according to a 2011 study by Elizabeth Unger, MD, PhD, and colleagues from the CDC in Atlanta.
Lucinda Bateman, MD, founder of the Fatigue Consultation Clinic in Salt Lake City told MedPage Today,”The reason doctors stigmatize the patients is because they don’t understand the illness.”
A condition as complex as ME/CFS requires observation time and strong communication; patients with cognitive symptoms have difficulty communicating, and doctors have less and less time, so the disease became “an annoyance,” she said.