What is CFIDS? (the “official” version)

October 18, 2013

What is CFIDS???

Chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS), also known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), is widely recognized in adults. But it’s not as well known that children and adolescents can get CFIDS.

Because young people are different from adults in nearly every dimension – physically, emotionally, socially, etc. – recognition of the disease in young people can be difficult. For example, rather than saying their child is “fatigued,” parents might say that the child is always sleepy, grumpy or can’t keep up with other children in school or at play.

The symptoms of children and adolescents with CFIDS are similar to those of adults: debilitating fatigue, substantial impairment of short-term memory and/or concentration, sore throat, tender lymph nodes, muscle pain, multi-joint pain, headaches, unrefreshing sleep and post-exertional fatigue.

CFIDS affects every aspect of a person’s life. Many young people with CFIDS must be home-schooled, because they are too ill to attend class every day. This can result in deficits not only in education, but also in social development at a very critical age. It’s important to remember that nearly everything a young person does will influence his or her life as an adult.

The first step in treating children with CFIDS is making the diagnosis. There is a great body of knowledge available about how children cope with chronic illness. Identifying a reason for their poor health will help them cope with it in an emotionally healthier way.

Your assistance is critical to solving the mystery of CFIDS. Medical research provides the best hope for the futures of CFIDS patients of all ages. The Solve ME/CFS Initiative is committed to accelerating and improving CFIDS research. Like all charities, the Association depends upon public contributions to keep its critical work going. Please do what you can to ensure that scientific advances are quick and effective, so the next generation of young people will not be burdened by this chronic, disabling disease.