Chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS, is a debilitating disorder characterized by profound tiredness or fatigue. Patients with CFS may become exhausted with only light physical exertion. They often must function at a level of activity substantially lower than their capacity prior to the onset of illness. In addition to these key defining characteristics, patients generally report various nonspecific symptoms, including weakness, muscle aches and pains, excessive sleep, malaise, fever, sore throat, tender lymph nodes, impaired memory and/or mental concentration, insomnia, and depression. CFS can persist for years.
FMS (fibromyalgia syndrome) is considered to be a widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorder for which the cause is still unknown. The term fibromyalgia means pain in the muscles, ligament and tendons - in other words, the fibrous tissues in the body. FMS used to be called the fibrositis syndrome, implying that there was inflammation in the muscles, but that has not been born out by research.
Most patients with FMS say that they ache all over. Their muscles may feel like they have been pulled or overworked. Sometimes the muscles twitch and at other times they burn. More women than men are afflicted with FMS, but it shows up in people of all ages.
While CFS and FMS share many symptoms, it is believed that these two syndromes are two entirely different illnesses.
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