​Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) is a multi-system neuro-immune condition that brings a perpetual feeling of extreme tiredness, to the extent that you are unable to complete your daily and normal routine tasks. This is unresolved by rest or sleep and worsens with physical activity or mental stress.

The cause of the syndrome remains unknown making its diagnosis difficult. However, its symptoms can be cured and controlled. 
As the name of the condition implies, the primary symptom remains the same as its name. The defining symptom is Post Exertional Malaise. There is serious malfunction in energy production in the mitochondria, therefore severe energy shortage. If patients do more than their allowed amount, they burn-out. Other symptoms include:

Extreme fatigue

Dizziness and disorientation

Frequent urination 

Irritable bowel syndrome

Constant or abrupt weight changes

Thinning concentration power

Problems with memory and remembering stuff

Swollen lymph nodes in your neck or armpits

Pain that moves from one joint to another without redness

Severe headache of a n​​ew pattern 

Muscle pain which cannot be explained

Exhaustion lasting more than 24 hours after physical or mental exercise

Sleep problems

Fatigue and feeling of tiredness is a common symptom attached to various diseases. If you feel, the feeling is prevailing and lasting for prolonged periods, consult our doctors at the Family Health Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital. You can also seek medical advice from Internal Medicine Service Line​ at the Aga Khan University Hospital. An indicator of when you should be visiting a doctor is when fatigue starts to obstruct your normal day routine and you specifically feel tired after a single activity which was never a problem before.​
Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Her​e are some tips to help get you started.​

Doctors have come up with a list of conditions which are specific to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, to specify the disease. Otherwise, the symptoms of CFS mimic those of other diseases. Our doctors at will rule our other disorders to diagnose CFS.

  • Sleep Disorders

A sleep test will be conducted to check if you sleep restlessly at night. The test will highlight sleep problems like sleep apne​a, restless leg syndrome or insomnia​. Sleep disorders are a key cause behind Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. 

  • Mental Health Issues

Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder​ and schizophrenia are mental disorders that can be accounted for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Our doctors will diagnose you for these before suggesting a treatment for CFS

  • Medical Problems

Fatigue is a normal indication of many medical conditions, such as, diabetes, anaemia​ and underactive thyroid  (hypothyroidism). Our doctors will conduct lab tests for blood which will check for evidence of some of top such disorders.

Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is usually symptomatic, meaning that the doctors focus on resolving the sympotoms.  Our doctors may treat you in two ways:​

  • Medications: prescribed medications may help you relieve your pain and will make it easier for you to cope up with CFS. It can also help you relieve sleep issues and pain, although it will be administered in low dosages. If exercise, reduction of caffeine and correct food intake will not help you modify your sleep patterns and make it better, our doctors will prescribe medicines.

  • Therapy: Our therapists will guide you with the best possible exercises to cope up with this condition. They may start with simple stretches or less strenuous exercises to bring you into motion. The intensity will increase with time, when you’ve built your stamina. ​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.​
Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.