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Risk Factors for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.

It is possible to develop chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing CFS. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.

Risk factors for developing CFS may include:

Sedentary Lifestyle

High levels of physical activity were associated with a lower risk of CFS.

Gulf War Veterans

Veterans who served in the gulf war have a higher risk of CFS than their counterparts who were not deployed.

Gender

CFS is diagnosed one and half times more often in women than in men. This may be due to biological, psychological, and/or social influences.

However, an increasingly diverse patient group seems to be emerging as more doctors recognize CFS as a real medical disorder.

Age

CFS is most common in people between the ages of 20 and 50. It can develop in people of all age groups, including teenagers and young children.

Personality Factors

Some research suggests that people who are highly driven and achievement-oriented may be more at risk for developing CFS. However, perhaps this personality type increases the risk only after exposure to new mental stress or viral infections.

Other Possible Factors

Early abuse, trauma, or family problems may be associated with the development of chronic fatigue later in life.

It has been suggested that exposure to certain viral infections may be responsible for the development of chronic fatigue syndrome. However, in carefully done research studies, this has not yet been conclusively proven to be true.

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References:

Causes of chronic fatigue syndrome. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated May 14, 2012. Accessed June 1, 2017.
Chronic fatigue syndrome: causes & risk factors. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated May 2017. Accessed June 1, 2017.
Chronic fatigue syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated February 10, 2017. Accessed May 31, 2017.
Devanur LD, Kerr JR. Chronic fatigue syndrome. J Clin Virol. 2006;37(3):139-150.
Prins JB, van der Meer JW, Bleijenberg G. Chronic fatigue syndrome. Lancet. 2006;367(9507):346-355.
Last reviewed May 2017 by James P. Cornell, MD
Last Updated: 12/20/2014

 

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