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Among common and often misdiagnosed conditions, Chronic Fatigue is one of the most complicated, potentially disabling disorders.

Chronic fatigue (CFS) is characterized by extreme fatigue that does not improve with rest.  Fatigue may worsen with activity.  The cause of most cases is unknown, although viral and psychological stress factors are considered.

Chronic Fatigue is difficult to diagnose because symptoms are varied, inconsistent and can be difficult to measure. Because of this, CFS isn’t an easy condition to verify for insurance or disability purposes. Doctors and researchers support CFS as a serious and disabling condition. In the case of disability insurance, however, the final determination is often subject to the insurer’s IME or criteria. If you have been denied benefits for chronic fatigue or any other disabling condition, contact us for assistance.

Because the underlying cause of CFS is often elusive, diagnosis and treatment are difficult. Doctors most often treat the symptoms with a goal of improving quality of life, but this may not cure the cause. Some people do recover from chronic fatigue syndrome over time, with others it is often a life-long condition.


Difficulty in diagnosing Chronic Fatigue is often rooted in the fact that patients may experience a variety of changing signs and symptoms which recur intermittently and with no identifiable pattern.

Eight Official Symptoms

Chronic fatigue syndrome has eight official symptoms in addition to chronic fatigue (prolonged and severe tiredness, weariness, inability to awake fully) These eight symptoms often result in the inability to work and perform duties:

  • Fatigue
  • Memory Loss/Extreme Difficulty Concentrating
  • Throat soreness, tenderness, aggravation
  • Enlarged, painful lymph nodes under armpits or through the neck
  • Muscle Pain (not caused by activity, stress, or exertion)
  • Roving/Moving Pain in joints (without redness or swelling)
  • Unique/New Headaches (severity, type or pain)
  • Lack of refreshment from sleep – Physical or Mental exhaustion that ceases to improve more than 24 hours after activity

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome may also cause:

  • Chronic cough
  • Bloating
  • Chest pain
  • Allergies
  • Stomach/Abdominal pain
  • Earache
  • Dizziness, fainting, off-balance
  • Jaw pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Dry mouth
  • Stiffness on waking
  • Nausea
  • Sweats (night sweats, chills)
  • Depression, irritability, anxiety disorders and panic attacks
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tingling in hands, feet, other areas of the body
  • Blurred vision, sensitivity to light, eye pain, dry eyes
  • Unexplained and/or extreme variations in weight


Chronic Fatigue continues to be a mysterious condition, even with a high amount of incident and diagnosis. Some factors which may contribute to CFS disability are:

  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Depression
  • Allergies
  • Infections (viral)
  • Immune System conditions
  • Hormone level issues:  hypothalamus, pituitary glands or adrenal glands
  • Chronic hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Inflammation of certain nervous-system pathways (auto-immune)
  • Medication side-effects

Chronic Fatigue Diagnosis

Disability is based on a diagnosis of disability by at least 50% decrease in ability to perform ordinary activities. Some of the effects of CFS include:

  • Effects associated with lack of activity
  • Depression (increasing with lack of diagnosis and treatment)
  • Side effects and adverse reactions related to medication treatments
  • Social isolation
  • Lifestyle restrictions
  • Inability to work or perform daily duties
  • Emotional, financial and social damage and loss
  • Medical alienation – doctors unable to diagnose this condition often fail to assist patients in managing lifestyle changes
  • Loss of income and denial of insurance benefits

If you have been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and denied disability benefits, contact us through our on-line form, by email or phone for assistance.