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Insight: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Season 1  |  Episode 34  |  SBS  |  October 16, 2018

Jenny Brockie takes a look at chronic fatigue syndrome, what symptoms it has, and how people with the condition have managed it.
At 20 years old, Adele Clydesdale had just climbed Mount Kilimanjaro; she was starting her second year of university and playing in the Victorian Netball League.
So when she got glandular fever, she didn’t think much of it. She knew plenty of people who’d had it in high school and they always recovered quickly.
But even when tests results revealed the glandular fever was out of her system, Adele was still unwell and her symptoms were getting worse. She was increasingly fatigued, couldn’t string sentences together and had extreme body pain.
At six months, it was confirmed Adele had chronic fatigue syndrome, a diagnosis she found quite confronting.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is estimated to affect between 0.2-2 per cent of the population in Australia yet very little is known about this condition.
Otherwise known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or ME, it is an illness characterised by profound fatigue, not relieved by sleep or rest and worsened with activity.
Patients will commonly experience muscle and joint pain, impaired memory and concentration and gastrointestinal disorders. However, the most defining indicator of CFS is Post Exertional Malaise (PEM) - when a certain level of cognitive or physical exertion will exacerbate a patient’s symptoms.
There are currently no proven treatments for CFS which means many are left without answers. Ketra Wooding has been unwell for eight years and with such severe symptoms, she has been living in a nursing home for five of those years.

Jenny Brockie takes a look at chronic fatigue syndrome, what symptoms it has, and how people with the condition have managed it.
At 20 years old, Adele Clydesdale had just climbed Mount Kilimanjaro; she was starting her second year of university and playing in the Victorian Netball League.
So when she got glandular fever, she didn’t think much of it. She knew plenty of people who’d had it in high school and they always recovered quickly.
But even when tests results revealed the glandular fever was out of her system, Adele was still unwell and her symptoms were getting worse. She was increasingly fatigued, couldn’t string sentences together and had extreme body pain.
At six months, it was confirmed Adele had chronic fatigue syndrome, a diagnosis she found quite confronting.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is estimated to affect between 0.2-2 per cent of the population in Australia yet very little is known about this condition.
Otherwise known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or ME, it is an illness characterised by profound fatigue, not relieved by sleep or rest and worsened with activity.
Patients will commonly experience muscle and joint pain, impaired memory and concentration and gastrointestinal disorders. However, the most defining indicator of CFS is Post Exertional Malaise (PEM) - when a certain level of cognitive or physical exertion will exacerbate a patient’s symptoms.
There are currently no proven treatments for CFS which means many are left without answers. Ketra Wooding has been unwell for eight years and with such severe symptoms, she has been living in a nursing home for five of those years.

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