Chronic fatigue


Roundup: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome More Common Than Thought; ‘Behavioral Intervention’ Urged for Obese Kids, Teens; and More News.

CDC: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome May Affect at Least 3.3 Million U.S. Adults

In a new report, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that myalgic encephalomyelitis – better known as chronic fatigue syndrome – may be more common than previously thought. And for the first time, the CDC estimates the number of adults suffering from ME/CFS: 1.3 percent of U.S. adults, or about 3.35 million individuals based on the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau figures. However, that figure is likely much higher because the condition is commonly undiagnosed.

During 2021-2022, the CDC said the percentage of adults who had ME/CFS increased with age through ages 60–69, and then declined among those age 70 and older. Women (1.7 percent) were more likely than men (0.9 percent) to have ME/CFS. The CDC based its findings on a survey of 57,000 U.S. adults in 2021 and 2022. Participants were asked if they’ve ever been “told by a doctor or other health professional” that they had chronic fatigue syndrome, and whether they still have the condition.

“Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a complex, multisystem illness characterized by activity-limiting fatigue, worsening of symptoms after activity, and other symptoms,” the CDC states. “It affects all age, sex, and racial and ethnic groups.”

The CDC emphasizes that ME/CFS is widely underdiagnosed. So, the actual number of U.S. adults with the condition is likely much higher.

“As the prevalence estimates in this report are based on a doctor’s diagnosis, adults who are undiagnosed are not included in this analysis,” the CDC states. “True prevalence estimates may be higher, as previous studies suggest that many people with ME/CFS are undiagnosed.”

Other findings from the CDC’s report:

  • White non-Hispanic (1.5 percent) adults were more likely to have ME/CFS compared with Asian non-Hispanic (0.7 percent) and Hispanic (0.8 percent) adults.
  • Adults with a family income less than 100 percent of the federal poverty level (2.0 percent) were more likely to have ME/CFS, followed by those at 100–199 percent (1.7 percent), and those at or above 200 percent (1.1 percent).
  • The percentage of adults who had ME/CFS increased with increasing rurality of their place of residence.

New Guidelines Urge ‘Comprehensive Behavioral Interventions’ for Obese Children, Teens

Nearly 20 percent of children and teens in the United States have a high BMI (body mass index) that qualifies them as being obese. This week, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued first-draft guidelines urging doctors to take extensive steps to help these children better manage their weight to avoid potentially serious health issues as they get older.

The Task Force recommends that "clinicians provide or refer children and teens with a high BMI to intensive, comprehensive behavioral interventions."  The recommendation applies to children and adolescents age 6 years and older with a high BMI. A child’s BMI is calculated based on height and weight and is plotted on a growth chart.

Obesity is defined as a BMI at or above the 95th percentile for age and sex on the growth chart, states the Task Force. The USPSTF is a widely followed, independent panel of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine.

Childhood obesity is a “serious health problem” in the U.S., where 1 in 5 children and adolescents are affected, states the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“There are a variety of effective, evidence-based interventions that can help children and teens maintain a healthy weight,” said Task Force member John M. Ruiz, Ph.D., in a statement. “Healthcare professionals should work with children and their families to find the intervention that is the best fit.”

Comprehensive, intensive behavioral interventions may include “education about healthy eating habits, counseling on behavioral change techniques, such as goal setting and problem solving, and supervised exercise sessions,” the Task Force states.

The Task Force also reviewed evidence on weight loss medications, but found that ”more research is needed to fully understand the long-term health outcomes for medications.”

There is a Prevalence of Couples who Share High Blood Pressure, Researchers Find

If your spouse or partner has high blood pressure, there’s a high likelihood that you do too, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Heart Association.

The new study is the first multi-nation look at heterosexual partners who mirror their high blood pressure. Researchers investigated couples in the U.S., England, China and India. Previous studies have reviewed the union of high blood pressure and other diseases among couples in a single-country setting or used small regional samples.

The researchers analyzed blood pressure readings for 3,989 U.S. couples, 1,086 English couples, 6,514 Chinese couples and 22,389 Indian couples. They found that prevalence of both spouses or partners having high blood pressure was about 47 percent in England; 38 percent in the U.S.; 21 percent in China and 20 percent in India.

“Many people know that high blood pressure is common in middle-aged and older adults, yet we were surprised to find that among many older couples, both husband and wife had high blood pressure in the U.S., England, China and India,” said senior author Chihua Li, Dr. P.H., a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Michigan and the study’s corresponding author, in a statement. “For instance, in the U.S., among more than 35 percent of couples who were ages 50 or older, both had high blood pressure.”

Researchers also found that wives whose husbands had high blood pressure were 9 percent more likely to have high blood pressure in the U.S. and England, compared to wives married to husbands without high blood pressure. In India, they were 19 percent more likely to have high blood pressure. And in China they were 26 percent more likely.

“Ours is the first study examining the union of high blood pressure within couples from both high- and middle-income countries,” said study co-lead author Jithin Sam Varghese, Ph.D., an assistant research professor at the Emory Global Diabetes Research Center at Emory University in Atlanta, in a statement. “We wanted to find out if many married couples who often have the same interests, living environment, lifestyle habits and health outcomes may also share high blood pressure.”

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