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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Hits Teens, Too
Date:4/23/2011

ate awareness among [general practitioners] and support the idea that adolescents with severe fatigue should be referred to a pediatrician," Nijhof said. "Chronic fatigue is much less common [in teens], but with serious consequences."

The survey revealed that 90 percent of teens with the condition had considerable school absences, defined as missing school at least 15 percent of the time.

Dr. Nancy Klimas, director of the Chronic Fatigue Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, who treats teens with the condition, said that the study findings ring true.

Parents should be aware, first of all, that the condition can strike teens, she said. "Very frequently it happens after a mononucleosis infection," she said, adding that teens very often return to school and to activities too soon, and that can be linked to triggering chronic fatigue.

Among symptoms of the condition, Klimas said, are pain in muscles and joints, a sore throat and swollen lymph nodes. A teen might wake up still exhausted after a night's sleep. The teen might also have memory or concentration problems, as well as headaches.

And if a teen athlete with the condition returns to sports too quickly, he or she might feel lousy the next day -- something that Klimas called "exercise-induced relapse." That's also a signal to see a pediatrician, she said.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics has more about chronic fatigue syndrome.

SOURCES: Nancy Klimas, M.D., professor, medicine, and director, Chronic Fatigue Center, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami; S.L. Nijhof, M.D., Wilhelmina Children's Hospital, University Medical Center, Utrecht, Netherlands; April 18, 2011, Pediatrics, online


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