How much do you know about… Chronic fatigue syndrome
Vol.17, No.06, July 2009

1. According to Statistics Canada’s most recent survey (2007), the number of Canadians with a diagnosis of CFS is:

  • a) 14,000
  • b) 37,000
  • c) 77,000
  • d) 170,000
  • e) 340,000
  • f) 710,000

2. Low serum cortisol is a sign of:

  • a) depression, not CFS
  • b) CFS, not depression
  • c) both depression and CFS
  • d) it rules out both depression and CFS, indicating another problem

3. Which of the following is not a common physical sign of CFS?

  • a) white nail beds
  • b) swollen adrenal glands
  • c) tender lymph nodes
  • d) non-exudative pharyngitis
  • e) postural hypotension

4. Patients suffering from CFS often have flu-like symptoms, general malaise, and slightly elevated temperature.

  • a) true
  • b) false

5. Which of these demographics has the greatest prevalence of CFS (according to the Canadian Community Health Survey 2003)?

  • a) women aged 20-29
  • b) men aged 30-44
  • c) women aged 30-44
  • d) men aged 45-64
  • e) women aged 45-64
  • f) men aged 65+
  • g) women aged 65+
  •  

ANSWER

1. According to Statistics Canada's most recent survey (2007), the number of Canadians with a diagnosis of CFS is:

e) 340,000

2. Low serum cortisol is a sign of:

b) CFS, not depression. The "stress hormone" is typically found at high levels in depression, but can be unusually low in CFS.

3. Which of the following is not a common physical sign of CFS?

b) swollen adrenal glands. In CFS, the adrenal glands are actually often smaller than usual.

4. Patients suffering from CFS often have flu-like symptoms, general malaise, and slightly elevated temperature.

b) false. While CFS patients often experience the malaise and muscle aches associated with flu, their body temperature is more likely to be abnormally low than to be high.

5. Which of these demographics has the greatest prevalence of CFS (according to the Canadian Community Health Survey 2003)?

e) women aged 45-64. Prevalence in this group is about 3.3%, compared to 2.1% for women overall, and 0.8% for men.

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