Ethnic minorities are 'silent sufferers' of chronic fatigue syndrome

Mar 21, 2011

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is characterized by unexplained and debilitating tiredness and is associated with headaches, disrupted sleep, muscle pain and difficulty in concentrating. New research published by BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Medicine shows that ethnicity, depression, lack of exercise or social support, and social difficulties are major risk factors for CFS.

A multi-institute study funded by the Medical Research Council (UK), involving researchers across London and Manchester, looked at data from over 4000 adults living in England. The result of this study showed that, on average, there is a 2.3% risk of suffering from CFS and that risk increases with age by 2% per year from the age of 35. When the researchers compared the occurrence of CFS with medical factors and exercise they found that, while both depression and anxiety were associated with a much higher risk of CFS, halved the risk.

Social status and adversity were also major risk factors along with cultural and . The incidence of CFS was highest amongst people who had the most difficulties with housing, finances, or had family problems, but this was balanced by levels of support within the community. Perceived cultural discrimination and insults in the workplace, or in society, along with racial and religious discrimination, were also much higher for CFS sufferers. Overall people with Pakistani, Indian or Black Caribbean backgrounds had a greater risk of CFS than the white population.

Professor Bhui from Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary, University of London said, "Earlier studies, based on attendance at clinics, indicated that CFS is a disease of white, middle class people. Our results show that CFS is more common amongst the physically inactive, those with and with poor social support, and ethnic minorities, especially in the Pakistani group studied, and that they are silently suffering."

Explore further: Obama to announce major Ebola effort

More information: Chronic fatigue syndrome in an ethnically diverse population: the influence of psychosocial adversity & physical inactivity, Kamaldeep S Bhui, Sokratis Dinos, Deborah Ashby, James Nazroo, Simon Wessely, and Peter D White,
BMC Medicine (in press)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Further doubt cast on virus link to chronic fatigue

Feb 16, 2010

Researchers investigating UK samples have found no association between the controversial xenotropic murine leukaemia virus-related virus (XMRV) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Their study, published in BioMed Central's ...

Recommended for you

Obama to announce major Ebola effort

58 minutes ago

US President Barack Obama will Tuesday seek to "turn the tide" in the Ebola epidemic by ordering 3,000 US military personnel to West Africa and launching a major health care training and hygiene program.

Sierra Leone: WHO too slow to help doc with Ebola

10 hours ago

Sierra Leone accused the World Health Organization on Monday of being "sluggish" in facilitating an evacuation of a doctor who died from Ebola before she could be sent out of the country for medical care.

Dutch doctors feared to have Ebola leave hospital

10 hours ago

Two Dutch doctors flown home from west Africa after fears they might have been contaminated with the killer Ebola virus have left hospital "in good health," their employer, the Lion Heart Medical Centre, said Monday.

Strategic self-sabotage? MRSA inhibits its own growth

15 hours ago

Scientists at the University of Western Ontario have uncovered a bacterial mystery. Against all logic, the most predominant strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in North American produces an enzyme ...

User comments : 0