This commentary presents a simplified way of making the diagnosis of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) using the 1994 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention case definition. The format used can easily be modified for other case definitions. The commentary then discusses whether ME/CFS is the same or a different illness from fibromyalgia. Because overlap exists between the 2 syndromes, some investigators have posited that they are variants of the same illness. I have viewed this as an empirically testable hypothesis and have summoned considerable amounts of data that suggest that the 2 illnesses differ. Were differences to exist, that would suggest different pathophysiologic processes for each, leading to different treatments.
Keywords: fatigue; overlap; pain; unexplained illness.
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