Fatigue as a presenting complaint in family practice

J Fam Pract. 1980 May;10(5):795-801.


The medical records of 176 patients with an isolated diagnosis of fatigue (ICHPPC-7901) were reviewed. The study population represented the experience of four family physicians in private practice and of residents and staff of a university family medicine center in Denver, Colorado, over a 12-month period. Variables included for study were age, sex, family structure, diagnostic testing, duration of symptoms, and associated final diagnosis. Women outnumbered men in the study population two to one. Fatigue occurred most frequently in people ages 15 to 34 years. Single people, both men and women, were represented in the study population at a higher rate than family members. Single women tended to have physical diagnoses associated with their fatigue, while women who were members of family units tended to have psychological diagnoses associated. Fatigue lasting longer than four months was more frequently associated with psychological problems, while symptoms less than four months in duration were more frequently associated with physical problems. Physical problems were involved in just over half the cases, with the most common being the prolonged viral syndrome. A discussion with the patient regarding his or her fatigue and its origin was documented in only about half of the cases.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Colorado
  • Family Characteristics
  • Family Practice
  • Fatigue / epidemiology*
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Fatigue / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Single Person