Too tired for school? Chronic fatigue could be to blame

Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Too tired for school? Chronic fatigue could be to blame

For many parents, getting kids out of bed and ready for school is a daily battle, but new research suggests tired children aren't just being lazy — they could have chronic fatigue syndrome.

Researchers at Bristol University in the UK found that many children who were too tired to go to school had the condition.

Related: Parents DO have a favourite child

The study found that around one in 100 UK children had the controversial condition, but that two-thirds of those made "rapid progress" and stopped missing so many school days after being diagnosed and treated.

Researchers studied children aged 11 to 16 years who missed school time for "unexplained reasons".

They found that 461 of 2,855 children enrolled at three schools had missed more than 20 percent of school in a term.

Of those 461 absent children, 315 had known reasons for missing school. Of the remaining 146 with unexplained absences, 42 were referred to a specialist clinic and 23 were diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Including five children who were already diagnosed with chronic fatigue, 28 of the 2,855 kids at the school have the syndrome, which represents one percent of the total sample size.

Researchers checked the progress of 19 newly-diagnosed chronic fatigue sufferers and found that six had fully recovered after six weeks, and a further six had fully recovered after six months.

Chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalitis or ME, can affect children as young as five.

Sufferers report extreme tiredness, lethargy and flu-like symptoms, which are possibly triggered by a viral infection.

There is no cure for the syndrome, but exercise and other therapies can help manage the symptoms.

Related: School starts too early, study finds

The study was published in the current issue of BMJ Open.

Your say: Do you struggle to get your kids up in the morning?

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