Asthenic symptoms in a rural family practice: Epidemiologic characteristics and a proposed classification

E. Shahar, J. Lederer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Asthenic symptoms (eg, fatigue, lassitude, weakness) are of major concern in family practice setting, yet relatively little research has addressed this issue. A retrospective chart review over a 10-year period was conducted to better characterize these symptoms in a rural family practice providing health care to 508 adult patients. Asthenic complaints were recorded at least once in the medical charts of 164 patients (32%) with a preponderance of female patients. Peak prevalence occurred in the third decade of age and during the summer months. Associated symptoms, mainly pain and dizziness, were reported in 75% of the cases. A cause or diagnosis was not identified by the practicing physician in nearly 50% of the encounters; nevertheless, most episodes resolved spontaneously. Patients could be subclassified into three categories according to the recurrence pattern of their asthenic symptoms during the study period. The largest category (64%) included patients who had a single or two episodes and was thus termed 'episodic asthenia.' Forty-five patients (27%) with recurrent episodes (mean 4.4, range 3 to 10) were classified as having 'recurrent episodic asthenia.' A third small group (14 patients, 9%) with persistent complaints over the years but no evidence of the chronic fatigue syndrome were classified as having 'chronic persistent asthenia.' The proposed classification may help future research of asthenic symptoms in the family practice setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-262
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Family Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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