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Medically unexplained physical symptoms

By Jungwee Park, Health Statistics Division, Statistics Canada, and Sarah Knudson, University of Toronto.

Key concepts


  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • fibromyalgia
  • multiple chemical sensitivity


  • Jungwee Park, Health Statistics Division
    Statistics Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0T6
    Telephone: (613) 951-4598

  • Sarah Knudson
    University of Toronto
    Toronto, Ontario


A substantial number of Canadians report symptoms of conditions that cannot be definitively identified through physical examination or medical testing. Known as “medically unexplained physical symptoms,” or “MUPS,” they characterize conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and multiple chemical sensitivity. [Full text]

Key concepts

Box 1: The questions

The prevalence of medically unexplained physical symptoms (MUPS)  was based on self-reports of diagnosed illness.  Cycles 1.2 and 2.1 of the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) used a checklist of conditions.  Respondents were asked about “long-term health conditions that have lasted or are expected to last six months or more and that have been diagnosed by a health professional.” [Full text]


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