What Is Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome is persistent and crippling fatigue lasting 6 months or longer. People living with ME/CFS often experience other symptoms, like unrefreshing sleep and muscle aches. The condition is also sometimes called chronic fatigue syndrome.
Doctors do not know what causes ME/CFS, and there is no cure. You may be able to manage symptoms with cognitive-behavioral therapy, exercise, and medications, like antidepressants and sleep aids. The goal of treatment is to make symptoms as manageable as possible to increase your quality of life.
What Are The Symptoms Of Me/cfs
The most common symptom is ongoing, unexplained overwhelming tiredness or fatigue which worsens after exercise or mental effort. This is known as post-exertional malaise . The level of activity that triggers PEM will vary from person to person and can depend on how severe their condition is. PEM is sometimes delayed and can last for a few days. A more serious relapse can last for weeks or months.
A common misconception is that people with ME/CFS have ‘chronic fatigue and are just very tired. Persistent and profound fatigue is just one symptom of ME/CFS.
Other symptoms may include:
Some people may experience only mild symptoms, but others may develop more severe symptoms.
Continued Research Should Lead To Better Understanding And Treatments
A great deal more is known about ME/CFS today than 35 years ago. With continued and expanded support from the NIH, CDC, and private foundations dedicated to ME/CFS, I expect a lot of progress in the coming decade. Instead of doctors saying, The tests came back normal, there is nothing wrong, they will say, Tests showed us what was wrong, and we have treatments to fix it.
And doctors will recognize the wisdom of the wise advice we all learned in medical school: Listen to your patient. The patient is telling you the diagnosis.
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What Are The Causes Of Guillain Barre Syndrome
The exact cause of Guillain-Barre syndrome isnt known. The disorder usually appears days or weeks after a respiratory or digestive tract infection. Rarely, recent surgery or vaccination can trigger Guillain-Barre syndrome. Recently, there have been cases reported following infection with the Zika virus.
Key Points About Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Chronic fatigue syndrome is characterized by profound tiredness.
- Symptoms often worsen with physical or mental activity.
- In addition to severe fatigue, symptoms include light sensitivity, headache, muscle and joint pain, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, and depression.
- Treatments may include medicines, exercise, supplements, and counseling.
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How Do You Test For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS, is a debilitating illness that can significantly impact your work and home life. Its also challenging to diagnose this condition because it looks very similar to other conditions, such as hypothyroidism, stress, or depression. Thats why we offer chronic fatigue testing and treatment at Medical Transformation Center in Louisville, KY, to help recover your energy levels back and lead a healthy lifestyle.
How Is Me/cfs Treated
Right now, there is no cure or FDA-approved treatments for ME/CFS. But, there are things you and your doctor can do to help ease your symptoms. Because the symptoms of ME/CFS vary from person to person, the management plan you discuss with your doctor may look very different from the plan of another person with ME/CFS.
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Will I Still Be Able To Work With Me/cfs
Research shows that about half of people with ME/CFS work part-time or full-time jobs. For some people with ME/CFS, the ability to work is possible thanks to a supportive employer and certain workplace accommodations, including a flexible schedule, a quiet comfortable place to rest, and memory aids.
But, if you can’t work because of ME/CFS, you may be eligible for Social Security benefits. Learn more about applying for disability through the Social Security Administration.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Is Notoriously Difficult To Diagnose And Treat But With Long Covid Shining A Light On Similar Symptoms Chloe Kent Asks If A Test For The Condition Could Become A Reality For Patients
reating chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis , starts with getting the right diagnosis something that, for many patients, can prove elusive. Characterised by debilitating tiredness, the condition is notoriously difficult to pin down and even more challenging to treat.
CFS/ME expands far beyond exhaustion alone, with patients often also enduring flulike symptoms, musculoskeletal pain and brain fog. Around one in four people with CFS/ME are so severely unwell they are housebound.
The difficulties in obtaining a diagnosis are numerous. Patients typically undergo extensive tests for their various physical symptoms before landing on a diagnosis of CFS/ME when no other condition can be found to fit.
Symptoms can be nebulous and vary over time, leading to uncertainty about the underlying problem for both the patient and clinician and many people with CFS/ME also report being repeatedly disbelieved by doctors.
The emergence of long Covid which some clinicians believe could be CFS/ME presenting at a large scale from one single, identifiable cause has reopened the discussion around ME diagnosis.
Research carried out at Imperial College London recently suggested that long Covid could be diagnosed through a simple blood test. Researchers have been able to find specific autoantibodies in the blood of long Covid patients that were not found in the blood of people who recovered quickly from Covid-19 or never tested positive for the disease.
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Viral And Other Infections
The term post-viral fatigue syndrome is used to describe CFS-like symptoms that occur after a viral infection. A recent review found Epstein-Barr virus antibody activity to be higher in patients with CFS, and that a subset of patients with CFS were likely to have increased EBV activity compared to controls. Viral infection is a significant risk factor for CFS, with one study finding 22% of people with EBV experience fatigue six months later, and 9% having strictly defined CFS. A systematic review found that fatigue severity was the main predictor of prognosis in CFS, and did not identify psychological factors linked to prognosis. One review found risk factors for developing CFS after mononucleosis, dengue fever or the bacterial infection Q-fever include longer bed-rest during the illness, poorer pre-illness physical fitness, attributing symptoms to physical illness, belief that a long recovery time is needed, as well as pre-infection distress and fatigue. The same review found biological factors such as CD4 and CD8 activation and liver inflammation are predictors of sub-acute fatigue, but not CFS, however these findings are not generally accepted due to the use of the Oxford criteria in selecting patients. The CDC does not recognize attribution of symptoms as a risk factor.
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
There’s a long list of possible symptoms that someone with chronic fatigue syndrome can have. The most common ones include:
- severe fatigue, which can make it hard to get out of bed and do normal daily activities
- sleep problems, such as trouble falling or staying asleep, or not having a refreshing sleep
- symptoms getting worse after physical or mental effort
- symptoms or dizziness that get worse after standing up or sitting upright from a lying down position
- problems with concentration and memory
- headaches and stomachaches
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Who Gets Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome can affect people of all ethnicities and ages, but is most common in people in their forties or fifties. It’s very rare in kids. A few teens do get CFS, and it affects more girls than guys.
Sometimes different people in the same family get CFS. This may be because the tendency to develop CFS is genetic.
I Don’t Have Insurance How Can The Affordable Care Act Help Me
If you’re uninsured or have been denied coverage in the past for ME/CFS, the Health Insurance Marketplace may be able to provide you with access to affordable coverage. With health insurance plans in the Marketplace, you can no longer be refused coverage just because you have a pre-existing health condition. Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program also can’t refuse to cover you or charge you more because of a health condition. They also can’t charge women more than men. Learn more about the Affordable Care Act and the Health Insurance Marketplace at Healthcare.gov.
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How Is The Condition Treated
There are some ways to alleviate the symptoms of CFS/ME.
For some patients, cognitive behavioural therapy is prescribed, which works on the way you think and behave to help you cope with the effects of the condition.
Graded exercise therapy can be used to help sufferers after diagnosis.
Specialist trainers put patients through exercise, which raises the heart rate and helps to establish how much activity your body can cope with.
However this could soon be scrapped when the new guidelines are released, after many patients reported it made their condition worse.
Currently, there is no medication available for those who suffer with CFS/ME.
Over-the-counter painkillers can be used for muscle pain and antidepressants are sometimes useful for those who are battling with any mental symptoms.
What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complicated disease for doctors to diagnose and even fully understand.
CFS is a physical condition, but it can also affect a person psychologically. This means that someone with CFS may feel physical symptoms, such as being very tired and weak , headaches, or dizziness. But the person may also notice emotional symptoms, such as a loss of interest in favorite activities.
To make it even more complicated, different people with CFS can have different symptoms. And the symptoms of CFS often are similar those of other health conditions, like mono, Lyme disease, or depression. And the symptoms can vary over time, even in the same person.
This makes treating the illness complicated because no single medicine or treatment can address all the possible symptoms.
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How Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Treated
Treatment is determined by your healthcare provider and based on:
- Your overall health and medical history
- Extent of the condition
- Your tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
- Expectations for the course of the condition
- Your opinion or preference
- Medicine, including corticosteroids, antidepressants, and others
- Light-intensity aerobic exercise
- Dietary supplements and herbal preparations
- Psychotherapy and supportive counseling
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms
Chronic fatigue syndrome is diagnosed on the basis of extreme fatigue lasting at least 6 months, with no indications of underlying causes or explanations. This fatigue often worsens with physical activity, yet no amount of sleep can leave a person feeling well-rested.
- Difficulty with memory and inability to concentrate
- Dizziness that worsens with physical activity
- Sore throats
- Unexplained muscle or joint pain
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Understand What It Is
Chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis , is a chronic and complex disease where you have difficulty in physical activities due to extreme tiredness. It can affect multiple body systems, including the nervous system, brain, hormones, immune system, or gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms vary from person to person, but some of the common ones are fatigue that doesnt improve with rest or sleep, muscle pain, and cognitive impairment.
Home Remedies And Lifestyle Changes
Making some lifestyle changes may help reduce your symptoms.
Limiting or eliminating your caffeine intake can help you sleep better and ease your insomnia. You should limit or avoid nicotine and alcohol too.
Try to avoid napping during the day if its hurting your ability to sleep at night.
Create a sleep routine. Go to bed at the same time every night and aim to wake up around the same time every day.
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How Is Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/chronic Fatigue Syndrome Diagnosed
Your doctor diagnoses ME/CFS by performing a mental and physical examination. Doctors will ask about your medical history and order blood and urine tests to check for infection. In many cases, doctors refer people with suspected ME/CFS to other specialists to rule out other illnesses that could be causing symptoms.
For your doctor to diagnose ME/CFS, you must have these 3 symptoms:
- Severe fatigue lasting at least 6 months that does not improve with rest or sleep
- Difficulty sleeping
- Fatigue that gets worse after mental or physical exercise
Additionally, you must have at least 1 of the following symptoms:
- Orthostatic intolerance
Who Is At Risk For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Because the cause of CFS is not known, its hard to know what might put someone at risk for getting the condition. However, certain factors are seen more often in people with CFS. These factors include:
- Gender. CFS happens up to 4 times more often in women than in men.
- Age. CFS commonly affects middle-aged people, but people of any age can get it.
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What Else Could It Be
Many people who have ME/CFS have other conditions, too. If you get treated for those, it might also improve your chronic fatigue.
ME/CFS can look a lot like âmonoâ , Lyme disease, lupus, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, sleep disorders, or depression. It affects about 2.5 million Americans, but experts believe only about 20% are diagnosed.
First Diagnostic Test For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Identified
For years, chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome , has been undetectable by traditional tests that check the function of major organs or examine blood and immune cell counts. For these very sick patients, test results often come back normal, giving doctors few clues on how to proceed.
But now, patients with the devastating disease — which causes debilitating fatigue, flu-like symptoms and something called post-exertional malaise, a condition that causes any symptoms to worsen after exerting even small amounts of effort — may find vindication in a newly identified diagnostic test that provides the first scientific evidence of the disease.
A paper describing the research findings appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Ron Davis, PhD, professor of biochemistry and of genetics, is the senior author. Rahim Esfandyarpour, PhD, a former Stanford research associate who is now on the faculty of the University of California-Irvine, is the lead author.
When I spoke with Davis, he told me about how his experience as a father who has watched his once-healthy son Whitney decline set him on a new path as a scientist — to learn as much as he can about ME/CFS. He launched the Stanford Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Research Center in 2013.
So too is Davis’ son.
As we describe in our release:
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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Test Through A Haematologist
The blood test results image here is of my own blood tests done privately through Biolab, London, UK. Read about the tests available below.
Your doctor can and should take blood tests for you.
Early blood tests showed that I had an ongoing viral infection at a time when I no longer had clear symptoms of a virus. These test results were consistent with the theory of a viral cause for CFS.
Two consecutive tests showed a low white blood cell count and I was referred to a haematologist fairly early on in the illness.
Please note that you may not have any positive result from a blood test. Many people with CFS do not. It does NOT mean you are not ill.
I was lucky to be sent to a haematologist who was an inquiring doctor and took my symptoms seriously even though I had no diagnosis at the time.
In 1993 after 18 months of serious illness, I was finally diagnosed with ME . The haematologist then said he had thought that was the illness I had from the blood test results.
I have always pondered on the implication that the blood test results were in some way able to be used as a ME / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome test by someone with sufficient knowledge.
It reassured me to visit the haemotologist every few years to have blood tests repeated.
How Is Me/cfs Diagnosed
Because many symptoms of ME/CFS are also symptoms of other illnesses or side effects of medicine, your doctor will need to do physical exams and tests to help determine if you have ME/CFS. There are no standard lab tests to diagnose ME/CFS.
If you think you may have ME/CFS, see your doctor. Your doctor may:
- Ask you about your physical and mental health.
- Do a physical exam.
- Order lab tests based on your symptoms, such as urine and blood tests, which will tell your doctor if something other than ME/CFS might be causing your symptoms.
- Order tests that check for problems found in people with ME/CFS.
- Classify you as having ME/CFS if:
- You have the main symptoms of ME/CFS, including extreme fatigue or exhaustion that does not go away and that prevents you from doing the things you want and need to do for you and your family exhaustion that comes after mental or physical exercise sleep problems and pain AND
- You have had the extreme fatigue and other symptoms for 6 months or longer AND
- You and your doctor cannot find another explanation for your symptoms.
The process to make a final diagnosis of ME/CFS can take a long time, so try to be patient. It is usually best to develop a relationship and follow up often with one doctor so that he or she can get to know you and see how you respond to treatment over time.
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