Myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome (MFS) is an ailment that affects several body systems simultaneously. The disease causes varying degrees of fatigue among patients. Some people with ME/CFS can go up and down several staircases and not be aware of the limitation. In other cases, patients may barely notice a difference between normal activity and sleep, despite increased exertion. However, other patients can have prolonged tiredness which can significantly disrupt one’s life.
Because of the varying degrees of fatigue that occur, it is impossible to identify the exact cause of the disease in any one individual. However, doctors and scientists have developed criteria for ME/CFS that can be used to evaluate the degree of the illness in a patient. Each criterion has its own specific use in establishing the ME/CFS diagnosis. The following Meckler criteria are some of the most commonly applied criteria in the clinical trials and reviews of ME/CFS. Each of these Meckler criteria has been confirmed through extensive research by various researchers. A brief explanation of each of these criteria is listed below.
* Sleepiness: The diagnosis of ME includes the presence of persistent problems in the functioning of the immune system. In addition to this, other symptoms such as headache, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, and chills are also reported by patients who suffer from ME. In order to rule out other diseases such as tuberculosis, feverish illness, or strep throat, doctors conduct additional tests such as blood count, urinalysis, allergy testing, and blood culture. The diagnosis of ME includes a significant level of both fatigue and sleepiness.
* Persistent Agoraphobia: It is important to note that agoraphobia is not a common mental health disorder. According to research, only one percent of the general population experiences the anxiety of an agoraphobic episode. It is therefore believed that the ME disease diagnosis is accurate based on the level of reported symptoms. In addition to this, the ME disease is considered to be associated with an increased risk of multiple sclerosis in patients with a family history of the illness. There is an increased risk of developing this disorder among women compared to men.
* Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: According to researchers, there is a high level of correlation between ME and FM. This is especially evident in patients with ME who present with persistent fatigue syndrome, which can range from mild to severe. This condition can also lead to severe complications in pregnancy, such as early labor and delivery, pre-term delivery and low birth weight. In addition to this, it is also believed that ME and FM are associated with a greater risk of developing irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. The ME disease diagnosis often overlaps with other serious illnesses such as ITP, viral encephalitis, pancreatitis and polymyalgia rheumatica.
Based on these two main findings, scientists have formulated the Myalgic Encephalomyleitis Association (M.E.) scale, which is used to diagnose the illness. A score over five is considered to be indicative of the presence of ME/FM. If ME is suspected, it is important that prompt treatment is sought, since this neurological disease can progress to more serious outcomes. Because this disease is interrelated with other diseases, it is essential that anyone experiencing fatigue syndrome, or having an impending episode of fatigue and severe neurological symptoms, consult a physician for a thorough medical evaluation.