Criteria For a confirmed ME
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is an extremely debilitating long term illness that affects multiple body systems. Those with ME/CD may be unable to engage in their usual daily activities. In some cases, ME/CD may even confined them to a bed for long periods of time. In severe cases, it can even be impossible for them to perform daily tasks such as getting dressed, using the restroom, and even getting enough sleep at night. In the past, ME/CD was thought to be the result of psychological or emotional issues, but researchers now believe ME/Cfs to be a symptom of an underlying condition.
One of the first symptoms of ME/Cfs is extreme tiredness. Studies have shown that one in three people with ME/CD suffer from chronic exhaustion. In some cases, the person with ME/CD may actually fall asleep in bed, but will return to consciousness within minutes, often tired and irritable. As a result, they will need to remain in bedbound. In addition, they may be unable to perform the activities of daily living, including: bathing, climbing stairs, going to work, participating in simple activities such as driving a car, and socializing with other people.
Unlike the typical symptoms of an acute infection, ME/CD has no evidence of bacterial, fungal or viral infection. Therefore, there is no need to perform any tests for any infections. Because most cases of ME/CD can be attributed to some form of infection, the absence of these tests can only attribute to a lack of an appropriate immune system response. It is also important to note that the majority of cases of ME/CD can be attributed to a cause that is lifestyle related. For instance, stress, a negative energy, and poor diet can all be possible causes of ME.
Some ME sufferers report shortness of breath, poor concentration, palpitations, insomnia, irritability, depression, anxiety, and fatigue. These symptoms can range from mildly annoying to debilitating. In many cases, the ME/CD disorder is discovered during a physical examination. It is important, however, that the medical practitioner doing the exam must be skilled in recognizing ME symptoms because many people with ME have such similar symptoms to those of the flu or other illnesses. The physician must also be sensitive to the fact that the patient is likely experiencing a myriad of physical symptoms unrelated to ME.
Due to the wide variety of potential causes and symptoms of ME, the ME Society has developed a series of detailed diagnostic criteria, which are used to determine the clinical and functional status of ME patients. These diagnostic criteria were developed based on years of research and clinical experience by the ME Association. Although the diagnostic guidelines may vary from one professional association to another, the ME Association does recommend that the following be included in the diagnostic criterion: fatigue, malaise, decreased concentration, decreased mobility, decreased awareness of surroundings, decreased alertness, decreased sense of humor, decreased speech level, muscle twitching, pain, and a loss of sense of time and where the patient is. If any of these symptoms are present in a relative proportion of the patient’s sample, it is considered a positive sign that ME may be present.
Because this disease has no absolute definition, the medical community has developed its own sets of ME diagnostic criteria, which are used to classify patients according to their severity of the disease and according to their likelihood of having a full-blown ME. Because the symptoms of ME can mimic those of several other diseases as well, the ME Association has also developed a set of additional criteria, which are used in conjunction with the above mentioned criteria to make a more accurate diagnosis of ME. Because the ME patients of today have so many different concerns about their health and their lives, the ME Society has urged that all doctors involved in a ME case should be fully trained and should be familiar with the various ME diagnostic criteria that have been developed by the ME Association. Failure to do so could lead to the inaccurate diagnosis of some patients and unnecessary ME treatments for others.