The biological abnormalities of ME have been confirmed in research settings. Its symptoms are highly variable, and it is not yet known whether any one treatment will be effective for all ME patients. Experts in the field have developed several diagnostic criteria to make a proper diagnosis. Unfortunately, ME sufferers are often misdiagnosed and undiagnosed due to inadequate education and awareness. In addition, there are few approved treatments for the disease. In addition, most medical providers do not recognize the signs and symptoms of ME.
The cardinal symptom of ME is post-exertional malaise, also known as post-exertional neuroimmune exhaustion. Although often studied in relation to physical activity, the symptoms of ME can be initiated by sensory or cognitive overexertion. Regardless of the trigger, patients with ME experience substantial reductions in physical and cognitive function. In severe cases, patients are bedbound. Despite the limitations of these new diagnostic criteria, the disease continues to progress in people with ME.
The newer definition of ME, titled myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is gaining support in the medical community. In fact, some countries are now using this term instead of “chronic fatigue syndrome” to describe the illness. However, it is gaining traction in the United States. While some individuals use the terms interchangeably, some consider them separate conditions and plan to remove the “CFS” portion as the public gets more familiar with the condition.
In a 2002 report to the Chief Medical Officer, the Department of Health highlighted that CFS/ME is a severe and chronic condition. During the same time, the NHS has also recognized CFS/ME as a neurological disorder with no known cause. Further, a study conducted by Sheffield Hallam University in 1996 estimated the financial costs of ME/CFS to the nation. And a recent study from the Institute of Medicine suggests that the disease is now a major problem with huge implications for the health care system.
ME/CFS is a multi-system disease, meaning that it affects several systems at the same time. This causes profound changes to the normal physiological functions of the human body. The cells of these three systems share receptors and an illness that affects one of them will have a corresponding impact on the other two. In order to diagnose the illness properly, a doctor must first determine which system is the primary driver. This is not always possible, so patients must work to make their symptoms manageable.
Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for ME/CFS, which means that the focus of treatment is to alleviate symptoms. Unfortunately, some drugs can cause side effects that are worse than the original symptoms. Fortunately, newer approaches to medicine are emerging that may improve the lives of ME/CFS sufferers. There is no known cure for ME/CFS, but there are several interventions that can help. This article reviews these treatments. So, how can you diagnose the condition?