ME is a condition in which a person experiences relapsing-remitting episodes of malaise. These episodes cause significant fluctuations in the individual’s well-being, with the hallmark symptom of post-exertional malaise. In addition, patients with ME may also experience severe cognitive impairment, causing them to become bed-bound. There is no single cause for ME. In most cases, however, the condition can be attributed to a variety of factors.
Although there is no cure for ME, there are several treatments available to alleviate its symptoms. For example, pacing can help people with ME avoid crashes by matching activity to energy levels. Medication is another treatment option, but some individuals with ME are sensitive to medications. In addition, your health care provider may be able to help you apply for disability, obtain accommodations, or access assistive devices. A doctor can help you decide what treatment option is right for you.
Because symptoms of ME vary widely, many clinicians rely on clinical judgment to determine a diagnosis. However, the Canadian clinical criteria developed by a multidisciplinary team of doctors has been endorsed by the ME Association. The Canadian clinical criteria emphasize the role of neuroimmune dysfunction in the disease. However, Asprusten et al. (2015) questioned their content validity, arguing that they do not accurately reflect the full range of symptoms associated with ME.
The criteria for ME are not universal, and there are no biomarkers to help determine a diagnosis. Although there is no clear test to identify the disorder, research has discovered many biological abnormalities in people who have the condition. These include altered immune system functioning, altered gut bacteria, and abnormal post-exercise malaise. Because ME is rare, it is difficult to find a reliable diagnosis. However, most medical providers are unaware of its presence.
There is no definitive cure for ME/CFS, and treatment options are limited. Currently, the aim of management is to minimize symptoms. Two methods of managing the condition are rest and pacing. The individual must not over-extend themselves and push the symptoms, otherwise the condition will deteriorate. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has an educational module to help healthcare professionals with this condition. There is also no cure for ME/CFS, but there are treatments to improve the quality of life of those affected by the disease.
Research is an important part of treating ME. The National Institutes of Health has recently awarded three collaborative research centres to accelerate the research process. These centers are located in New York State, at Cornell University and Columbia University. The organisations listed below may provide support and referrals to healthcare providers specializing in treating ME. Another important resource for patients is the worldwide patient network, #MEAction. This group helps to raise awareness for the condition and to provide information and support for individuals with ME.
Diagnosis of ME/CFS is difficult. There are no specific laboratory tests to diagnose ME/CFS, and it is therefore impossible to distinguish between the two. The diagnosis of ME/CFS is based on the patient’s medical history, symptoms, and medical history. There are other illnesses with similar symptoms, so there is often a risk of misdiagnosis. However, some symptoms of ME/CFS can be treated, making it worth a try.