ME is an illness that affects one million people in the United States alone. Although the condition is more common among women than in men, it can strike people of any age or background. Children younger than ten years of age are also affected by the disease. Because most medical providers don’t recognize it, the exact prevalence of the disease is not known. If you suspect you might have ME, speak to your doctor. He or she will likely be able to help you understand the disorder and how to deal with it.
There are many causes of ME. While the illness has no known cause, it can be attributed to a number of different conditions, including stress, allergies, or an overactive thyroid. In some cases, the condition can be caused by a viral infection. While it is not a disease that can be easily diagnosed, some doctors may be unsure of the best course of treatment. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, there may be a treatment plan available for the patient.
Doctors can make a diagnosis of ME/CFS based on the symptoms and medical history of the patient. A physician must rule out other illnesses that may cause similar symptoms, such as thyroid or liver disorders. However, this is not always possible because the symptoms of ME/CFS can mimic other conditions. However, the main criteria that the doctor should look for are the following:
ME/CFS is a neurological disorder that causes severe fatigue and debilitating symptoms. In fact, most people with the disorder experience many symptoms, varying from mild to severe. The World Health Organisation classifies the illness as a neurological disorder. However, the criteria used to diagnose ME have become increasingly complex. In fact, there are more than 20 diagnostic criteria for ME. Not all of them are designed to be used in clinical practice, so the exact diagnosis is not always straightforward.
Although a consensus on a definitive diagnosis has not yet been achieved, many researchers have tried to come up with a consensus. In fact, most studies use Fukuda criteria while other research groups are now using the 2003 Canadian criteria. Although many clinicians still rely on clinical judgment, the Canadian clinical criteria are supported by the ME Association and emphasize neuroimmune dysfunction as a key element in the diagnosis. So, if you suspect you have ME/CFS, don’t be afraid to speak to your doctor.
A person with ME/CFS may have any of the four categories of disability listed below. The individual symptom profile will vary, but patients usually start off on one level and progress to a different level. Patients may also experience worsening symptoms without apparent reason – this is known as ‘fluctuating illness’. Despite the fact that most people recover from ME/CFS, full recovery is a very rare occurrence. Only 10% of patients complete full recovery.