People with ME experience significant cognitive and physical limitations. Studies show that the average person with ME is more disabled than someone with diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or renal failure. However, some people with ME may be able to work if they receive proper accommodations and care. For others, the condition is so severe that they are bedridden or have difficulty speaking. They may also experience significant fluctuations in their well-being.
ME is a chronic condition that is often the result of infection. Approximately 10 percent of people who contract a serious infection develop ME. It affects fifteen to thirty million people worldwide. The most common symptom of ME is post-exertional malaise, which is often triggered by physical or cognitive overexertion.
In addition to the symptoms above, patients with ME often have autoimmune processes. These antibodies attack the outer surface of cells, causing hypercoagulability. This causes sticky blood cells, which limit the supply of oxygen to organs. Another sign of autoimmune processes in ME/CFS is the presence of antinuclear antibodies, which are present in up to one-third of patients.
Although there are no definitive diagnoses for ME/CFS, there are several proposed criteria to identify the disease. The first is the Melvin Ramsay definition, which is no longer widely used today. Other criteria, like the Fukuda criteria, can be used to differentiate between severe and moderate cases of ME. Depending on the severity, it may be possible to diagnose the disease at three months of age in adults and six months in children.
Aside from self-management, there are also therapies for ME/CFS. Some treatments focus on improving the symptoms of ME/CFS by focusing on pacing, which is a method of breaking down activity into short bursts and resting between each. This method helps patients to recover from the exhaustion caused by the disease.
Research is ongoing to find cures for ME/CFS. Stanford Medicine is one organization conducting extensive clinical research to find effective treatments. It collaborates with nearly 50 researchers. The team’s efforts have resulted in a greater understanding of the disease, and improved outcomes for patients living with the disorder. It is estimated that an estimated 836,000 to 2.5 million Americans have ME/CFS.
ME/CFS can occur suddenly, or gradually over months or years. It has no known cause, but various factors can trigger the illness. There are several subtypes of the disease, and scientists are still searching for the best treatment. The symptoms of ME/CFS vary significantly between individuals. Most individuals with the disorder report having experienced a viral infection prior to the onset of symptoms. This could suggest that immune abnormalities are involved in the pathology of ME/CFS.
Treatment for ME/CFS can involve a combination of medicines. In some cases, doctors may recommend changing the types of medications a person is taking. Cognitive behavioural therapy may be a good option. It can help to reduce some of the depression associated with the disease. It can also help people with ME cope with the mood changes associated with the condition. However, it is important to consult with a doctor before trying any alternative treatment.