ME is an illness that can affect anyone. About a million Americans suffer from it, with women being more likely to develop the disorder than men. ME can also affect adolescents and children as young as 10 years old. While there is no cure for ME, the symptoms and treatment options vary from person to person. Because most medical providers are unaware of this condition, it is difficult to determine the exact prevalence.
ME is commonly referred to as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and is caused by the dysfunction of the immune, endocrine, and energy metabolism systems. It is often associated with infection and leaves the sufferer unable to work. About seventy percent of people with ME are unable to return to work. The condition can be chronic and debilitating, and requires the help of a physician.
In order to find a cure for ME, researchers are working to find the underlying cause. The mitochondrial dysfunction associated with this illness has been identified as a potential culprit. The cause of mitochondrial dysfunction is unknown, but the presence of hydrogen sulfide has been linked with symptoms in ME/CFS patients.
Although there is no known cure for ME/CFS, self-management of the disease can help patients to improve their quality of life. By making small changes, individuals can improve their energy and mobility. By building a picture of their energy usage, they can also identify patterns in their symptoms and find ways to avoid them. For example, focusing on rest and relaxation is essential to managing ME/CFS. Some patients may require extra support or advice on how to rest during the day.
Researchers also have identified the role of the HPA axis in the development of ME/CFS. The abnormalities in the HPA axis in patients with ME/CFS are thought to contribute to the disease’s excessive fatigue and low adrenal function. Moreover, the hypothalamic region is believed to be involved in this process.
Because the causes of ME/CFS are still not clear, a physician should make a diagnosis based on the patient’s medical history and symptoms. A doctor must exclude other conditions that may share some of its symptoms. Therefore, there is no single test to diagnose ME/CFS. Further research is needed to determine whether the illness is triggered by a particular virus or disease.