What Is My Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME)?


Known as chronic fatigue syndrome, ME is a chronic disease that affects people of all ages. It is characterized by a combination of physical and mental symptoms, including extreme fatigue and sleep disturbances. The symptoms vary from person to person and can be hard to diagnose. Although there are no medications to treat ME, there are treatments that can help alleviate some of the symptoms. Some of these treatments involve lifestyle changes and adapting the patient’s daily routine.

Some symptoms of ME include aching muscles, high anxiety, joint and muscle pains, and gut problems. Many of these symptoms can be controlled by taking medications, such as ibuprofen. However, they may become worse if not taken properly. A doctor can also prescribe stronger pain relief if needed. Some patients experience a loss of memory and concentration.

Some ME patients will develop a secondary disease, such as irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis, or fibromyalgia. These diseases can complicate symptoms of ME and may lead to other complications. Affected people have trouble regulating their temperature and may develop hives or pressure sores. The most common symptom of ME is extreme tiredness.

In addition, ME may also affect the immune system. Depending on the severity of the disease, patients may be unable to leave their homes. They may also require around the clock care. They may have difficulty with cognitive functions and may not be able to clean their teeth or cook.

People with ME are often treated with antidepressants to ease the pain and help them deal with the changes that their illness has brought on. Physiotherapy can also be beneficial. During physiotherapy, patients are taught how to exercise, adapt their activities, and use their energy levels more effectively. The treatment focuses on alleviating symptoms, not resolving the underlying cause of the illness.

The most recent diagnostic criteria for ME, approved by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), requires the presence of post-exertional malaise and substantial impairment in activity. These new criteria were developed with the support of the National Academy of Medicine. In addition to fatigue, the new criteria require unrefreshing sleep, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or cognitive impairment.

ME is more prevalent in women than men. The exact prevalence of the illness is difficult to determine, as most medical providers don’t recognize the condition. In fact, 90 percent of those who suffer from ME are not diagnosed. Approximately one million Americans are estimated to have the condition. It is more common in people between the ages of 20 and 40. Symptoms can be very similar to other illnesses, but the cause of ME is unknown.

There are many different types of ME. Several of the subtypes are genetic, and each has its own characteristics. Each type of ME has different symptoms, and is related to the patterns of symptoms it presents. In addition to this, each type has its own history.

ME is a chronic neurological disease, affecting the immune and musculoskeletal systems. People with moderate and severe ME are usually bedbound and unable to work or study. Other symptoms can include a sensitivity to light, sound, or pain. The onset of ME can be gradual or sudden. In some cases, the symptoms are triggered by a viral infection.