When you’re asked to describe yourself to a prospective employer or someone you meet, it can be difficult. Most people are expected to respond by stating their qualifications or describing their job, hobbies, or passions. However, a more interesting way to answer the question is to use the word “ME.” The word can be used to describe your unique traits and experiences. It can also be used to highlight things that you have done well or to describe your personality. Using the word “ME” is a great way to show your individuality and set yourself apart from other candidates.
Myalgic encephalomyelitis, or ME/CFS, is an illness that causes fatigue and other symptoms that have been described as post-exertional malaise (PEM). It is a neurological condition that can cause severe disruption to daily life. It can affect people of all ages, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds. It is estimated that at least one million people in the United States have ME/CFS.
There is no cure for ME/CFS, but there are strategies that can be used to manage the symptoms. These include resting, pacing activity, and self-care. In addition, it is important to note that ME/CFS can be worsened by stress and other environmental factors. The ME Association’s free ME patient guide contains more information on how to effectively use these strategies.
ME/CFS is a complex illness, and there is much debate about what causes it. Researchers have found that certain infections can trigger ME/CFS. These infections may be viral or bacterial, and they can vary in severity and duration. Common viral triggers include glandular fever and Epstein-Barr virus infectious mononucleosis. Other triggering infections have been herpes simplex, the varicella virus (causes chickenpox and shingles), hepatitis A, hepatitis C, herpes B, and a variety of enteroviruses.
Despite the challenges, it is possible to live with ME/CFS. Having a strong support system and finding the right balance between pacing activities and resting is essential for symptom management. In addition, it is important to keep in mind that there are many additional conditions that can coexist with ME/CFS, including fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or an increased heart rate upon standing), and Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome. It is important to recognize these comorbidities and treat them as needed.
ME/CFS can be disabling, and most people with ME/CFS are unable to work full time or do any regular physical activity. Some are homebound or bedbound, and the most severely affected need around-the-clock care. A key to effective ME/CFS management is for health care professionals to have accurate, up-to-date knowledge about this elusive illness. The ME Association’s new clinical guideline aims to improve ME/CFS diagnosis and treatment by providing healthcare professionals with the best evidence on recognition, management, referral, and ongoing care and support. The ME Association fully supports this new clinical guideline and is working to ensure its proper implementation and improved care for patients with ME/CFS. The guideline is available to download here.