Who Am I? – A Promising Operational Definition of ME

When it comes to learning about yourself, one of the best things you can do is explore your positive characteristics. This can be accomplished through a variety of activities, including self-reflection and journaling. In addition, you can also try some fun and interactive activities. Among the most popular is a game called “Who am I?” This activity can be customized to suit your preferences and needs. It is recommended that you follow some basic rules in playing this game, though.

This article proposes an operational definition of ME, based on the last formal definitions of ME [3,4], the symptoms observed in the epidemic and endemic cases of ME [1] and reported by a large group of patients with well-defined ME [3]. The first two criteria of this tentative definition of ME justify the qualification “neuromuscular disease”, with specific characteristic and discriminative symptoms.

ME is not a disorder caused by lack of exercise and does not result from psychiatric causes, contrary to common belief. It is a neurological illness, and the hallmark symptom is post-exertional malaise (PEM), characterized by severe and persistent muscle weakness that can last for days after trivial exertion. It may also be accompanied by other symptoms such as unrefreshing sleep, cognitive problems, orthostatic intolerance, periods of bloating and constipation, pain, difficulty regulating body temperature, dizziness and fainting, and a general feeling of unwellness.

Many people with ME struggle for years to get a correct diagnosis, which is often denied or confused with other disorders such as fibromyalgia and depression. A diagnosis is usually made by excluding other diseases that cause similar symptoms and based on patient history, clinical examination, and laboratory tests.

It is estimated that as many as 90 percent of people with ME remain undiagnosed or are misdiagnosed with another condition, and some of them are told that they do not have the illness at all. This is partly due to the absence of a diagnostic test, but also because physicians often do not recognize that it is ME rather than a psychological or environmental factor.

In contrast to CFS, ME is a global phenomenon with frequent epidemics and a sporadic prevalence worldwide, as shown by at least 75 epidemiological studies published in the medical literature between the 1930s and the 1980s. ME was once referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis, and is now often called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or ME/CFS.

The ME/CFS diagnosis is based on self-report of symptoms, but some symptoms such as muscle fatigability and long-lasting post-exertional muscle weakness can be validated objectively by using dynamometers. The criterion for ME/CFS deviates from the London criteria on two crucial points: exercise-induced fatigue has never been described as a distinctive feature of ME, and muscle fatigability is required in the ME/CFS criterion but not in the ME/CFS definition proposed by Hyde et al. (2017).