What is ME or CFS?
There are several different names for the condition of uncertain cause. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Post-Viral Fatigue Syndrome (PVFS) and Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS). All types of people and all ages are affected.
What are the symptoms?
· Severe fatigue
· Painful muscles and joints
· Disordered sleep
· Gastric disturbances
· Poor memory and concentration
· Can be triggered by viral infection, operation or accident
· Recurrent sore throat/swollen glands
· Headache or migraine
· Twitching muscles or cramps
· Sensitivity to bright lights, noise, odours or some foods
What is the cause?
The causes of ME are still being investigated but there is evidence that there are likely to be a number of factors involved and there may be several sub groups of the illness.
· Infections can be a trigger although there is no clear evidence that ME is a form of persistent, chronic infection
· Generic or environmental influence
What are the effects?
· A small percentage manage to return to completely normal health, although this may take a considerable period of time.
· The majority tend to fluctuate between periods of good and bad health.
· A minority remain severely affected and may show deterioration
What is the treatment?
There is currently no cure and no universally effective treatment. An early diagnosis and adequate rest during the acute phase or flare ups seems to bring the most significant improvement.