Wednesday, 14 May 2014

ME AWARENESS MONTH: AN OVERVIEW OF ME / CFS

What is ME / CFS?


ME / CFS is a fluctuating, long-term condition affecting the immune and central nervous systems. It goes by many names.

Most people will have heard of ME even if they do not know a great deal about it. ME stands for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. Myalgia means muscle pain and encephalomyelitis means inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.The NHS tends to label the condition Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) but it is sometimes also diagnosed as Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome (PVFS). 


What causes ME / CFS?

It is unclear as yet what causes ME / CFS but it is thought that there are likely to be a number of factors involved. There is some evidence that certain infections can trigger the condition but it can also be triggered in other ways. 

More research is needed to identify the causes.


Who does ME / CFS affect?

ME / CFS can affect anyone. Estimates vary, but it is thought that there are around 250,000 people in the UK suffering from the condition.



What are the symptoms of ME / CFS?


People suffering from ME / CFS experience a wide range of symptoms and are affected to varying degrees. 


Here's an overview of some of the most common symptoms:

Fatigue

Extreme tiredness/exhaustion which does not go away with sleep or rest. A far more intense and drained feeling than ordinary tiredness. Results in weakness of the whole body.


Post Exertional Malaise


Flu-like feeling following minimal physical or mental exertion; sometimes immediate, sometimes delayed several hours or days. Often accompanied by sore throat and tender lymph glands



Sleep dysfunction

Inability to sleep or excessive sleeping. Sleep is unrefreshing.


Cognitive Difficulties


Forgetfulness, word-finding difficulties, slow information processing, attention difficulties, overall feeling of 'spaciness' or 'brain fog'

Pain

General muscle / joint pain and headaches


Mood Disturbances

Low mood, anxiety, panic attacks


Overload Phenomena

Dizziness, nausea, hypersensitivity to light, inability to block out background noise and focus on conversation, difficulties multi-tasking


Loss of thermostatic stability


Fluctuations in body temperature, excessive sweating and intolerance to extremes in air temperature


Is there a cure for ME / CFS?



There is no cure for ME / CFS. Certain treatments have been found to help some sufferers but not others. 

More information about ME / CFS can be found via the ME Association, Invest in ME or Action for ME.
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3 comments

  1. Did you do the illustrations for this? They are amazing!!! Particularly the brain fog one, I want that on my wall I love it!
    Sally x

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