What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) is also known as Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Post-viral Syndrome or Post-viral Fatigue Syndrome. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis is a chronic, inflammatory condition that is a primarily neurological disease that is multi-systemic, affecting the immune system, the central nervous system, the endocrine system, the cardiovascular system, and the musculoskeletal system.
Myalgic encephalomyelitis can produce a broad spectrum of symptoms, including muscle weakness, severe fatigue, poor balance, pain, problems with vision, and difficulties with coordination and speech. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis affects the brain and spinal cord, both of which are involved in the motor functions of the body, processing thought and sensory signals. This causes, among other things, impairment of the thought process and loss of internal homeostasis (the maintenance of a consistent internal environment in response to external stressors). Cellular metabolism and communication is also disrupted, causing inefficiency in all biological processes within the body. This disruption can lead to poor energy levels as the cellular mitochondria (which process fuel to make energy) fail to generate enough fuel for the body to receive enough sustenance to undertake any physical, or mental, exertion.
It is believed that Myalgic Encephalomyelitis is basically a chronic viral attack on the body systems (immune, nervous, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal).
The symptoms of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis can often mimic those of other viral infections (colds, influenza, etc.), so it is often mistaken for other disorders and may be misdiagnosed as hypochondria, psychosomatic illness, or depression.
Myalgic encephalomyelitis is a relapse/remitting disease where new symptoms may occur during relapses or slowly building up over the duration of the illness. Although there is currently no cure for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, anti-viral drugs are being tested, in drug trials, in the hope of slowing down the onset of new symptoms.
Myalgic encephalomyelitis affects all ages, with peak incidence typically between 20 and 40 years, and is more common in women than in men.
What Are the Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
- When persistent fatigue does not show improvement with bed rest and reduce average daily activity by at least 50% for at least six months.
- If symptoms are made worse by exercise.
- When other chronic clinical conditions such as psychiatric ilnesses have been ruled out.
- Muscle weakness and pain, especially in the shoulders, upper arms, thighs.
- Numbness and/or pins and needles.
- Muscle tics (twitching).
- Joint pain.
- Tender swollen lymph nodes.
- Blurred vision.
- Chronic sore throat.
- Recurrent flu-like symptoms.
- Poor circulation (especially to the extremities).
- Frequent headaches.
- Irritable bowel syndrome.
- Increased sensitivity to light, touch, taste, and smell.
- Dryness of mucous membranes (throat, mouth,etc).
- Mouth ulcers.
- Uncomfortable and/or frequent urination.
- Poor concentration.
- Poor memory.
- Poor sleep patterns.
- Mood swings.
- Changes in personality.