“What is M.E/CFS?”
Recently, I have had quite a few people asking me “What is M.E/CFS?“
“All my senses are hypersensitive. Noise is painful & bright lights hurt my eyes.”
“My legs ache continuously.”
“Even on the hottest day I feel cold, especially my hands and feet.”
“My energy is used up so quickly, even on simple tasks like sitting up, or getting dressed.”
What is CFS?
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is characterised by prolonged fatigue associated with a wide range of accompanying symptoms. It has also been called post-viral fatigue syndrome or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME).
CFS can affect people of any age. However, it’s most common between the ages of 13 and 45. It’s estimated that about 250,000 people in the UK have CFS, with women affected more often than men.
In general, the symptoms of CFS aren’t improved by bed rest and can be worsened by physical or mental activity.
Following are the main symptoms experienced by most sufferers –
Fatigue: Utter exhaustion, often to the point of collapse, totally different from the normal tiredness healthy people experience. Fatigue levels fluctuate over the day and are different from patient to patient
Loss of memory or concentration: Poor short- and medium-term memory, mental confusion and mental fatigue; the brain seems to run out of steam. Difficulty concentrating, word-finding and thinking. Inability to plan. These symptoms together are commonly called ‘brain fog’
Painful and mildly enlarged lymph nodes in neck or armpits
Unexplained muscle soreness/aching: intense muscle and joint pain, especially in the lower limbs, which is usually difficult to relieve with standard painkillers.
Pain that moves from one joint to another without swelling or redness
Headache of a new type, pattern or severity
Extreme exhaustion after normal exercise
Below are some additional symptoms which are very common. The ones marked with a (+) are ones I personally suffer with-
Abdominal pain +
Alcohol intolerance +
Difficulty detoxing +
Dry eyes and mouth
Food sensitivities +
Mitochondrial disfunction +
Severe nightmares +
Night sweats +
Depression, anxiety, panic attacks +
Shortness of breath +
Tingling sensations +
High or low blood pressure +
High or low body temp +
Jelly legs +
Light/noise sensitivity +
Lack of motivation +
Loss of speech +
Low grade fever
Muscle pain +
Muscle weakness +
Sensitivity to prescription medicines +
Short temper +
Sore throat +
Swollen and painful glands +
Unrefreshed sleep +
Visual disturbances/Inability to focus +
Waking dreams +
Irritable bowel syndrome +
Lack of concentration +
People can be all ranges of severity in this illness, they stretch from people being bed-bound and fed by a drip, to living relatively normal lives, so long as they keep an eye on not doing too much and by looking after themselves. However, alot of patients may at some point suffer relapses, which could be mild or severe.
M.E/CFS is a very unexplained, complicated, confusing illness to understand for both the patient & all their loved ones around.
At this time there is no known cure for CFS. The NHS tell us to rest and ‘pace ourselves’. There are alternative therapies aswell but also with no known cure, but may bring some relief to symptoms.