Chronic fatigue, known as Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a debilitating disorder often characterised by extreme fatigue or tiredness, that doesn’t get better with rest, and cannot be explained by an underlying medical condition. CFS is also referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis (“ME)” or systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID).
Its exact cause is unknown, but it is believed that a combination of a genetic predisposition and environmental factors is the reason why some people have the condition. Without a specific test, diagnosis is based on its symptoms and exclusion of other causes. The treatment given is aimed at managing lifestyle and relieving symptoms through alternative therapies, or conventional medicine.
Each person with ME has his or her own unique set of symptoms. The intensity of the condition can vary person to person. To qualify the patient must have fatigue, sleep problems, post-exertional malaise. In addition, they must also have cognitive impairment (brain fog). Fatigue and a drop-in activity level must be present for a minimum of 6 months.
For anyone to quality they must have unexplained fatigue that is persistent, isn’t caused by on-going exertion, isn’t better after substantial rest or sleep, and has resulted in a significant reduction in activity level.
Below are more ME symptoms:
- Extreme, or prolonged exhaustion and feeling ill after mental or physical activity?
- Muscle aches and pains?
- Impaired memory or concentration?
- Feeling tired after you’ve slept?
- Frequent sore throats?
- Joint pain with no swelling or redness?
- Tender lymph nodes in your neck and near to your breast?
Because there is no blood test, scan or anything else that can be used as a diagnostic marker to diagnose ME, the condition is diagnosed on the lack of another explanation and on presenting symptoms.
Other conditions that are a consideration, include sleep disorders, autoimmune disorders, clinical depression and heart disease and including hypothyroidism.
The above conditions may occur as overlapping conditions with ME symptoms.