WHAT IS M.E.?
M.E. stands for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.
It is a chronic and highly debilitating illness that affects a number of the body’s systems, especially the nervous and immune systems.
M.E. is also known has C.F.S. which stands for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It is sometimes also called Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome.
M.E. is an illness with many names. On My Journey Thru M.E. for simplicity I use the abbreviation ME/CFS whenever I am referring to this illness.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ME/CFS?
The main symptoms of ME/CFS are persistent and profound fatigue (not resolved by rest or sleep) and muscular skeletal pain (myalgia).
The physical symptoms are exacerbated by both physical and mental activity. The level of fatigue and pain experienced by ME/CFS sufferers can be equal to that of Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
ME/CFS is a variable and fluctuating illness, and ME/CFS sufferers generally experience a whole raft of symptoms, in addition to fatigue and pain, including, but not limited to:
- headaches (tension, pressure & migraines)
- cognitive dysfunction – confusion, inability to concentrate, poor memory (‘brain fog’)
- food intolerances & gastro, IBS type issues
- sensitivity to heat, light and sound
- body temperature imbalances (hot flushes, inability to get warm)
- immune system weaknesses (frequent colds)
- hormone imbalances (impact on menstrual cycle in women)
- low libido
- adrenal fatigue
- poor tolerance to stress
- sleep disturbances
- sore throats
- night sweats
- muscle cramps, twitching & pins & needle sensations
- blood sugar sensitivity
- persistent ‘flu like’ symptoms
This is not an exhaustive list of symptoms by any means, just the most common symptoms of ME/CFS.
Sources: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines on ME/CFS in the UK; Action For ME and M.E. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Practical Guide by Dr. Anne Macintyre.