Myalgic encephalomyelitis, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and often called ME/CFS, is a disease that affects all age groups.
The cause of ME/CFS is unknown, but most cases seem to follow an infectious illness such as Covid-19 or mononucleosis, injury to the head, or surgery.
The illness is characterized by fatigue, which may be severe enough to prevent participation in activities that were easily performed before its onset. In the most severe cases, patients may become homebound or even bed-bound.
Patients also can suffer from sleep disturbances, autonomic dysfunction such as POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome), pain, and changes in thinking/cognitive ability. Another symptom that is unique to ME/CFS is post-exertional malaise, which can occur after all types of exertion – mental, physical, or emotional.
These symptoms may be delayed in onset, but eventually can cause severe fatigue, along with the worsening of other symptoms, and can last from a few hours to a few months. Other comorbidities (co-illnesses) may also be present, including mast cell activation (part of the immune system), hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (which affects skin, joints, and blood vessels), and cranial cervical (head and neck) instability.
Pacing one’s lifestyle and daily activities is vital because after patients crash following exertion and therefore experience PEM ( post-exertional malaise or excessive tiredness), their prognosis (likely outcome) can be permanently worsened.
There is no current cure for ME/CFS, but controlling the symptoms can often prove helpful.
We have recently established a clinic dedicated exclusively to this illness. Contact us at ME@physiciansqualitycare.com if you would like to be seen.