Greater than 1 million People have myalgic encephalomyelitis/continual fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). Whereas researchers tie it to issues involving the mind, immune system, and vitality metabolism, the causes of the sickness and a treatment stay undiscovered. Dana J. Brimmer, PhD, a visiting scientist on the CDC, explains what docs do know.
Q: What is that this illness?
Brimmer: Myalgic encephalomyelitis/continual fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a severe, long-term sickness that may radically alter sufferers’ lives and final for years. Individuals with ME/CFS typically have [symptoms that include moderate, severe, and substantial] ache, [debilitating] fatigue, and sleep issues.
Whereas there isn’t a treatment, a analysis can assist sufferers and households by giving them a greater understanding of ME/CFS and information about managing signs. As well as, [the National Academy of Sciences (NAS)] now provides docs the steering they should consider and handle the situation.
What are the signs?
In accordance with the [NAS], ME/CFS has 5 major signs:
- A big drop in skill to carry out an individual’s common actions that lasts for greater than 6 months and is accompanied by fatigue
- Signs that worsen after doing bodily or psychological actions that will have been “common” earlier than they grew to become in poor health (also referred to as post-exertional malaise, or PEM)
- Unrefreshing sleep
- Issue pondering, processing info, or concentrating
- Signs that worsen when an individual stands up however enhance when mendacity down (also referred to as orthostatic intolerance)
Many sufferers with ME/CFS say that PEM is the symptom that interferes with their lives probably the most. PEM is just not all the time predictable, so it’s laborious to plan actions. For instance, an individual with ME/CFS might be able to go to the grocery retailer with out issues on some days. However on others, the journey may confine them to mattress relaxation for a number of days after. Individuals with ME/CFS can also have ache, a sore throat, or flu-like signs.
What if an individual suspects ME/CFS?
Discuss to a health care provider. Solely a well being care supplier could make a analysis. Since signs fluctuate, some sufferers discover it useful to maintain observe of signs and produce an inventory to the primary appointment. Individuals can discover details about ME/CFS on the web sites of the CDC and the Nationwide Institutes of Well being (NIH).
How can I assist somebody with ME/CFS?
ME/CFS impacts sufferers, households, and mates. An important assist you possibly can present is to know that the sickness is actual and has long-term penalties. The severity of ME/CFS varies by particular person — for instance, some individuals can nonetheless work, however others are very sick and homebound.
The sickness may fluctuate for a single affected person — generally she could seem “positive,” whereas different instances, she could also be too in poor health to do regular actions. Attempt to perceive these ups and downs, and ask what you are able to do to assist.
By the Numbers
2x: Variety of ladies who’ve ME/CFS as in comparison with males, though individuals of each sexes can have the situation.
30s and 40s: Ages when the situation most frequently seems. However it can also have an effect on younger children, teenagers, and older adults.
$17 billion to $24 billion: Quantity in annual medical payments and misplaced revenue because of ME/CFS within the U.S.
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