Living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) / Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Myalgic encephalomyelitis is a disabling and complex illness. People with ME/CFS are often not able to do their usual activities. At times, ME/CFS may confine them to bed. People with ME/CFS have overwhelming fatigue that is not improved by rest. ME/CFS may get worse after any activity, whether it’s physical or mental. This symptom is known as post-exertional malaise (PEM). Other symptoms can include problems with sleep, thinking and concentrating, pain, and dizziness. People with ME/CFS may not look ill. However,
- People with ME/CFS are not able to function the same way they did before they became ill.
- ME/CFS changes people’s ability to do daily tasks, like taking a shower or preparing a meal.
- ME/CFS often makes it hard to keep a job, go to school, and take part in family and social life.
- ME/CFS can last for years and sometimes leads to serious disability.
- At least one in four ME/CFS patients is bed- or house-bound for long periods during their illness.
Anyone can get ME/CFS. While most common in people between 40 and 60 years old, the illness affects children, adolescents, and adults of all ages. Among adults, women are affected more often than men. Whites are diagnosed more than other races and ethnicities. But many people with ME/CFS have not been diagnosed, especially among minorities.
Researchers have not yet found what causes ME/CFS, and there are no specific laboratory tests to diagnose ME/CFS directly. Therefore, doctors need to consider the diagnosis of ME/CFS based on in-depth evaluation of a person’s symptoms and medical history. It is also important that doctors diagnose and treat any other conditions that can cause similar symptoms. Even though there is no cure for ME/CFS, some symptoms can be treated or managed.
What are the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome?
The onset of chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms can be fairly sudden (over a few days or so), or more gradual. CFS should be suspected if the following symptoms are not explained by any other condition, and persist for a minimum of six weeks in adults, or four weeks in children and young people:
- Extreme tiredness (fatigue) that is worsened by activity, but is not caused by excessive exertion, and is not significantly relieved by rest.
- Post-exertional malaise (PEM): feeling unwell with no energy after activities, with a worsening of symptoms that:
- Often doesn’t start until hours or days after the activity.
- Is much greater that you would expect for that particular activity.
- Has a prolonged recovery time that may last hours, days, weeks or longer.
- Unrefreshing sleep or sleep disturbance, which may include:
- Feeling exhausted, feeling flu-like and stiff on waking.
- Broken or shallow sleep, altered sleep pattern or excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia).
- Difficulties with conscious mental activities, such as thinking, reasoning, or remembering (cognitive difficulties), sometimes described as ‘brain fog’. This may include:
- Problems finding words or numbers.
- Difficulty in speaking.
- Slow to respond.
- Short-term memory problems.
- Difficulty concentrating or multitasking.
- Inability to engage fully in work, educational, social or personal activities.
The diagnosis can only be confirmed after three months of persistent symptoms, but only if the symptoms cannot be explained by any other condition.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) / Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) during COVID19
CDC is working with partners and stakeholders to better understand post-COVID conditions and how they affect people with ME/CFS. Currently, there are limited data and information about the long-term effects of COVID-19. A recent report found that COVID-19 can result in prolonged illness, even among adults without underlying chronic medical conditions. Future studies will help identify whether some people with delayed recovery develop an ME/CFS-like illness.
It is especially important for people at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 to protect themselves. Currently, ME/CFS is not included in the list of medical conditions that increase risk of severe illness from COVID-19. However, people with ME/CFS might consider taking extra precautions to reduce their risk of getting COVID-19. We are learning more about COVID-19 every day. As new information becomes available, CDC will continue to update our recommendations and guidance.
International Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS/ME) Day - May 12th, 2022
International ME/CFS Day raises awareness about ME/CFS, a widespread and debilitating condition. This event promotes a greater understanding of ME/CFS and the impact it can have on a person’s life.
International ME/CFS Day is set to fall on the birth date of the pioneering nurse, Florence Nightingale (for information about Miss Nightingale view the National Nurses Week listing. This event also wraps around this birth date).
We stand together with the millions of people who suffer from ME/CFS and other chronic illnesses. Also raise awareness through education, outreach, and research, and by listening to the CFS/ME community. Upholding its commitment to CFS/ME outreach and communication
We support and actively promote awareness in the importance of taking care of person with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) / Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) to ensure it remains healthy and be able to improve their life activities.
We offer a regenerative approach to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) / Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) with Nutrition Infusion, Coenzyme Infusions or Cellular Therapy Program.
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