You wake up in the morning, feeling physically tired. Your body pains all over. You feel nausea. You have had this cold which just goes on and on, from which you never seem to fully recover. Your head feels like it's in a fog. The throat glands hurt. Your confused. This is going to be a bad day.
Not everyone feels this bad. Some have minor symptoms, others feel like dying. One thing for sure though, if it is ME or CFS and you don't get the right advice or help - your going to get worse before you get better and no one is going to understand you.
First, the difference. ME is the
grand daddy of CFS or like migraine compared to a headache. During the last couple
of decades, an alarming number of people have contracted this terrible illness
- many without realising.
Formerly nicknamed the 'Yuppie Disease' it certainly does not affect just yuppies. However, the modern yuppie is a perfect candidate for this sometimes crippling illness. Stress, pressure, and general fast lane living are ideal breeding grounds, as are shock, pressure, or a lingering viral infection. In general, the illness seems to be triggered by an infection or virus. It appears that the immune and central nervous systems go crazy, reacting against non existent attacks and making you feel seriously ill. Once this trigger is activated, many other factors such as social conditions, inadequate rest, physical or mental
stress, food toxins or dietary inadequacies further compound and prolong the illness. As the symptoms vary tremendously between people, finding an overall cause and treatment is extremely difficult.
Many doctors with their typical
tunnel vision, refuse to accept the existence of ME or CFS as a medical bodily
condition. Instead they pronounce that you need a shrink, or some other psychiatric
attention. That it's just severe depression or even worse, in need of some exercise.
Perhaps the same horse blinkered fraternity still believe electric shock treatment
is the cure all for all.
While at the opposite end of the scale, wiser doctors have not only accepted the existence of ME/CFS, they are researching it exhaustively for the benefit of all sufferers. Finding a sympathetic ear from the medical profession can be difficult. If you encounter this problem, our advice is report the doctor for negligence by way of medical inadequacy and find another surgery - quick!
Coping with ME/CFS:
1. Careful balance of rest and activity. Never overdo it when those 'good' days come along and rest with a little activity on bad days.
2. Eat a little of everything but not too much of one thing. Avoid synthetic, preserved, canned or junk food. Balance your diet with plenty of fresh greens, fruit and natural products.
3. Take a daily natural supplement of Antitoxin and Mineral/Vitamins.
4. Avoid stressful conversations or any situation that creates strain, whether physical or mental. Don't rush anything.
5. Always remember that although you feel terrible inside you look all right to others on the outside. Sympathetic ears are rare.
6. Do not believe anyone - doctors included that tell you it's all in the mind. It is not! It is a medically proven physical illness.
7. Confusion arises from misunderstanding. Understanding the illness and accepting the limitations will speed recovery.
8. If you have a partner, discuss everything with them so that they understand. You need all the support available.
9. Join your local ME or Action for ME Association (see INDEX). It will help you tremendously.
Latest Research Notes: [Compiled by Dr. E. C-Vanci]
Using PET scans,
brainstem abnormalities have been clearly shown in patients with CFS/ME. In particular,
a reduced blood flow in the area was apparent. However, the prohibitive cost of
PET scans will make them unlikely in the UK for some time.
Mental impairment has been shown to be much higher in ME/CFS patients after any exercise. Unlike depressed or normal people who showed very little change in attention ability after exercise.
Women with ME/CFS have a higher incidence of gynaecological like missed periods, ovarian cysts and irregular cycles.
Research in England shows higher levels of serotonin in ME/CFS patients. Low levels of serotonin create depression and sleep disorders, while higher levels induce fatigue and poor response to antidepressants.
In Sweden doctors have found low levels of serum DHEA-S. This hormone is secreted by the adrenal glands and is related to things like memory, stress, anxiety, sleep and depression. Which are all classic in ME/CFS cases. In many patients the adrenal glands were at 50% reduced size than normal.
Further Reading: (Click on any subject)
ME - It's history
Fatigue - The difference between ME and CFS
Memory - poor cognitive functioning with ME
Other points or links for information:-
Young Peoples ME Group (YPG) http://www.cix.co.uk/~meaypg/index.htm
UK Listing of ME & Action for ME addresses. Click Here
CFS on-line doctors reports http://my.webmd.com/topic_summary/1654
Action for ME main site.
ME Association main site.
Southampton ME group
Virtually housebound? Join the 25% ME Group. 52 Downfield Street. Tollcross. Glasgow. G32 8RT
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