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M.E (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)

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Introduction

M.E (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) M.E is a chronic illness that affects the body systems and their functioning. The changes seem to affect the nervous system, immune system and other body systems. The illness can also cause profound exhaustion, muscle pain, problems with mental functioning such as memory loss and poor concentration, malaise and other symptoms. The term M.E. originally stood for 'myalgic encephalomyelitis'. This literally means muscle pain (myalgic) and inflammation of the brain and spinal cord (encephalomyelitis). However, scientifically the term is inaccurate because there is no evidence of inflammation in the brain, also it is wrong as a description of the illness because not everyone has muscle pain. Some suggestions of a new names have been encountered, one being myalgic encephalopathy, meaning muscle pain and abnormality of brain function. Many people know the condition as M.E. but the formal term currently used by the medical profession is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Some people consider M.E. to be distinct from CFS, or as a subgroup of it. M.E. can affect men, women and children of all ages and backgrounds. It is estimated that there are over 150 000 people in the U.K with M.E.; nearly two thirds of them are women. A study showed that 1 in 250 people in the community have symptoms of CFS. Most people develop the illness between their early twenties and mid-forties. However M.E. ...read more.

Middle

Some evidence suggests that the inactivity and resulting loss of fitness (deconditioning) that occurs with M.E. can make the illness last longer and that graded exercise/ activity can help to reverse this. Also, by reintroducing activities avoided previously, your confidence will improve. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is used to support and help people through all sorts of illnesses. It can help to adjust to some of the consequences of being unwell and help to feel more in control of the illness. As with other illnesses such as cancer, its use does not imply that the cause of the illness is psychological. Special diets and nutritional supplementation can be a source of great confusion for people with M.E. There is a lot of conflicting advice and very little high quality scientific evidence to help you reach an informed decision. People with M.E. often seem to experience gut problems such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and it appears to be relatively common to develop an intolerance to certain foods such as wheat or dairy. Some people have difficulty maintaining their weight and sometimes nausea and a loss of appetite can be problematic. People who are more severely affected can have difficulties feeding themselves adequately. Other people find that because their activity levels decrease, they put on extra weight. If you have any worries or concerns about these sorts of problems or if you want to try a new approach to managing a dietary problem it is best to discuss them with your GP or specialist. ...read more.

Conclusion

In addition, modern brain imaging techniques are being used to explore various aspects of brain function. The body's response to exercise, stress, and alterations in the operation of your autonomic nervous system are also being evaluated. Traditional treatments are geared toward improving the quality of sleep and reducing pain. Sleep is crucial for many body functions (such as tissue repair, antibody production). Therefore, the sleep disorders that frequently occur in FMS patients are treated first because they may be a strong contributing factor to the symptoms of this condition. Medications that boost your body's level of serotonin and norepinephrine (neurotransmitters that modulate sleep, pain, and immune system function) are commonly prescribed in low doses, such as amitriptyline, cyclobenzaprine and Celexa. Ambien, clonazepam, and trazodone are just a few of the medications that may be used to aid sleep. Ultram may help with the pain, although stronger opioids may be needed for treating moderate to severe pain. Muscle relaxants and other drug categories may be prescribed as well. In addition to medications, most patients will need to use other treatment methods as well, such as trigger point injections with lidocaine, physical therapy, occupational therapy, acupuncture, acupressure, relaxation/biofeedback techniques, osteopathic manipulation, chiropractic care, therapeutic massage, or a gentle exercise program. Prognosis: Long term follow-up studies on FMS have shown that it is chronic. The impact that FMS has on daily living activities, including the ability to work a full-time job, differs among patients. Overall, studies show that FMS may be equally as disabling as rheumatoid arthritis. ...read more.

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