Myalgic encephaloypathy and
chronic fatigue syndrome
- Myalgic Encephalopathy/Encephalomyelitis.
(ME/CFS) can cause a wide range of rather strange and baffling
symptoms. The primary and most distinct one is extreme
and debilitating exhaustion.
- People with ME/CFS experience profound, overwhelming exhaustion,
both mental and physical, which is worsened
by exertion, and is not relieved (or not
completely relieved) by rest. This kind of tiredness
is usually made worse with exercise. This fatigue is often
so severe that activities such as taking a shower, brushing
your teeth or even just talking to somebody may be too strenuous
- It has been said that "everyday 'normal' fatigue compared
to chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis-fatigue
is like a match compared to an atomic bomb!"
- According to the Fukuda-definition*, the fatigue state must
last for at least six months or more to receive
a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Short-term memory loss
- Sufferers of ME/CFS often experience
considerable loss of short-term memory, mental confusion,
forgetfulness, difficulty thinking, concentration problems
and mental fatigue, mental confusion or brain fog.
- Sufferers regularly report sensory overload,
leading to increased fatigue and even migraine
- Additional signs may be experienced according to the
2003 Canadian Definition. These include aphasia, agnosia,
and loss of cognitive body map:
Aphasia (or aphemia) is a loss or impairment
of the ability to produce and/or comprehend language,
due to brain damage. It is not a result of deafness
or muscle paralysis.
Agnosia (a-gnosis, "non-knowledge", or loss
of knowledge) is a loss of ability to recognize objects,
persons, sounds, shapes or smells while the specific
sense is not defective nor is there any significant
memory loss. It is usually associated with brain injury
or neurological illness, particularly after damage to
the temporal lobe.
Swollen lymph nodes
Fibromyalgia-related pain-symptoms are
often a part of the ME/CFS-symptoms:
- The body aches with muscle and migrating joint
pain (without redness or joint swelling, and may
be transitory), headaches (particularly
of a new type, severity, or duration for example sore eyes.
Patiens often describe that "it feels as somebody continually
pushes with a sharp object from behind the eyes"),
lymph node pain, sore throats,
and abdominal pain.
- Patients also talk about testicular pain,
bone pain, neuralgia and
painful skin sensitivity. Chest pain that
has been attributed variously to microvascular disease or
cardiomyopathy (a disorder of the heart
muscle) by researchers, and patients also report painful
abnormally rapid heartbeat (tachycardia).
had excellent results in fighting Fibromyalgia symptoms
with magnetic field therapy!
Sensitivity to light (Photophobia)
Sensitivity to noise
Sensitivity to odors
Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS)
- People with ME/CFS are often sensitive to light
(photophobia), sound and multiple chemicals (MCS: Multiple
chemical sensitivity) and .
- Lots of ME/CFS-patients talk about an increase in
allergic-type sensitivity to foods, scents and perfumes
- Patients with pre-existing allergies like asthma or similar
conditions often report a worsening of symptoms.
- Patients often experience dizziness and/or nausea.
(I have good success treating dizziness and nausea with
- There are also many reports of a sensitivity to
medications. This of course often complicates
chemical sensitivity MCS:
Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), also known
as "20th Century Syndrome", "Environmental
illness", "Sick Building Syndrome",
Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance (IEI), can be
defined as a "chronic, recurring disease caused
by a person's inability to tolerate an environmental
chemical or class of foreign chemicals"...
:.."MCS patients do not have either somatic or
psychologic symptoms under chemical-free conditions,
and symptoms may be provoked only when exposed to
...However, all agree that exposure to chemical irritants
precipitates sometimes disabling symptoms such as
migraine headache, sinus congestion, itchy
eyes and throat, nausea and vomiting, indigestion,
irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, bloating,
rashes, asthma, muscle aches, joint aches, bladder
problems, fatigue, flu like symptoms, depression,
irritability, anxiety, mania, inability to concentrate,
stupor, sleepiness, insomnia, tremor, paresthesia
(loss of sensation), orthostatic hypotension...
chemical sensitivity MCS (Wikipedia)
Poor temperature control
|- ME/CFS patients often frequently run a low fever,
or report sweating, feeling too cold or too hot. (Usually
without measurable fever temperature.) This could possibly
be due to involvement of the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus
regulates body temperature.
the possible involvement of the thalamus in ME, CFIDS, CFS
see the ongoing clinical study in Berne, Switzerland (Dr.
med. Stefan Begré 2006)
- Many CFS sufferers talk about feeling "as if the caught
the flu that never goes away". Some report of "sometimes
or often being so sick that the actually feel like dying".
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
frequent abdominal pain, abdominal
gas and nausea.
...In gastroenterology, irritable bowel syndrome
(IBS) or spastic colon is a functional bowel disorder
characterized by abdominal pain and
changes in bowel habits which are
not associated with any abnormalities seen on routine
Bowel Syndrome (Wikipedia)
It is fairly common and makes up 20–50% of visits
to gastroenterologists. Lower abdominal pain, and
bloating associated with alteration of bowel habits
and abdominal discomfort relieved with defecation
are the most frequent symptoms...
... IBS may have an acute onset and develop after
an infectious illness characterised by two
or more of the following: fever,
vomiting, acute diarrhea,
positive stool culture. This post-infective syndrome
has consequently been termed "post-infectious
Unrefreshing rest and sleep
Feverish dreams / Nightmares
|- A classic ME/CFS symptom is unrefreshing
sleep, rest and/or insomnia.
- Maintaining a proper sleep schedule is difficult for many
- Feverish and vivid dreams (often nightmares)
are another classic symptom in many people with CFS. This
obviously makes an unsdisturbed sleep pattern even more difficult
- Patients report that exercise actually worsens the insomnia
and the unrefreshing sleep.
Disturbances in the hormonal system
| - Hormonal abnormalities may include abnormal
vasopressin metabolism and a blunted ACTH response, leading
to hypothyroidism and/or low cortisol.
- Disturbances in the hormonal system also lead to a reduced
ability to respond to physiological and emotional stress.
Patients sometimes show abnormally low
levels of testosterone and/or growth hormone
and other important hormones.
Some people with ME/CFS develop a condition in which
the heart rate increases and the blood
pressure drops when they stand or sit up from a
reclining position. It's often described as feeling "lightheaded",
feeling faint or dizzy.
Orthostatic hypotension (also known as postural hypotension
and, colloquially, as head rush) is a sudden fall
in blood pressure, typically greater than 20/10 mm
Hg, that occurs when a person assumes a standing position.
Symptoms, which generally occur after sudden standing,
include dizziness, lightheadedness,
or dimmed vision (possibly to the
point of momentary blindness), and syncope (temporary
loss of consciousness).
Psychological / Psychiatric symptoms
|- Emotional lability, anxiety, depression,
irritability, and sometimes a curious emotional "flattening"
(most likely due to exhaustion), may manifest in ME/CFS patients.
- Many of these symptoms can be directly caused by the ME/CFS
mechanism or may just be secondary symptoms created by the
syndrome, as many chronic pain or illness patients also show
similar psychiatric issues.
- CFS/CFIDS/ME patients with pre-existing psychiatric symptoms
may report that their symptoms worsen with the onset of CFS.
- Treatment for psychiatric symptoms alone does not relieve
the physical symptoms of CFS, indicating that the disease
is not psychological in nature. (!)
* Fukuda definition:
Fukuda K, Straus S, Hickie I, Sharpe M, Dobbins J, Komaroff
"The chronic fatigue syndrome: a comprehensive approach to
its definition and study. International Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Study Group.". Ann Intern Med 121 (12): 953-9.