Chronic Fatigue Syndrome /
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis [CFS/ME]
CFS/ME is a multisystem illness with symptoms including gastrointestinal, immunological and neurological features. The symptoms are widespread and can be very limiting. The typical symptoms with which patients present may include:
- Severe Physical Fatigue - A feature of this illness is that activities will be limited by the symptoms, and the symptoms will be accentuated by the energy expenditure, both of a physical and mental nature, and will manifest in ways which include overall body weakness or fatigue. The effects of this effort may last from one to several days, months, more prolonged periods of time, or even to the effect of being bed ridden.
- Cognitive/Neurological Dysfunction - Reduced attention span, reduced concentration, reduced immediate recall, confused thinking, disorientation, mental blanks, requiring longer time to process information, unable to access executive thought function, lacking in organisational capabilities, mental exhaustion, poor decision making / problem solving, mood changes, and reduced ability to tolerate stress.
- Sleep Disturbance - needing to sleep during the day, restlessness, difficulty waking up, resulting in latent insomnia and disturbed sleep which is unrefreshing.
- Generalised Musculoskeletal Pain - Common and frequent, expressed as muscle weakness, muscle pain, physical exhaustion, join pain, and generalised body pain.
- Gastrointestinal Features - Such as food intolerance, indigestion, abdominal pain, fluctuating weight, nausea, bloating/distension and altered bowel habits.
- Orthostatic Intolerance - Where there is a difficulty to maintain upright posture both when standing or prolonged sitting, expressed as dizziness / light headedness, vertigo or feeling faint. This further serves to contribute to the limiting of sustained activity.
- Headaches - These may be daily and long lasting, including migraines.
- Overload Phenomena - refers to informational, cognitive and sensory overload, which may result in a reduced tolerance for mental or emotional stress, which may lead to relapses in symptoms or cause mood changes.
- Perceptual / Sensory Disturbances - An increased sensitivity to light, sound, smell or touch.
- Loss of Thermostatic Ability - Which manifests in patients becoming unexpectedly hot or cold, including heat or cold intolerance.
- Immune Manifestations - Tender lymph nodes, recurrent sore throat, flu-like symptoms, recurrent infections, hypersensitivity to chemicals, medicals or allergies.
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