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Do you have ME or CFS?


Symptoms

Fatigue - This can be anything from mild fatigue, where extra sleep is required usually in the afternoons, to an overwhelming exhaustion which does not improve with rest or sleep, where a short walk is like a marathon and climbing the stairs is attempted in stages. Quickly become exhausted if try to do too much.


Brain Fog & Mental Confusion - Concentration is affected, for some it is almost non-existent and a real effort, reading can be difficult even impossible as by the end of a sentence the beginning is lost. Normal social interaction and conversation is slower often struggling with words sometimes unable to communicate effectively. Memory is impaired.


Pain - Often described as muscle or joint pain, stiff neck, lower back around the kidney area but in addition neuropathic pain a type of pain which isn’t really there, phantom pain caused by improper functioning of the nerves, pain which moves often experienced in the hands and feet, difficult to control unaffected by normal pain killers.


Temperature imbalance -  Most noticeable as night sweats and feeling the opposite to surroundings cold when everybody else is hot and vice versa, overheating particularly during activity or after meals.


Sore Throats - Repeated sore throats without obvious cause.


Headaches - Can be long lasting or even continuous may be all over the head or concentrated over the eyes.


IBS - Irritable Bowel Syndrome type symptoms bloating, restricted diet, constipation, diarrhea wind, stomach cramps.


Depression & anxiety - Feeling depressed is a common side effect of long term ME or CFS, it is not surprising considering the effect ME or CFS has, frustration and despair feelings of helplessness and an inability to cope are normal under the circumstances.


Movement - This can be slowed, jerky or uncoordinated, sometimes balance is affected, increased clumsiness often dropping things.


Lymph Nodes - May be tender or enlarged, in the armpits, neck or groan.


Sleep - Sleep pattern can often be reversed, asleep during the day and awake at night, or sleeping for prolonged periods several days, only getting up to eat, drink or toilet. Sometimes can’t sleep at all.


Activity level - Can often vary and some days almost feel normal able to do most things other days unable to do almost anything.


Auditory & Visual Sensitivity - Bright lights, noise can be intolerable, often seeking the sanctuary of a dark quiet room.


Touch Sensitive - Aware of the slightest touch or pressure can even become painful, tingling and other strange skin sensations.


Not every ME or CFS sufferer has all these symptoms, many have more and the severity varies, if you have 4 or more of these symptoms, including fatigue it is likely you have CFS, if 6 or more you probably have ME, in either case ME-Relief should help.


NHS & Diagnosis

The NHS have specialist ME/CFS centres throughout the UK where they provide diagnosis and management, currently (June 2017) most of these centres offer CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and GET (Graded Exercise Therapy) or Pacing as illness management options.


The ME Association Website has the latest information and a list of these centres, a GP referral is required if you wish to attend one of these centres for diagnosis or help with management ME/CFS.


ME Association Webpage - Opens in a new tab / window.


I suggest that you read the summary of the recommendations from the MEA ‘patient evidence’ report on CBT, GET and Pacing for more information - Personally without the help of ME-Relief I would not try GET, Pacing and CBT are merely coping strategies I would not consider any of these approaches to be treatments.

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