Myalgic Encephalomyelitis: What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

What Is Myalgic Encephalomyelitis?

chronic fatigue

Myalgic encephalomyelitis is a condition characterized by long-term, severe fatigue that interferes with an individual’s ability to function. Different from normal fatigue, myalgic encephalomyelitis is not caused by physical exertion or lack of sleep, and it is not resolved with rest. The condition may appear suddenly and out of nowhere, or symptoms way worsen in severity over a gradual timeframe.

Causes

The exact cause of myalgic encephalomyelitis is unknown, the following things may exacerbate the condition:

  • Viral Infections
    • Mononucleosis
    • Hepatitis
  • Extreme Stress
  • Autonomic Dysfunction
  • Hormone Imbalances
  • Weakened Immune Systems

Types

There is only one official type of myalgic encephalomyelitis.

Symptoms

  • Extreme, prolonged exhaustion
  • Severe lethargy after little to no exertion
  • Impaired focus or cognitive ability
  • Muscle pains and aches
  • Joint pain
  • Frequent headaches
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Frequent sore throat
  • Memory loss
  • Insomnia
  • Never feeling well-rested, even after adequate sleep

myalgic encephalomyelitis

Diagnosis

There is no definitive diagnostic test that will confirm myalgic encephalomyelitis. Diagnosis is based on a thorough assessment of symptoms. If it is suspected that you have chronic fatigue syndrome, your doctor will take a look at your history and consider the symptoms you report. They may have you keep a journal for a certain period of time to record your symptoms, making note of certain things like when you feel tired, the severity of your fatigue, what you were doing when the fatigue began, etc. This will help to determine if what you are suffering from is consistent with myalgic encephalomyelitis. Your doctor may also run blood tests and diagnostic imaging to rule out any other conditions that may cause similar symptoms.

Treatment

There is no cure for myalgic encephalomyelitis, but there are various ways to reduce the severity of symptoms. One way is through exercise therapy and conditioning. This involves strategic exercising to condition the body to physical activity. This therapy is not always effective and can be very difficult to actually accomplish, as the chronic fatigue prevents the patient from being able to exercise in the first place. Another treatment is through cognitive behavioral therapy, which may help patients find more efficient ways to live with their chronic fatigue and make the most of their energy levels. A final way to address the symptoms of myalgic encephalomyelitis is through a healthy diet, which ensures that the patient’s symptoms are not exacerbated by malnutrition.

myalgic encephalomyelitis

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