• Common Symptoms Of ME/CFS

    a) Fatigue. The most common feature for diagnosis is persistent fatigue - a fatigue unlike anything that has been experienced before and quite unlike the usual tiredness that one might feel after a busy day. Although fatigue must be present for a diagnosis, it isn't necessarily the worse symptom (as can be seen in the OU/AYME report 'Speaking Up') The fatigue will last for days or months following moderate effort and is not refreshed by sleep, in fact the patient often feels much worse in the morning. The fatigue may be physical or mental, can be severe and often fluctuating, and leads to significant reduction in normal activities. Dr. David Bell, pediatrician and expert in M.E. explains that the fatigue may appear as 'orthostatic intolerance' (dizziness or faintness when upright) rather than simple tiredness or sleepiness.

    b) Severe malaise (feeling 'poisoned'), particularly following physical or mental exertion.

    c) Persistent headache, which does not respond well to painkillers.

    d) Disturbance of normal sleep pattern. Hypersomnolence (sleeping almost constantly) is commonest initially, often progressing to sleep reversal (sleeping during the day and awake at night), or else insomnia.

    e) Neurological (brain) disturbance is invariably present (e.g. loss of attention, concentration, and short-term memory, forgetting names, inability to understand a written paragraph).

    f) Visual disturbance (eye pain, blurring, especially when reading).

    g) Sensitivity to sound and/or light.

    h) Recurrent sore throat and/or swollen glands.

    i) Muscle or joint pain,. The pain can be anywhere, although the worse pain is generally in the lower back and/or lower limbs. This pain can be very severe indeed and often not responsive to painkillers.

    j) Nausea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite.

    k) Balance disturbance, or dizziness on sudden change of position.

    l) Altered temperature regulation (feeling cold in summer/hot in winter)

    m) Facial pallor, especially with the onset of severe fatigue.

    n) Altered skin sensitivity, (sometimes feels like something crawling on the skin. Very sensitive to touch) numbness, tingling in arms and hands.

    o) Mood changes (irritability, depression, anger and frustration) that are out of character.

    A marked feature of ME is the fluctuation of symptoms from day to day, and the tendency for relapses and remissions over months. There is a combination of key symptoms that is remarkably similar from patient to patient: fatigue after minimal effort, malaise (feeling very ill) and cognitive (thinking) dysfunction are invariably present. It is important for medical professionals to recognise the multiplicity of symptoms that commonly occur, as well as 'fatigue'.

    Dr. David Bell states that the cause of M.E., is generally a viral illness which then has three factors which keep it going for months and years in a vicious circle:

    1. Dysfunctional Immune System
    2. Dysfunctional Autonomic Nervous System
    3. Resultant Low Blood Volume

    Common Symptoms Of ME/CFS is used with the kind permission from AYME