What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
This website is written by someone living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).
CFS is also known as Myalgic
It can be shortened to various acronyms, such as CFS, ME or CFS/ME or ME/CFS.
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What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome /Myalgic Encephalomyelitis?
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a chronic illness.
It is classed by the World Health Organisation as a neurological condition.
CFS can vary in intensity from mild to very severe.
A person with mild CFS may still be able to hold down a job.
A person with very severe CFS may be unable to speak, and need to be tube-fed.
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Characterisations and Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
The illness CFS is characterized by the
- profound fatigue
- cognitive dysfunction
- sleep abnormalities
- autonomic manifestations
The symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are
aggravated by physical, cognitive or emotional exertion. This is called post-exertional
malaise and is in addition to general fatigue which may be experienced as an ongoing symptom. The recovery period after exertion is often 24 hours or longer.
A multitude of other symptoms can also be experienced.
Many CFS symptoms are different for different patients.
Consensus Criteria for ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
The International Consensus Criteria for ME/CFS states
that one symptom of each of the following categories is required for diagnosis:
1. Neurological impairment
- Neurocognitive impairments (short-term memory
loss, impaired processing of information)
- Pain (pain in muscles, headaches, pain in muscles,
joints, abdomen or chest)
- Sleep disturbance ( unrefreshed sleep, unhelpful sleep patterns )
- Neurosensory, Perceptual and Motor
(inability to focus vision,
sensitivity to light, noise,
vibration, smell, taste, touch,
muscle weakness, twitching,
feeling unsteady on feet,
2. Immune, gastro-intestinal & genitourinary impairments
- Flu-like symptoms (sore throat, sinusitis,
cervical and/or axillary lymph nodes enlarged or tender on palpitation)
- Susceptible to virus infections with
recovery taking longer than normal
- Gastro-intestinal tract symptoms
- Genitourinary problems (urinary urgency or
- Sensitivities to food, medications, odors or
3. Energy metabolism impairments
- Cardiovascular problems
- Respiratory problems
- Loss of thermostatic stability
- Intolerance of extremes of temperature
The cause of CFS/ME is unknown.
There are no diagnostic tests for CFS/ME. The doctor
should exclude other diseases before making a diagnosis of ME/CFS.
Currently there are no drugs approved for
treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. There is no cure for CFS.
Medicines may be used to manage sleep disorders, pain,
headaches or other symptoms. But many patients find these bring little relief [Katherine T Owen: I don't take any drugs prescribed by the doctor but I do take natural healing supplements].
Pacing can help a person with CFS to live with the condition and keep the symptoms under control. Pacing
means finding a balance between activity and rest.
On this CFS website, I offer you information
about this chronic illness.
My long term aim is to bring you articles on
integrative healing methods.
Such methods can raise your quality of life
regardless of your level of health.
They potentially alleviate symptoms and
This article has been written by Katherine T Owen
Katherine is the webmaster at www.HealingCFSME.com. She is author of Be Loved, Beloved (available on lulu.com or kindle). She was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis in 1993.
Articles relevant to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - CFS/ME
Or click on the link below to move from What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? to read more
about the diagnostic criteria for this chronic illness.
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I am not a medical practitioner. The articles on this website are not
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