What is ME?

There is ongoing debate over the precise nature and definition of ME. This is what we know…

ME is a chronic, fluctuating illness affecting aprox. 250,000 people in the UK. It may be diagnosed as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome (PVFS). ME symptoms may include persistent exhaustion, muscle and/or joint pain, sleep disturbance, feeling flu-like and having problems with memory and concentration. The cardinal symptom of ME is ‘Post Exertional Malaise’… a general worsening of your symptoms following physical, or mental activity. This is much more disabling than simple fatigue, and is often delayed by a day, or two. If you don’t have this, you may have another illness, and not ME! Other symptoms are digestive problems (IBS like), headaches, recurrent sore throat, increased sensitivity to light, sound, alcohol, and some medicines. ME is a discrete disorder, with no specific test (as yet). There is no ‘CURE’ for ME, but your G.P. should at least be able to relieve some of the symptoms. The one thing that most sufferers have found helpful is ‘PACING’. That is, finding a level of activity (physical and mental) that you can maintain every day, that doesn’t cause worsening of your symptoms. It is very important that you learn for yourself, as soon as possible, how to avoid relapses. If you don’t learn this, you may become much worse, or even bed-bound! EXERCISE IS BAD FOR ME!




For further information:
Bristol NHS ME/CFS Clinic