Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) causes persistent fatigue (exhaustion) that affects everyday life and doesn't go away with sleep or rest. For most people, symptoms will improve over time.
CFS is also known as ME, which stands for myalgic encephalomyelitis. Myalgia means muscle pain and encephalomyelitis means inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Both CFS and ME are commonly used terms.
Who is affected?
Around 250,000 people in the UK have CFS.
Anyone can get CFS, although it is more common in women than in men. It usually develops in the early 20s to mid-40s. Children can also be affected, usually between the ages of 13 and 15.
How it affects quality of life
Most cases of CFS are mild or moderate, but up to one in four people with CFS have severe or very severe symptoms. These are defined as follows:
- Mild: you are able to care for yourself, but may need days off work to rest.
- Moderate: you may have reduced mobility, and your symptoms can vary. You may also have disturbed sleep patterns, and sleep in the afternoon.
- Severe: you are able to carry out minimal daily tasks, such as brushing your teeth, but occasionally you may need to use a wheelchair. You may also have difficulty concentrating.
- Very severe: you are unable to carry out any daily tasks for yourself and need bed rest for most of the day. Often, in severe cases, you may experience an intolerance to noise and become very sensitive to bright lights.
Unrefreshing sleep; widespread muscle joint pain, sore throat; headaches of a type not previously experienced; cognitive difficulties; chronic, often severe, mental and physical exhaustion and other characteristic symptoms in a previously healthy and active person. Persons with CFS may report additional symptoms including muscle weakness, increased sensitivity to light, sounds and smells, orthostatic intolerance, digestive disturbances, depression and cardiac and respiratory problems. It is unclear if these symptoms represent co-morbid conditions or are produced by an underlying etiology of CFS. CFS symptoms vary from person to person in number, type, and severity.
Outlook & what TLC Partners can do to help you overcome this disorder
CFS can last for years. For most people, symptoms improve over time. Many people make a full recovery and return to work and normal activities. Others may have symptoms that persist for long periods.
For those who take the appropriate advice the condition can improve very quickly.
The first step is to evaluate why you have developed M.E. This is usually something that has built up over a period of time and is predominantly stress related.
Engage a counsellor or Life coach to really identify the root cause as then you are able to make adjustments to your lifestyle to enable full recovery.
Very important is to eat and drink as healthy as possible; lots of water and preferably organic food. What we put into our bodies is imperative and as a society we are filling them with more and more chemicals from the food we eat and the society we live in than they can now cope with.
Exercise regularly. That means initially as often as you feel physically able to as M.E can be very debilitating to your physical health. Moving forward this should ideally be daily.
Take time out each day for yourself even if that is only to take your lunch break away from your desk or to have a cup of tea for ten minutes sitting down.
Full recovery is possible if you choose to adjust your lifestyle. However if you continue to lead your lifestyle in the way which you have been which has lead to the M.E this illness can carry on for years, listen to your body and it will take care of you.