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Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Symptoms

by Anna Dyer
  • Overview

    Myalgic encephalomyelitis, more commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome, is a condition that causes severe, prolonged fatigue that diminishes normal physical activity by 50 percent or more, according to the Mayo Clinic. While the debate continues with regard to the cause of myalgic encephalomyelitis, most patients are able to find effective treatments for their symptoms, and eventually recover from chronic fatigue.
  • Frequency

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of people affected by chronic fatigue syndrome is unknown; however, it most commonly affects women between the ages of 30 and 50. While the cause is unknown, it is not considered an infectious or contagious disease.
 
  • Possible Causes

    To date, researchers have only theories as to what causes chronic fatigue syndrome. Some suspect viruses such as herpes virus-6 or Epstein-Barr may lead to chronic fatigue, while others believe it may begin after an immune system response triggers inflammation of the central nervous system. Genetics, history of illness, stress, environmental triggers and age are all factors that may play a part in the development of this condition, according to the National Institutes of Health.
  • Fatigue

    Fatigue is the most prominent symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome. It is a very distinct fatigue. While many medical conditions and the toll of day-to-day life can result in occasional tiredness, fatigue caused by myalgic encephalomyelitis is not relieved by any amount of rest.
  • Diagnosis

    Diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome usually includes a review of unexplained symptoms that have been present for six months or longer and are accompanied by fatigue. These symptoms may include difficulty concentrating, impaired memory, painful joints without swelling or redness, muscle pain, headaches, tender lymph nodes in the neck and armpits and sore throat. A patient may experience all or just a few of these symptoms.
  • Other Symptoms

    In addition to the diagnostic symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, patients may suffer from a series of other symptoms, including abdominal discomfort, nausea, irritable bowel, diarrhea, night sweats and chills, shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, blurry vision, eye pain and sensitivity, jaw pain, changes in weight, abnormal allergic reactions, and various psychological problems such as anxiety, mood swings and depression.

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