ME or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or Myalgic Encephalopathy (ME) or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is an increasingly common illness. In a general practice with 10,000 patients it is likely there are 40 patients with the diagnosis. It is a complex illness with many different symptoms. The cause and disease process is not understood and the difficulty & challenge for health professions is that there is no standard way of treating patients.
It is diagnosed after 4 months (in adults) of new-onset, unexplained fatigue, and a variety of other symptoms which may include the flowing :- disturbed sleep pattern, muscle +/- joint pains, headaches, painful lymph nodes, recurrent sore throat, cognitive dysfunction, dizziness & nausea, palpitations.
NICE guidelines recommend a pathway for investigation of patients presenting with these symptoms.
An early diagnosis is helpful because patients who are diagnosed promptly have a better chance of recovery.
General management strategies include: –
Symptom management, sleep management, advice about regular rest periods, relaxation advice, dietary advice, education and employment advice.
Patients with ME/CFS are often very sensitive to the drugs prescribed by doctors and suffer many side effects. It is recommended to start medication at a lower dose than usual and increase gradually. Many people are able to recover without traditional medication.
Having the support of people both who have recovered from this illness and who are in the process of recovering is of great importance to patients. It gives them hope that they can feel better and strategies to try that have worked for others. Salus Fatigue Foundation can offer both support and education in managing the symptoms of ME/CFS.
At Salus we have produced our GP Referral Form.If you have a patient who you feel may benefit from this service or you would like more information yourself please contact us. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org