Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
What is myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS)?
Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) (say "my-AL-jik en-seh-fuh-loh-my-uh-LY-tus") is a disease that makes you feel so ill that you can't do your normal daily activities. Sleeping problems occur along with extreme fatigue that doesn't get better with rest. Any kind of activity often makes your symptoms worse. This is called post-exertional malaise. You may have other symptoms like problems with thinking. Another name for this condition is systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID).
What causes ME/CFS?
Doctors don't know what causes ME/CFS. It seems to follow after a flu-like illness like Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV). High stress may also lead to ME/CFS for some people. And changes in a person's immune system may also play a role. It's likely that a number of factors or triggers come together to cause ME/CFS.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms can vary with ME/CFS. If you have ME/CFS:
You feel exhausted all or much of the time. And it doesn't get better with rest.
Your symptoms may flare up after a mental or physical activity that used to be no problem for you. Often there is a delay before it starts. And it can take days, weeks, or more to feel better.
You have problems sleeping. Or you may wake up feeling tired or not rested.
It may be harder for you to think clearly, to concentrate, and to remember things.
You may feel dizzy, weak, or in more pain when you have been standing or sitting upright for a long time.
You may also have headaches, muscle and joint pain, a sore throat, and tender glands in your neck or armpits.
Depression is common with ME/CFS, and it can make your other symptoms worse.