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12th May: World Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) Awareness Day

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Overview: World Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Day - 12th May

12th May is marked as World Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Day to spread awareness about this rare medical condition, which was first observed in 1993. Thomas Hennessy chose the day of 12th May to commemorate the birthday of Florence Nightingale who was the founder of modern nursing, and, in her later ages, she displayed symptoms of an illness resembling myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)/chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or fibromyalgia.

Governments, private organizations and doctors spread CFS awareness and other chronic neurological and immunological diseases like Addison disease, Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivity, Gulf War syndrome and Alzheimer's disease on 12th May every year.  

In the past, CFS/ME is a rare medical condition. Almost 5 to 7 million Americans are diagnosed with CFS/ME. Reports say that the global number of CFS/ME victims has increased from 17 to 24 million in recent years.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: 

  • What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
  • Causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Risk Factors of CFS
  • Symptoms of ME/CFS
  • Diagnosis and Treatment
  • Why Is It Important to Spread Awareness?

What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Chronic fatigue syndrome is simply a disorder affecting people of any age group. However, the disorder is more complex than it may sound. It is a complex neuroimmune disease that leads to chronic fatigue. Patients suffer from this rare condition for at least 6 months to forever.

This is also called myalgic encephalomyelitis in the medical world. Moreover, this disease was also known as systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID), chronic fatigue immune deficiency syndrome (CFIDS) or post-viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS).

Causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Unfortunately, scientists and doctors have not found any plausible cause for chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS. However, scientists have speculated that the following conditions may lead to such chronic fatigue among human beings:

  • Family history: If your family has a record of CFS, you are more likely to be affected by CFS.
  • Infection: A severe bacterial or viral infection may also lead to chronic fatigue syndrome. Epstein-Barr Virus, human herpesvirus 6, Rubella virus and Ross River virus (RRV) can weaken your immunity system. Moreover, bacteria like Coxiellaburnetti and Mycoplasma pneumonia can also harm your body system.  
  • Physical or emotional trauma: Physical and mental trauma can also trigger the possibility of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. Some of the common examples can be complex surgery and chronic depression.
  • Problems with energy usage: Unable to use energy can be a reason, but there is no proper explanation for this condition.

Risk Factors of CFS

Indeed, there is still no proven reason for chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis. However, doctors have concluded that the following factors may increase the chances:

  • Age: Though CFS can attack any age group, people within the range of 40 to 50 years of age are prone to CFS.
  • Sex: It is still unknown how sex is a risk factor for CFS. Women are twice or four times at risk of developing CFS. 
  • Genetics: Genetics might play a vital role in developing CFS.
  • Stress: Excessive stress and mental pressure can lead to CFS/ME.
  • Unfavorable environment: An unhealthy and unhygienic environment is the home of several viruses and bacteria that can accelerate the risk factor for CFS/ME.  
  • Other medical issues: Certain medical complications like postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome or fibromyalgia may be a potential risk factor for CFS. 

Symptoms of ME/CFS

Symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis differ from one individual to another based on the severity of the disorder. However, one of the most common symptoms of CFS/ME is prolonged fatigue and difficulty performing normal daily activities. 

You can also spot the following changes in your daily life:

  • Extreme fatigue after any physical or mental activity
  • Feeling tired even after a night's sleep
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Chronic insomnia
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Sudden weakness and dizziness after standing
  • Frequent headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain without any swelling or redness
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes around the neck and areas of armpits 

Now, you may think these are very common symptoms of stress and are healed after some time. They indeed reduce after a short time. But, if you notice no change in your suffering after 2 days, you should visit a general physician. A general physician will understand better and then refer you to a neurologist. 

Diagnosis and Treatment

Unfortunately, there is no other way to detect chronic fatigue syndrome. Moreover, doctors must wait for more serious and dense symptoms to confirm if you have CFS. 

Similarly, there is no cure for myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome. At most, doctors can prescribe you some pain relief medicines. However, if you understand that your symptoms started showing after your constant stress exposure, your doctor might suggest a psychiatrist. 

Why Is It Important to Spread Awareness?

Since no prominent or visible symptoms distinguish CFS from any other neurological disease, people do not pay much attention to this rare and complex disorder. Therefore, it is important to spread awareness among people and educate them about the severity of the disease. People wear blue clothes and dye their hair blue to spark the energy of spreading awareness of CFS/ME.

In short, CFS/ME is a serious health issue; you should be careful about it. Since there is no known solid reason for this disorder, you must give extra care to yourself and your near ones. People affected by CFS can face multiple complications in their daily lives. Rush to your nearby healthcare service center to initiate diagnosis immediately. 

Metropolis Healthcare is one of India's leading diagnostic centers. Visit your nearest Metropolis Healthcare Centre for any pathological test. They have a good reputation for satisfying their clients.

Some of the advantages of Metropolis Healthcare are as follows:

  • Latest testing apparatus
  • One-time sample collection
  • Special attention to every patient
  • Clean and sanitized labs
  • Optimum safety measures maintained by the professionals
  • An accurate and checked report in less than 24 hours

Conclusion

  • Follow the instructions of your doctor.
  • Maintain a balanced diet.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Do not neglect any symptoms, even if they are minor ones.
  • Routinely test in diagnostic center such as Metropolis Healthcare as prescribed by the doctors

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