Frequently asked questions


Disclaimer: the following represents an informal catalogue of information written by people who have ME. It shouldn't be viewed as medical advice. If you think that you have ME we recommend that you consult a licensed practitioner.





do the term 'CHRONIC FATIGUE' AND M.E. refer to the same illness?

When a new illness is identified the medical profession usually gives this new illness a Latin name. This name describes the nature of the illness and helps doctors to identify the illness. Part of the name Myalgic Encephalomyelitis refers to the inflamation that is often present in patients. Some doctors who might have a certain speciality in treating the illness, refer to patients who present many of the symptoms but do not have inflammation as having Chronic Fatigue. However, most doctors who do not specialise in the illness often use the terms interchangeably.

This was complicated further by newspaper articles (usually poorly researched by journalists with no medical or even scientific training); the difficulty of spelling Myalgic Encephalomyelitis when searching the internet for information (whilst CFS has a better hit rate than M.E.); the United States choosing to adopt the term Chronic Fatigue Syndrome over Myalgic Encephalomyelitis,  and the combination of the last two (i.e. the dominance of American English over UK English usage on the Internet.

WHAT IS ME?

Myalgic Encephalopathy or 'M.E.' is a complex illness than may effect thousands of people in Britain.1 Since SMEG was established hundreds of people who have ME in Shropshire have been brought to our attention. However, it seems probable that a high percentage of people with ME remain undiagnosed.2

how many names are there for this illness?

Myalgic Encephalopathy, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or 'M.E.' are just two names that have been given to this illness; however, the illness can also be known as; Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS); Post-viral Fatigue Syndrome (PVFS) and Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFID).

Is there a diagnostic test for M.E.?

Unfortunately, there is as yet no known test to diagnose whether individuals have ME.
As there is no known test for ME,  your GP usually wishes to exclude other illnesses with similar symptoms.3 In order to rule out other illnesses they might book you in for several tests. These tests may include; anaemia; liver; thyroid and kidney function tests, white cellcount, ESR or acute phase protein changes (e.g.CRP), routine biochemistry (urea, electrolytes, calcium etc.); creatine kinase; urine tests for sugar/protein; hormone levels and adrenal gland function.4

PEOPLE WITH M.E. SEEM TO HAVE TROUBLE SLEEPING, SO DOES THIS MEAN THAT 1)THEY'RE JUST TIRED AND 2) THAT A GOOD SLEEP WILL MAKE THEM WELL AGAIN?

MY SYMPTOMS seem to DIFFER FROM OTHER PEOPLE WITH M.E. IS THIS UNUSUAL?

COULD I HAVE SOMETHING ELSE INSTEAD OF M.E.?

IS THERE A cure for M.E.?


IT SEEMS THAT MY HEALTH IS RETURNING. I'VE HEARD THAT M.E. CAN RETURN, IS THERE ANYTHING THAT I CAN I DO TO STOP THIS FROM HAPPENING?


What causes M.E.?


IS THERE A CERTAIN TYPE OF PERSON WHO GETS M.E.?

what is cbt and can it cure m.e.?


do people recover from ME?


I see conflicting suggestions regarding exercise. What should I do?


could m.e. be CONTAGIOUS?


can children get m.e.?


why do i find that I have more energy AT NIGHT THAN IN THE DAY?


who Can help me to fill in my benefit forms?


What services doES the Shropshire ME Group offer?


Can I join SMEG even though I live outside of Shropshire?


Sources:
  • 1/ ME Association: [http://www.meassociation.org.uk/2007/01/overview/ What is ME/CFS? | ME Association], accessdate: 15/02/2015
  • 2/ About CFIDS/ME: [http://www.masscfids.org/about-cfidsme Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association - About CFIDS/ME], accessdate: 15/02/2015
  • 3/ Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-fatigue-syndrome/basics/definition/con-20022009 Chronic fatigue syndrome Definition - Diseases and Conditions - Mayo Clinic], accessdate: 15/02/2015
  • 4/ ME Association: [http://www.meassociation.org.uk/about/the-symptoms-and-diagnosis-of-mecfs/ Symptoms and diagnosis of ME/CFS | ME Association], accessdate: 15/02/2015