Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) is a debilitating disease that effects a huge amount of people across the world. Although it is a very common disease, it has only recently been recognized as a serious medical condition. The symptoms of myalgic encephalomyelitis can vary greatly from sufferer to sufferer.
Myalgic encephalomyelitis is known by a variety of names. It is known as chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome in the United States. The disease affects people aged 20 and older, and the causes of the disease are not known.
Myalgic encephalomyelitis often occurs after an ordinary viral infection such as flu or chicken pox. It can also appear after simple viral infections such as sore throats or joint pains, and even after a common cold. In other people, especially older people, myalgic encephalomyelitis may simply occur over a period of months without any underlying original viral infection.
As its name suggestss, myalgic encephalomyelitis is a disease that effects the muscles and the head. Symptoms can include severe fatigue, muscle spasms, depression and muscle pain. The sufferer may often sleep much more than he normally would, but it is not a refreshing sleep. The sufferer will still feel tired after sleeping for prolonged periods. The tiredness that the sufferer feels will often leave her completely drained of any energy. Sufferers have been know to be bedridden for days, weeks and even months.
Myalgic encephalomyelitis sufferers sometimes appear completely normal, with no symptoms. They can go about their daily life and exercise as non-sufferers would. What is not seen is the day after effect. It has been described as the muscles running out of energy, and the ability to function stops altogether. This is when complete bed rest is necessary.
These are not the only symptoms of myalgic encephalomyelitis. Sufferers often have memory problems and forget what they have just been told. They may also suffer from digestive problems, shivering, fever and unrelenting pain. Each sufferer will have his or her own set of symptoms, and this is why the disease is very hard to diagnose.
There has been much controversy over myalgic encephalomyelitis. Because it is very hard to diagnose, many people treat the disease with skepticism. It is left up to the doctor to decide whether the sufferer actually has the disease or not. In the 1980s, it was brought to the public's attention by the media under the name of Yuppie Flu. Many people still regard it as a catchall term for just feeling tired and lethargic, but it is a serious, medically recognized disease.
Doctors can administer drugs to combat the symptoms of myalgic encephalomyelitis, but there is very little traditional medicine can do to help sufferers. Self-help and sticking to certain known regimes seem to be of the greatest help. The disease can last any length of time, from a few months to decades. It is a relapse and remit disease, and periods of feeling well and illness can vary greatly from person to person.