health

Understanding Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & ME

This post is about an issue very close to my heart, as I suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or ME for the majority of my life & know first hand how debilitating it can be.

Before I go into its effects & the impact this had on my own health I want to be clear that this isn’t just another post on the hopelessness of resolving this condition & finding short term answers to ease symptoms, because I believe in the majority of cases it’s 100% treatable. If you are a sufferer you don’t simply have to manage the illness for the rest of your life, you need to take back control of your health, life & well-being, and with perseverance, careful research, experimentation & medical help you too can be rid of this devastating condition.

CFS or ME are often classed by some as a disease, but this is really misleading, as what they actually refer to are symptoms a person is suffering from, not their illness. These terms are often used to classify a patient suffering from very generalised symptoms, including dizziness, fever, constant ill health & most commonly tiredness/ fatigue. These are very vague symptoms & could be attributed to a number of illnesses, many of which doctors will have already ruled out before giving a patient this diagnosis.

Many people simply feel a sense of relief at gaining a diagnosis, even if it’s a bleak one with doctors simply confirming they don’t actually know what is wrong with their patient. However there are still many people, who even though they know they have CFS or ME are not given this diagnosis by their doctors, either they’re not interested in this condition or those, such as mine, who refuse to believe it’s a real condition. The situation can seem hopeless, & even if you do manage to get a diagnosis many doctors simply don’t know how to help people with CFS/ME. This is partly because it’s an under researched aspect of medicine, & many GP’s simply do not have the time or resources, particularly in the UK, to get to the bottom of what is actually causing their patients CFS or ME, meaning sufferers are sidelined regardless of how debilitating this condition is.

The underlying illnesses causing chronic conditions are hard to diagnose or rare, such as Lyme Disease the main cause of my own CFS, & they’re also often accompanied by other underlying illnesses, such as gut issues & viruses, making it even harder to discover what’s wrong.

If you also suffer from an autoimmune problem (whether you know about it or not!) your chances of developing CFS or ME are also significantly higher. This was the case for me as my Ehlers Danlos Syndrome meant that, unlike a healthy person whose body may have been able to  protect them from infection, my low immunity would have made it easier for my body to be compromised.

So basically in order to cure your CFS or ME you need to find the underlying cause. I know I know easier said than done, but people say there isn’t a cure for ME & CFS, & it’s simply not true! Okay there isn’t a cure if you are only going to treat the symptoms, but you can heal if you cure the underlying infection. So please don’t expend all of your energy treating the symptoms, managing your symptoms should only ever be a band-aid until you find the main cause of your condition. You need to work with your doctor, and if they aren’t understanding you are entitled to change your GP whether this is another doctor at the surgery or at a different practice, but be warned don’t do this lightly as it is often better the devil you know! I never went as far as to change my surgery & even though I changed doctors I had to find a specialist to be taken seriously. If you can’t find a sympathetic GP, or a specialist you may have to go it alone, but remember it is possible to get well, you can do it & life will get better.

Remember it might take time to discover the cause of your CFS or ME, it took me over a year, but your life & health is worth the effort, never give up on yourself & keep searching for answers, they’re within your reach.

I’ll be posting in the future about some possible causes of CFS to aid your search, but tell me below if you’re suffering or have suffered from this illness & what you did to recover or what your plans might be to rid yourself of this condition?

Wishing you the best of health

Louise x

 

 

(image credit: https://unsplash.com/@b3njamin)

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