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Myalgic Encephalomyelitis: What Causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis: What Causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
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Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

chronic fatigue syndrome


Myalgic encephalomyelitis is also known as chronic fatigue syndrome. It is characterized by severe, long-term fatigue that inhibits an individual’s ability to function. This extreme fatigue is not caused by any physical exertion of lack of rest. It can come on either rapidly or gradually, with no reasonable cause and is not resolved by sleep.

What Causes Myalgic Encephalomyelitis?

While the exact cause of myalgic encephalomyelitis is unknown, the condition is made worse by the following factors:

  • Viral Infections
    • Mononucleosis
    • Hepatitis
  • Extreme Stress
  • Autonomic Dysfunction
  • Hormone Imbalances
  • Weakened Immune Systems
  • Nutritional deficiencies

Types of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

There is only one known type of myalgic encephalomyelitis.

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Symptoms

  • Extreme, prolonged exhaustion
  • Severe lethargy after little to no exertion
  • Impaired focus or cognitive ability
  • Muscle pains and aches
  • Joint pain
  • Frequent headaches
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Frequent sore throat
  • Memory loss
  • Insomnia
  • Never feeling well-rested, even after adequate sleep

chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms

Diagnosing Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

There is no diagnostic test that can confirm myalgic encephalomyelitis, but a primary care physician can diagnose the condition through a physical exam and assessment of symptoms. Your doctor may ask you to keep a journal for some period of time to keep track of your symptoms. This will help to assess when you are feeling fatigued and how severe your fatigue is. They will likely order a series of blood tests and in some cases diagnostic imaging to rule out other conditions that can mimic the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Treating Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

There is no cure for chronic fatigue, so treatment focuses mainly on management of symptoms. Lifestyle changes can help reduce the severity of myalgic encephalomyelitis symptoms. One such change is adhering to an exercise routine, which can condition the body to be more receptive to physical activity. Another lifestyle change is following a healthy diet, which can help ease the severity of some symptoms that may be worsened by nutritional deficits. Other treatments include cognitive behavioral therapy, which can help patients find better ways to cope with their symptoms.

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