• Samantha Varriale

A few words for ME Awareness Week

This week is ME Awareness week, a subject close to my heart as it’s part of my own personal health journey.

The terms ME and CFS are often used interchangeably and I’ll do so in this article for ease. In ME/CFS, fatigue often comes hand-in-hand with a range of other debilitating symptoms(1) such as:

  • Sleep problems

  • Brain fog & memory issues

  • Muscle aches & pains

  • Headaches

  • Flu-like symptoms

  • Dizziness, nausea and heart palpitations

Something that struck me recently is the language used to describe ME/CFS which is often quite negative. Here are some current examples:

"...long-term disabling tiredness (fatigue)....The cause is not known."(2)

"You may have to make some major lifestyle changes."(3)

"There is no known pharmacological treatment or cure for CFS/ME."(4)

Being diagnosed with ME/CFS can be devastating and traumatic and when you start researching, it can feel like you've been given a life sentence - I know, I've been there, wondering if life would ever be the same - and such negative language may well add to someone’s anxiety and fear about their future.

Conventional treatment centres on managing and treating the symptoms, with no focus on identifying and addressing the potential underlying causes and contributory factors which can be multiple and vary enormously from one person to another. These may include:

  • Mitochondrial dysfunction

  • Viral infection (post-viral fatigue)

  • Bacterial infection

  • Thyroid and/or adrenal dysfunction

  • Inflammation

  • Chronic stress

But there is hope, people do improve and recover. It may be tough, and take time and effort, but it is possible. There are some great organisations and charities such as Action for ME working tirelessly to raise awareness of ME/CFS and support those affected. Other positive developments include:

  • “DECODE ME” - the largest genetic study of ME/CFS in the world, due to start later this year

  • NICE currently reviewing their (somewhat controversial) guidelines although these still focus on the “best approach to the diagnosis and management of ME/CFS”

The Chrysalis Effect offers an established step-by-step online programme to help support sufferers of ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia on their journey to regain health and well-being. Their tried-and-tested protocol is also currently being piloted within the NHS. There is a FREE eBook to download, and a month’s FREE trial of the online programme. They also train practitioners like myself to enable them to support people on their recovery journey.

If your fatigue is unrelenting, it’s important to visit your GP in the first instance to rule out other potential causes. Working with a complementary practitioner may be helpful to identify which causes need to be addressed and in what order and provide ongoing support.

Struggling with fatigue? Why not book a FREE discovery call to discover how nutritional therapy may help?

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Additional reading:

10-possible-causes-of-your-fatigue blog

My story video

What is post-viral fatigue? And is it the same as ME/CFS?

The Chrysalis Effect online recovery programme

Dr Sarah Myhill, ME/CFS specialist

The content on this webpage is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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