Tag Archives: exercise

MS vs ME/CFS: A “Fatigue” Disorder No More?

I subscribe to Cort Johnson’s “Health Rising” blog.  He has taken up the cause of those suffering with ME/CFS for a long time (he is one of the millions of patients).  As in one of my recent posts, the plight of sufferers of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) has been taking up space in headlines of top newspapers.

The current post on Cort’s blog, speaks to the similarities between MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome).  CFS is a misnomer for ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis); however, CFS seems to be a more recognizable name, since its coining by the CDC many years ago.

The issue that Cort addresses in this latest post is the “fatigue” suffered by patients who have the two diseases:  MS and ME/CFS.

He states:

Multiple sclerosis (MS) ranks amongst the most fatiguing disorders known.  Both ME/CFS and MS are fatiguing disorders – but is their fatigue similar?

 It is a major topic for research:  there have been 10 research studies in the last 5 months into illnesses with “fatigue” in their titles or because they are known to create abnormal, exhausting fatigue in the patients!

 

Cort goes on to describe the differences and similarities between MS and ME/CFS regarding:

  • Severity;
  • At what stage in development of disease does fatigue start to occur;
  • Types of fatigue;
  • What causes the fatigue to appear at different times of day;
  • Does weather cause changes in severity of fatigue;
  • How does exercise regimens affect patients’ fatigue;
  • How does exercise affect pain experienced by patients;
  • What other actions contribute to fatigue?

The word “fatigue” is a word that really doesn’t properly describe the bone- muscle- nerve-deep total exhaustion (and pain) experienced by ME/CFS patients; and yet, it is used offhandedly by the medical community, some scientists, the governmental agencies who are charged with caring for the health of their citizens, and others who are incapable of understanding the type of “fatigue” meant.

As part of his conclusion, Cort states:

Despite both disorders being associated with high rates of fatigue, people [with] ME/CFS and multiple sclerosis had very different responses to exercise – and display very different types of fatigue. The fatigue in MS is omnipresent, but is not greatly affected by exercise. The fatigue in ME/CFS is..

 

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An M.E. Conversation

The following is taken from James David Chapman’s page and is entitled:  “The M.E. Argument Clinic.”  It is a go-round conversation, and exemplifies some of the frustrations M.E. patients experience when trying to get a diagnosis at the doctor’s office.

Michael:       Hello, I'd like to have a diagnosis please.

Receptionist:  Certainly Sir. Second door on the right.

Michael:       Thank you!

Michael:       Hello, I've come here for a diagnosis.

Graham:        Your type make me sick!!!

Michael:       W-what?

Graham:        You feckless, work-shy, boil on the bottom of society, you...

Michael:       Wait! I came in here for a diagnosis!

Graham:        Oh, that's the next-door down. This is medical abuse.

Michael:       Sorry, thank you.

Graham:        Not at all!  ..Lazy git.

Michael:       Hello I've come here for a diagnosis.

John:          I've diagnosed you once.

Michael:       No you haven't.

John:          Yes I have.

Michael:       When?

John:          Just now. You're not ill.

Michael:       Yes I am!

John:          No you're not.

Michael:       Yes I am!

John:          No you're not.

Michael:       This is not a diagnosis; this is just contradiction!

John:          Medical Science demands that I take a sceptical view...

Michael:       No it doesn't!

John:          Yes it does.

Michael:       No it doesn't!

John:          Yes it does... By the way do you want the five minute 
               diagnosis or the full PACE trial?

Michael:       What's the difference?

John:          About 5 million pounds.

Michael:       I'll have the five-minute diagnosis please! [Hands over ten pound note]

John:          Good.

Michael:       You were about to diagnose me!

John:          Ah. It's good news: There's nothing physically wrong with you.
               Thank you! Good Day! [Pockets ten pound note]

Michael:       Now hold on a minute!

John:          [Looks up]
               Waiting around won't help you one bit. Have you tried 
               going out and exercising more?

Michael:       Exercise!? Exercise intolerance is my primary symptom!
               Exercise makes me ill!

John:          No it doesn't. Exercise makes you well!

Michael:       You're just saying the opposite of my symptoms!

John:          No. I am most definitely not just saying the opposite of your 
               symptoms. And to be honest I am a little hurt by the accusation.
               [John looks sad]

Michael:       Well, I'm sorry, but...

John:          No problem! We all just want you to be well. Perhaps you should
               modify your behaviour?

Michael:       Why?

John:          To address your aberrant belief that you need a diagnosis!

Michael:       But I do need a diagnosis!

John:          You see?

Michael:       But what about my blood tests!?

John:          Yes, absolutely; Your blood tests show that you *had* a virus. 
               But it may well have gone now: We call this a "trigger".

Michael:       But they were taken last week! They show I am physically ill!

John:          You don't think the mind and body are connected in any way?

Michael:       Well of course they are!

John:          Exactly. And remember mental illness is just as important as
               any other form of illness. Now tell me:
               How long have you had these "feelings" of being ill?

Michael:       I do not "feel" ill!

John:          Fantastic! I am glad to hear it!

Michael:       I don't think you're taking M.E. very seriously.

John:          Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a very serious condition. I do my
               very best to try to diagnose patients. Perhaps that's why I 
               was recently honoured.

Michael:       But you DON'T diagnose us!!!

John:          I understand that it may be hard to live with "feelings of illness"
               for many years, however taking your extreme frustration out on 
               those who try help doesn't do anyone any good.

Michael:       ALL I WANT IS FOR YOU TO DIAGNOSE...

John:          I'm sorry I'm retired.

Michael:       What???!!!

John:          CFS was simply too difficult and stressful a field to work in; I'll
               be surprised if anyone else dares to diagnose you. Especially after
               your very difficult behaviour.

Michael:       But you didn't diagnose me!

John:          Yes I did.

Michael:       No you didn't; you only contradicted me!

John:          No I didn't.

Michael:       Yes you did!

John:          No I didn't!

Michael:       Yes you did ...and you did it again just then!

John:          No I didn't. Let me explain: I am diagnosing you.

Michael:       Ahhh! But if you're retired, then why are you still diagnosing me?
               Got you! You can't have retired because if you had you wouldn't 
               still be diagnosing me now!

John:          Not necessarily. I could just be diagnosing you in my spare time.

Michael:       Now listen! I've come here for a diagnosis!

John:          I've diagnosed you once...

Michael:       No you haven't!
      
John:          Yes I have.

Etc.