G'day folks,

Today I offer some insights into something I have suffered from for the past eighteen years - CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME. It used to be called the malingerer's disease, but now it is accepted as a real issue. How did I know I had it? Well, I was in Southern Thailand, woke up one morning and my feet felt like lead. After visiting some marvellous doctors in a nearby hospital who ran many tests, they decided that I suffered from something between glandular fever and chronic fatigue.  Now, years later, having read much about this condition, it seems no one is any the wiser. However, two issues always remain with me: you have a high likelihood of ending up with chronic fatigue if you have had glandular fever. Also, it does not discriminate. No specific group of people are more likely to attract this condition: black, white, poor, rich, male female etc. Here is some more information ...

Sufferers of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) are feeling increasingly isolated due to their family and friends’ lack of understanding of their condition, a study has revealed.

The study, carried out by talkhealth, one of the UK’s leading online social Health communities, revealed that a massive 70 per cent of CFS sufferers felt that their family and friends did not understand their condition and appreciate the effect it had on their lives.

Furthermore, nearly half of the respondents felt that their condition had not been taken seriously by a medical professional, adding to their feelings of isolation.

The study showed that the top five most common symptoms experienced by CFS sufferers are tiredness after exertion, un-refreshing sleep, muscle and joint pain, chronic physical exhaustion and cognitive difficulties such as memory loss.

Dr Jon Rees, a spokesperson for talkhealth comments:

"Chronic fatigue syndrome is something I see surprisingly often as a GP. It is an extremely frustrating condition not only for patients who often feel that their problems are not taken seriously but also for relatives and friends who may struggle to understand a condition that has no outward signs of physical illness. Patients may also experience cynicism from some people in the medical profession including doctors, who do not recognise CFS as a true medical condition. However GPs are increasingly realising the true impact of the symptoms and are better equipped to offer support and onward referral to specialist services."

Dr Rees continues:

"It is vital that patients receive adequate support as CFS can have a huge impact on their quality of life. They must be fully assessed for any underlying cause that can be treated, such as underactive thyroid or coeliac disease but if no cause can be identified and the symptoms are significant, referral to a specialist chronic fatigue service can often be useful."

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), affecting 250,000 people in the UK, causes persistent fatigue (exhaustion) that affects everyday life and doesn't go away with sleep or rest.

The condition is also known as ME, which stands for myalgic encephalomyelitis. Myalgia means muscle pain and encephalomyelitis means inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Both CFS and ME are commonly used terms.

Clancy's comment: I have only felt fantastic once in the past 18 years. Woke up and enjoyed life. But, at 2pm I was back to normal. What did I do? I wrote down everything I'd done, eaten and drank in the previous three days, but nothing jumped out at me. How do I cope? Easy, keep plugging on and pushing through. What choice have you got?

I'm ...

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