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In my opinion ME/CFS could equally prevail in women and men

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by Waverunner, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. Waverunner

    Waverunner Senior Member

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    Hi all,

    In my personal surrounding I know 2 other males who suffer from ME/CFS. Both got struck down by a viral infection and never recovered. I knew them before they got ill. While onset can be somewhat equal, the development in my eyes differs. More women than men seem to be housebound. The men recover to some degree (maybe their body just adapts) or the reason is that they have more efficient muscles but in the end it comes down to the possibility that men are more functional with ME/CFS than their female counterparts. Instead of becoming a manager or working full-time they work in a super market or only work half-time, they suffer from ME/CFS but they will not show up in any statistic. I cannot prove this of course but I think the chances are that there could be a lot more cases with ME/CFS that go unnoticed because these people are functional enough to not be housebound but not functional enough to live a normal life.
     
    ggingues likes this.
  2. floydguy

    floydguy Senior Member

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    Another possibility is that they get diagnosed with something else. If the "belief" is that only women get it then there is probably a percentage of docs who won't dx men with CFS.
     
    Mya Symons and Snow Leopard like this.
  3. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    On the other hand if ME is autoimmune or substantially genetic, the high female prevalence would be expected. I do agree though that guys are more likely to be misdiagnosed as something else, the whole psychosomatic angle is tied to the hysteria angle, and hysteria is a female thing: in fact it has been said that atypical polio (which is what ME used to be called) is more common in women because men are more resistant to hysteria. This is non-science of the most stupid kind of course.

    One of the arguments against an infectious agent has been the gender bias however. What I find interesting, and I do not know if it still fits the data, is the childhood prevalence is 50/50 I think. Is this due to very nonspecific diagnosis? Or is it due to a more consistent response at that age? Older males might just become sedentary, or have a better recovery rate, or be more resistant to post viral fatigue developing into ME. We don't know.

    Bye, Alex
     
  4. Ocean

    Ocean Senior Member

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    Alex what would be the reason for that connection?
     
  5. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Hi Ocean, many autoimmune diseases have a high female:male ratio. The thought is the hormone differences alter the immune response. On the other hand, autism has a high male:female ratio. Hormones again? Bye, Alex
     
  6. Ocean

    Ocean Senior Member

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    Thanks Alex. What about the genetic issue, wouldn't that be just as likely to affect either sex, or is there some reason a genetic problem would also be more likely to affect women? I definitely agree that women seem to get the bulk of autoimmune and similar problems!
     
  7. snowathlete

    snowathlete

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    Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes. 22 pairs are called autosomes, and are the same in males and females.
    The final 'pair' are the sex hormones, x and y. Women have two x chromosomes. men have one x and one y.

    You might assume therefore that if x chromsome plays a part then women are twice as likely to get certain illnesses. However, its more complicated than that. some genes turn things on, and some off, but most just have an impact, so you could have one gene that increases risk of something, and another gene that reduces risk, so you may be no better or worse off, or you might swing one way more than the other.
    Its also not just the sex chromosomes that affect things, so there are lots of different combinations of things that have some kind of affect.

    But, regarding this topic, it is possible that the sex chromosomes play a significant part and increase/reduce risk of ME/CFS in females/males.
     
  8. Cath1972

    Cath1972

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    I think this is some how virus based that remains in your body dormant, and if you are susceptible then it can develop in CFS. I personally think its a virus that some how ultimately effects the Hypothalamus, which gets out of kilter and then, subsequently effects pretty much everything the hypothalamus controls to some degree- ie immune system, metabolism, thyroid, sleep, breathing etc. All my symptoms can ultimately be controlled by the hypothalamus. I think the stress issue is linked as that also effects the hypothalamus. That would also explain why over time the illness progressively gets worse, as the hypothalamus has been shown to slowly deteriorate with age anyway.

    I say I think it's virus based as sadly my husband who I have known for 21 years, has pretty much had all the virus's I have had and vice versa. 4-5 years after I first started complaining of a flu-like ache and sore throats after exercise, he is now beginning to experience the same thing after playing football once a week (this has been going on for nearly a year), but of course he puts it down to because he has got older...

    Well thats my laymans take on it anyway!
     
  9. xchocoholic

    xchocoholic Senior Member

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    If you google medicalxpress b cell discovery you'll find info on this. Estrogen plays a role here too tho. Dr. klimas wrote about this ..

    I agree that men are less likely to be diagnosed with cfs tho. Any woman who's been to
    see a male doctor with and without a male partner present in the room can attest to the difference in how
    we're treated by most male doctors. We hear a lot less sarcasm when another male is
    present. I've even had them run more tests on me if others wrre present. Just sayin ..

    Tc .. X
     
  10. Whit

    Whit Senior Member

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    Is this based on your observations from the few people around you with CFS? Because that's not nearly a big enough sample to say anything about CFS as a whole.

    Regarding the auto-immune/female connection I believe the ratio of women to men is nearly identical in CFS and autoimmune disorders. Can't remember where I read/heard that though, so don't hold me to it! :)
     
  11. Mya Symons

    Mya Symons Mya Symons

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    My doctor used the argument that women suffer from depression more then men; thus, that explains the higher rates of females. I looked at her and said "obviously you have never been to an AA meeting." I think men are less likely to approach their doctors and ask for help with depression. It's all in the way we are conditioned.

    What a ridiculous argument she made! Can you a doctor saying something like that to a cancer patient. They wonder why we get mad.

    There is also a theory that women's immune systems are stronger because when they get pregnant they have to have an immune system for two; thus, their immune systems overreact more then men's. It is too bad they still haven't figured out exactly why autoimmune diseases affect many more women then men.

    If we ever wanted to start a lawsuit, I think gender discrimination would be the way to go, especially when you look at the history of the government in psychosomaticising illnesses that primarily effect women (i.e. MS, Parkinson's, other autoimmune diseases).
     
  12. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Hi Ocean, what snowathlete said in post 7, but I would like to add one point. Every cell in a human male body that has a nucleus has one extra functional gene than a female cell. Men have an X gene and a Y gene, whereas women either have X1 or X2 (my label) in any one cell and no Y gene. Technically females are genetic mosaics, with gene silencing meaning they only have one X chromosome active, and this varies in regions - although I am not sure how big a region is. Cell? Whole tissue?

    As snowathlete points out the epigenetics (how cells are switched off and on) are also important. One of the things that can modify this is sex hormones.

    Genetics is very complicated, and I suspect that what we don't know still dwarfs what we do.

    Bye, Alex
     
  13. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Hi Mya, the pregnancy link might be very important. There is a study either underway or about to start looking at how pregnancy modifies CFS. I think the results will be very interesting. It will certainly be a new one for the books if males with CFS have to take lots of "female" hormones to get better.

    Going back to post 8 on the hypothalamus: many years ago I looked into factors affecting hypothalmic regulation of just sleep. There were about 15 at the time (light is only one) and most were suspected or known to be disturbed in ME/CFS chemistry. This is way more complicated than most theories even discuss in my opinion.

    Bye, Alex
     
  14. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

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    We must buck the trend male/female ratio for autoimmune predisposition - my brother (a Neurologist in another country) tells me his illness has a genetic component too.
     
  15. Waverunner

    Waverunner Senior Member

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    Does anyone know people in their surrounding who suffer from ME/CFS? Did you know these people before they got ill?
     

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