article from Healthy magazine:
CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME (ME/CFS): UNCOVERING A MYSTERY
HEALTHY STAFF — MAY 6, 2016
Written by Michael Richardson
When the media talks about a mystery illness, it’s often in reference to some obscure disease with a horrific symptom. But there is an elusive, misunderstood illness that affects more than a million Americans of all ages, and researchers are hustling to get a grip on it, to create better pathways of care.
It goes by a few names. Outside the US many call it myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), but it is more commonly known here as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). But many researchers say the name CFS trivializes the disease and the term ME may overstate what we know about pathophysiology. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee charged with developing a clinical case definition for physicians has recommended that the name be changed to systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID). Most recently, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has adopted the term ME/CFS.
So What the Heck Is It?
ME/CFS is a chronic multi-system disease characterized by profound fatigue that impairs a person’s ability to function normally, symptoms that worsen drastically after exertion, and disordered sleep that doesn’t refresh. ME/CFS must also include cognitive dysfunction or autonomic manifestations, but patients may experience many other symptoms such as pain, inflammation and allergy, according to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Symptoms can persist for decades. The cause is unknown, though the latest research points to autoimmune conditions that impact the nervous system...