Common symptoms in ME/CFS

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Common symptoms in ME/CFS include post-exertional malaise, multiple types of fatigue, and a range of neurological, cardiovascular, energy metabolism and endocrine symptoms.[1][2][3][4]

Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is often referred to as ME/CFS as it is clear there are common onsets and symptoms shared by both the disease ME and the symptoms that define CFS.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome[edit | edit source]

Common Symptoms in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Symptom Mild to Severe
Symptom %
Moderate to Severe
Symptom %
Fatigue - persist or relapsing*
100
95
Significant reduction in activities*
100
100
Symptoms last over 6 months*
100
100
Post-exertional malaise
96
86
Memory & concentration probs
98
80
Unrefreshing sleep
99
92
Headaches - new or different
90
50
Muscle pain (myalgia)
96
73
Sore throat
81
31

Source: Jason et al. 2014

*Required symptom, can be mild


Jason et al. (2014) found these symptoms were the most common among people who met the Fukuda criteria, which are the symptoms normally used to diagnose in the US and UK.


Approximately 60% of people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome also meet the criteria for M.E.[5]

Symptom Mild to Severe
Symptom
Moderate or Severe
Symptom
Fatigue - persist or relapsing* 100 95
Substantial reduction in activities* 100 100
Symptoms last over 6 months* 100 100
Post-exertional malaise 96 86
Memory & concentration difficulties 98 80
Unrefreshing sleep 99 92
New or different headaches 90 50
Muscle pain (myalgia) 96 73
Sore throat 81 31
Joint pain (arthralgia) 86 65
Lymph node pain 81 44

*Required symptom, can be mild

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis[edit | edit source]

Common Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Symptoms
Symptom  %
50% reduction in previous activity level
100(Required)
Post-exertional neuroimmune exhaustion
100(Required)

Fatigue - moderate or severe
80

Minimum exercise makes you tired
82(PENE)
Next-day soreness after mild activity
79
Physically drained/sick after mild activity
77
Dead, heavy feeling after start of exercise
73
Mentally tired after slightest effort
68

Unrefreshing sleep
82(Neuro)
Difficulty paying attention for long
77
Muscle pain (myalgia)
69

Sensitive to smells/foods/drugs/chemicals
67(Immune / GI / Urinary)
Flu-like symptoms
64
Irritable bowel problems
56

Feeling hot / cold for no reason
58(Ion transport / Metabolism)

Sources: Jason et al. 2016, Intl Consensus Criteria 2011


Myalgic Encephalomyelitis diagnosis requires more symptoms than Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diagnosis.[1]

People with M.E. typically meet the CFS criteria as well, and were found to have more severe symptoms and reduced functioning overall.[5]


Long list of symptoms[edit | edit source]

The Canadian Consensus Criteria lists these as known symptoms in Appendix 4.

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Cognitive symptoms
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Cognitive symptoms
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Motor and balance
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Motor and balance
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Sleep disturbances
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Sleep disturbances


Symptom recognition[edit | edit source]

The DePaul Symptom Questionnaire can be used to assess symptoms of both M.E. and CFS.[5] The Canadian Consensus Criteria (Appendix 4) also contains an extensive list of possible symptoms. [4] The severity of illness and overall health can be assessed using the SF-36 health survey.[5]

Notable studies[edit | edit source]

Castro-Marrero et al. 2017[edit | edit source]

Comorbidity in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis: A Nationwide Population-Based Cohort Study

  • 1757 Spanish subjects who met both the 1994 CDC/Fukuda definition and Canadian Consensus Criteria for CFS/ME. Table 2 gives prevelance of each ME/CFS symptom in the Canadian Consensus Criteria

Jason et al. 2016[edit | edit source]

Are Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome different illnesses? A preliminary analysis.

  • Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (International Consensus Criteria) symptoms are compared with symptoms of patients meeting the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Fukuda criteria but not the M.E. criteria. Those meeting the M.E. criteria were also found to meet the CFS criteria, and to have more severe symptoms.

Jason et. al 2014[edit | edit source]

Examining case definition criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome and myalgic encephalomyelitis

  • 236 patients completed the DePaul Symptom Questionnaire, rating the frequency and severity of 54 symptoms, compared to controls.

de Becker et al. 2010[edit | edit source]

A definition-based analysis of symptoms in a large cohort of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome

  • A study of 2073 patients complaining of chronic fatigue (CF) in Brussels. Table 1 and Table 2 show the how many patients had each symptom according to whether they met the Fukuda criteria, the Holmes criteria or had chronic fatigue without CFS.

1578 CFS patients fulfilled the Fukuda criteria (called the "CFS group") and 951 (60.3% of the CFS group) fulfilled the Holmes criteria. The Holmes definition was found to be better than the Fukuda at differentiated CFS patients from the patients with Chronic Fatigue without CFS.

See also[edit | edit source]

Learn more[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.01.1 Carruthers, BM; van de Sande, MI; De Meirleir, KL; Klimas, NG; Broderick, G; Mitchell, T; Staines, D; Powles, ACP; Speight, N; Vallings, R; Bateman, L; Bell, DS; Carlo-Stella, N; Chia, J; Darragh, A; Gerken, A; Jo, D; Lewis, DP; Light, AR; Light, KC; Marshall-Gradisnik, S; McLaren-Howard, J; Mena, I; Miwa, K; Murovska, M; Stevens, SR (2012), Myalgic encephalomyelitis: Adult & Paediatric: International Consensus Primer for Medical Practitioners (PDF), ISBN 978-0-9739335-3-6 
  2. De Becker, P.; McGregor, N.; De Meirleir, K. (Sep 15, 2001). "A definition-based analysis of symptoms in a large cohort of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome". Journal of Internal Medicine. 250 (3): 234–240. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2796.2001.00890.x. ISSN 0954-6820. 
  3. Jason, Leonard A.; Sunnquist, Madison; Brown, Abigail; Evans, Meredyth; Vernon, Suzanne D.; Furst, Jacob; Simonis, Valerie (Jan 1, 2014). "Examining case definition criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome and myalgic encephalomyelitis". Fatigue : biomedicine, health & behavior. 2 (1): 40–56. doi:10.1080/21641846.2013.862993. ISSN 2164-1846. PMC 3912876Freely accessible. PMID 24511456. 
  4. 4.04.1 Carruthers, Bruce M.; Jain, Anil Kumar; De Meirleir, Kenny L.; Peterson, Daniel L.; Klimas, Nancy G.; Lerner, A. Martin; Bested, Alison C.; Flor-Henry, Pierre; Joshi, Pradip (May 2002). "Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Clinical Working Case Definition, Diagnostic and Treatment Protocols" (PDF). Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. 11 (1): 7–115. doi:10.1300/j092v11n01_02. ISSN 1057-3321. 
  5. 5.05.15.25.3 Jason, Leonard A; Sunnquist, Madison; Brown, Abigail; Evans, Meredyth; Newton, Julia L (January 2016). "Are Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome different illnesses? A preliminary analysis". Journal of health psychology. 21 (1): 3–15. doi:10.1177/1359105313520335. ISSN 1359-1053. PMC 4125561Freely accessible. PMID 24510231. 

Myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome, often used when both illnesses are considered the same.

Myalgic encephalomyelitis or M.E. has different diagnostic criteria to chronic fatigue syndrome; neurological symptoms are required but fatigue is an optional symptom.Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag

Myalgic encephalomyelitis or M.E. has different diagnostic criteria to chronic fatigue syndrome; neurological symptoms are required but fatigue is an optional symptom.Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag

The information provided at this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.
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