Mild myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome

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Mild myalgic encephalomyelitis or mild chronic fatigue syndrome or mild ME/CFS is a serious neurological disease, and should not be confused with either a mild level of illness, or mild fatigue.

People with mild ME/CFS cannot carry on as normal and are forced to reduce their activities because of the hallmark symptom, post-exertional malaise, which prevents them from engaging in exertion beyond certain thresholds without a significant worsening of symptoms. While the term "mild" is used, mild ME/CFS still entails a substantial level of functional impairment compared to that of a healthy person.

Mild ME/CFS is the lowest level of severity of ME/CFS, which is a serious neurological disease affecting many different bodily systems.

Mild ME/CFS is not[edit | edit source]

NHS definition[edit | edit source]

Mild ME/CFS

People with mild ME/CFS care for themselves and do some light domestic tasks (sometimes needing support) but may have difficulties with mobility. Most are still working or in education, but to do this they have probably stopped all leisure and social pursuits. They often have reduced hours, take days off and use the weekend to cope with the rest of the week.

The UK's National Health Service definition of mild ME/CFS can be found within the 2021 NICE guidelines.[1]

International Consensus Criteria[edit | edit source]

Mild Myalgic Encephalomyelitis requires a minimum of a 50% reduction in activity as a direct result of the illness.[2]

Comparison[edit | edit source]

Mild severity: I walk...on Thursdays, Fridays. I've been quite ill (Andrew, 40s). The holiday travel exertion was too strenuous... I collapsed. (Wanda, 50s). Moderate severity: After trying to work for 14 days I became much worse (Yvonne, 30s). I tried to exercise and collapsed like a bunch of broccoli (Sue, 20s). Severe: You even get tired from speaking...from sitting (Wanda, 50s).

Fluctuating level of symptoms[edit | edit source]

Invisible illness[edit | edit source]

ME/CFS is known as an invisible illness due to the lack of obvious physical signs of illness.

Impact[edit | edit source]

Work and education[edit | edit source]

Care needs[edit | edit source]

Mobility[edit | edit source]

Notable studies[edit | edit source]

  • 2015, Fatigue in adults with post-infectious fatigue syndrome: a qualitative content analysis[3] -(Full text)

See also[edit | edit source]

Learn more[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

myalgic encephalomyelitis (M.E.) - A disease often marked by neurological symptoms, but fatigue is sometimes a symptom as well. Some diagnostic criteria distinguish it from chronic fatigue syndrome, while other diagnostic criteria consider it to be a synonym for chronic fatigue syndrome. A defining characteristic of ME is post-exertional malaise (PEM), or post-exertional neuroimmune exhaustion (PENE), which is a notable exacerbation of symptoms brought on by small exertions. PEM can last for days or weeks. Symptoms can include cognitive impairments, muscle pain (myalgia), trouble remaining upright (orthostatic intolerance), sleep abnormalities, and gastro-intestinal impairments, among others. An estimated 25% of those suffering from ME are housebound or bedbound. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies ME as a neurological disease.

NICE guidelines Clinical guidelines used in the UK.

The information provided at this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.
From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history.