Onset of ME/CFS
The onset of ME/CFS can be sudden (acute) or gradual. Sudden onset is more common. Dr. Melvin Ramsay and Dr. Byron Hyde both describe sudden/acute onsets for myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) as oppose to ME/CFS being acute or gradual. In cases of sudden onset, it is usually easy to identify the trigger of the illness, such as physical trauma, overwhelming stress, or a viral/bacterial infection. Children, particularly adolescents, will more likely have an acute illness like the flu or mononucleosis as their onset.
Acute symptoms develop over hours to days. 85% of patients report a trigger. 72% of ME/CFS patients report that a bacterial or a viral infection was their onset of ME/CFS; 4.5% trauma; 4.5% surgery or childbirth; 2.2% allergic reaction; 1.7% stress or trauma.
Pre-onset triggers[edit | edit source]
The International Consensus Criteria (ICC) Primer includes a patient assessment form, which includes factors that may have triggered ME, these can be infectious (for example, a virus), or non-infectious (for example, exposure to chemical toxins or severe physical injury).
Infectious exposure or events[edit | edit source]
- minor infections, vaccination, upper respiratory infections, sinusitis, pneumonia, gastrointestinal illness (after sinusitis or pneumonia), dental infections, vaginal infection, cystitis, prostatitis, blood transfusion
- exposure to: sick people, unfamiliar infectious agents when traveling, particularly following vaccinations, contaminated water, poor quality recycled air
Non-infectious exposure or events[edit | edit source]
- exposure to: chemical toxins, heavy metals, or moulds
- severe physical trauma e.g. whiplash/spinal injury/surgery
- undue stress
Other triggers have been recognized besides these, and some people report several potential triggers or no known cause.
Is ME always caused by a virus[edit | edit source]
Some ME patient charities, for example The Hummingbirds' Foundation for ME hold the view that ME is always caused by a virus, but chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) may have non-viral triggers, and do not recognize bacterial infections or non-infectious events as a potential cause or trigger.
The onset events recognized as potential causes or triggers in the ICC are based on events prior to illness that have been reported by patients meeting the diagnostic criteria for ICC ME or based on the consensus of experts. The exact cause has not yet been identified in research. Chu et al. (2019) reported on pre-onset events for patients meeting the CFS Fukuda criteria only.
Development of ME[edit | edit source]
The ICC recognizes that ME can develop
Criteria[edit | edit source]
- In the Holmes criteria, description of the main symptom complex as initially developing over a few hours to a few days is an optional criteria for diagnosis, under the section Minor Symptom Criteria.
Notable studies[edit | edit source]
- 2019, Onset patterns and course of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome(Full text)
See also[edit | edit source]
Learn more[edit | edit source]
- Presentation and Clinical Course of ME/CFS
- 2018, Onset patterns of chronic fatigue syndrome and myalgic encephalomyelitis
References[edit | edit source]
- Chu, Lily; Valencia, Ian J.; Garvert, Donn W.; Montoya, Jose G. (Jan 14, 2019). "Onset patterns and course of myalgic encephalomyelitis/ chronic fatigue syndrome". Frontiers in Pediatrics. doi:10.3389/fped.2019.00012.
- "Presentation and Clinical Course of ME/CFS | Information for Healthcare Providers | Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome ME/CFS | CDC". www.cdc.gov. Dec 12, 2018. Retrieved Feb 7, 2019.
- "Is CFS a Real Disease? — Watchtower ONLINE LIBRARY". wol.jw.org. Aug 22, 1992. Could CFS Be Depression?. Retrieved Feb 8, 2019.
sudden onset in 85 percent of patients
- Evans, Meredyth; Jason, Leonard (2018). "Onset patterns of chronic fatigue syndrome and myalgic encephalomyelitis" (PDF). Research on Chronic Diseases: 2.
- "Symptoms and Diagnosis of ME/CFS in Children | Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) | CDC". www.cdc.gov. Jan 18, 2019. Retrieved Jan 29, 2019.
- "CDC Public Health Grand Rounds - Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - Advancing Research and Clinical Education" (PDF). cdc.gov. p. 6.
- "Possible Causes | Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) | CDC". www.cdc.gov. Jul 14, 2017. Causes. Retrieved Oct 15, 2018.
- Bassett, Jodi (2010). "M.E.: The medical facts". The Hummingbirds' Foundation for ME. Retrieved Feb 9, 2019.
Myalgic encephalomyelitis is a systemic acutely acquired illness initiated by a virus infection which is characterised by post encephalitic damage to the brain stem; a nerve centre through which many spinal nerve tracts connect with higher centres in the brain in order to control all vital bodily functions – this is always damaged in M.E. (Hence the name Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.) The CNS is diffusely injured at several levels, these include the cortex, the limbic system, the basal ganglia, the hypothalamus and areas of the spinal cord and its appendages. This persisting multilevel central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction, and in particular, inconsistent CNS dysfunction is undoubtedly both the chief cause of disability in M.E. and the most critical in the definition of the entire disease process.
- The 1988 Holmes Definition for CFS
Myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome