From IrishHealth.com, 26 February 2015. Story by Deborah Condon.
As many as 36,000 people in Ireland could be affected by chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), however some healthcare professionals still question the legitimacy of the condition, the Irish ME/CFS Association has said.
It has welcomed a report by the US Institute of Medicine, which calls for greater recognition of CFS.
Also known as ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis), CFS is a very debilitating condition, with those affected experiencing excessive tiredness even after adequate rest. This is made worse by physical or mental exertion. Other symptoms can include muscular aches and pains, frequent headaches, dizziness and impaired concentration.
Symptoms can fluctuate greatly from one day to the next, or even within a day.
The report by the US Institute of Medicine concluded that CFS is a legitimate disease that requires proper diagnosis and treatment. It described the condition as complex and one that ‘frequently and dramatically limits the activities of affected individuals'.
It acknowledged that diagnosing the condition can be a challenge ‘and seeking a diagnosis can be frustrating due to the skepticism of healthcare providers'.
The report was based on a detailed analysis of more than 9,000 papers on CFS. It was widely welcomed by the Irish ME/CFS Association.
“Some health professionals have been slow in the past to diagnose the condition. This is unfortunate as an early diagnosis has been shown to lead to a better prognosis. We hope this report will put to rest any lingering doubts any professionals have about the legitimacy of the condition,” commented the association's spokesperson, Tom Kindlon.
He pointed out that the US Institute of Medicine is ‘well known for its independence' and most of those involved in the research were not previously familiar with CFS.
“ME/CFS covers a wide range of severities – from those who are able to work and study, but who may have little energy for much else, right down to the more severely affected who are often housebound or even bedbound.
“Unfortunately, patients and their families have not always received support commensurate with their needs. We hope this new report will change attitudes and improve the lives of those affected. We also hope it will lead to many more people who are currently struggling without a name for their illness to finally get a diagnosis,” Mr Kindlon added.
For more information on the Irish Me/CFS Association, click HERE