MEDICAL MATTERS

  • Medical Matters features questions asked by Members of the ME Association on health-related topics.
  • Dr Charles Shepherd and the ME Association's other advisers answer these questions by sharing their expert knowledge.
  • Medical Matters is based on the popular ‘Ask the Doctor’ series in ME Essential magazine.
  • It is a free resource that supplements the detailed information contained in the full range of literature that can be found in the website shop.

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Questions in the Category: Dizziness

Treatment: Modafinil

ME Essential Summer 2023

I have had PoTS and ME/CFS for over 10 years and now have Long Covid as well – if that’s even possible as perhaps they are the same thing anyway? My question is about a drug called Modafinil as I have been offered a trial of this treatment from my PoTS consultant to help with my fatigue. I have looked online and can’t find a lot regarding its use in patients with ME/CFS. Please could you point me in the right direction for any research on this or anyone with ME/CFS that has any experience of taking it. One of my main concerns is that it will create a false energy high, so that I will want to do more, then I will end up with worse PEM and crashing. Another potential problem is that I already have mental-health issues as some of the side-effects are mental-health related.

Symptom: Temperature Regulation (2)

ME Essential Spring 2023

I’ve always enjoyed a long soak in a hot bath, especially at the end of the day – and still do. But since developing ME/CFS I’ve found that I feel completely wiped out afterwards – as well as feeling more lightheaded and faint than usual. Is this something that could be related to ME/CFS, because it doesn’t appear to be listed as a symptom?

Post-Viral Fatigue Syndrome, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or Encephalopathy, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Long Covid

ME Essential Winter 2022

Please can you define what PVFS, ME/CFS, and Long Covid mean. I am having difficulty determining if they are the same disease or different. Thank you!

Symptom: Palpitations

ME Essential Winter 2021

Like many people with ME I have occasional palpitations. Does this mean that I might have some form of underlying heart disease? Or is this just another part of having ME? And are there any drug treatments that might be helpful?

Investigations: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

ME Essential Summer 2021

I have been referred to a neurologist who has arranged for me to have an MRI scan. This will involve the use of a dye/contrast agent called gadolinium. Is this a safe procedure to have for people with ME/CFS? Can it be used to confirm a diagnosis of ME? And can MRI brain scans cause any adverse reactions?

New Symptoms

ME Essential Winter 2021

I know that in addition to all the well-known symptoms associated with ME/CFS there are a considerable number of other symptoms that can sometimes occur. But when should I go and see my doctor if I develop a new symptom? Or when an existing symptom isn’t quite the same as it used to be? In my case I’ve always had a problem with balance and I know you have described this as ‘walking on rubber’ – which is exactly how it feels at times! However, I’m now having what are best described as occasional dizzy spells where I feel very “off balance”. I also suspect that my hearing isn’t quite as sharp as it used to be. I’ve mentioned this problem to my new GP, who checked my blood pressure, looked inside my ears and said it was probably caused by ME/CFS – but come back if things don’t improve! I don’t want to be seen as a hypochondriac, turning up at the doctors every time I don’t feel well. But at the same time, I don’t want to find that something important, or treatable, is being missed.

Addison's Disease

ME Essential Summer 2020

I was interested to see the item on Addison’s disease in the Winter issue of ME Essential as I have a close friend with this rare disease and it obviously has some interesting symptom overlaps with ME/CFS. So is there any evidence that adrenal gland failure, and steroid hormone production, could also be involved in ME/CFS? If so, would it be worth looking at steroids as a possible form of treatment for ME/CFS?

Symptom: Dizziness

ME Essential Spring 2020

I often feel light-headed and unsteady on my feet, and have done so since my ME started about five years ago after a nasty infection. But I’ve recently been having ‘dizzy spells’ where I feel faint, sickly and much more unbalanced. These attacks come on without warning and then settle down. Is this part of ME?

Treatment: Tryptophan

ME Essential Spring 2020

I’ve read that taking a tryptophan supplement is helpful for people with ME. Is this true? And are there any side-effects?

Dr Charles Shepherd

Dr Shepherd has been Trustee and Hon. Medical Adviser to the ME Association for more than 40 years. He is integral to the charity's activities and provides information and support based on his professional knowledge, personal experience as a doctor with ME/CFS, and the understanding gained from helping many thousands of people with the condition. He was a member of the comittee responsible for the 2021 NICE Clinical Guideline and is a recognised expert on ME/CFS in the UK. His knowledge extends to Post-Viral Fatigue Syndromes (PVFS), Myalgic Encephalopathy/Encephalomyelitis (ME), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), and Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC) or Long Covid.

If you have questions about ME/CFS or Long Covid, you can: 

  • Review the free information in the What is ME/CFS? section of the website, and the free Covid-19 and Long Covid information in the website shop.
  • Review the largest range of literature covering all aspects of living with ME/CFS. Download detailed information about symptoms, diagnosis, management, co-mordities, employment, education, related health conditions, The 2021 NICE Clinical Guideline, welfare benefits etc.
  • Join the ME Association as a member and you'll receive the highly-rated ME Essential magazine, and you can ask questions of the charity’s expert advisers including Dr Shepherd.
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Medical Matters is based on the popular ‘Ask the Doctor‘ series featured in the highly-regarded member’s magazine, ME Essential, and in the healthcare professional magazine, ME Medical. Both are produced by the ME Association and published as hard-copy magazines every 3 months and sent to members and healthcare professionals by post to home or business addresses. 

If you are an HCP you can sign-up here to receive ME Medical magazine (people with ME/CFS can also nominate their HCP by completing the sign-up form). 

Please note: The answers comprising Medical Matters were accurate at the time of printing. A publication date accompanies all listed entries. We will endeavour to keep Medical Matters updated as information changes, but if you would like to comment, please email: meconnect@meassociation.org.uk

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER

Information provided by The ME Association should not be construed as medical advice. Don't assume any new or worsened symptoms are simply the result of having ME/CFS or Long Covid. We recommend that any information you deem relevant is discussed with your NHS GP as soon as possible. It is important that you seek personalised medical advice from the GP who is in charge of your care and who knows you well.

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