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: Neurological

Functional Neurological Disorder

ME Essential Winter 2023

We don’t have a local ME/CFS referral service where I live so I was referred by my GP to a consultant neurologist to help confirm that I have ME.
The neurologist told me that (like most neurologists) he does not like the name the ME and instead calls this condition a functional neurological disorder (FND). After diagnosing me as having FND he reassured me that there was nothing seriously  wrong and offered to refer me to a psychologist for help with management – which I declined!
So is having a FND the same as having ME? And could I have another opinion from a doctor who is more in tune with the recommendations in the new NICE guideline on ME/CFS?

Vaccinations: Flu (Influenza) 2023-24

ME Essential Autumn 2023

Can you help me reach an informed decision about the 2023-24 Flu vaccination?

Research: Post-Mortem

ME Essential Summer 2023

What is happening to post-mortem tissue research into ME/CFS at the moment? Is the ME Association still funding and carrying out any postmortem research? And have any significant abnormalities been found in the post-mortems that have been carried out so far?

Symptoms: Pins and Needles

ME Essential Spring 2023

I’m in my early forties and have had moderate ME/CFS for about 5 years. I have all the usual symptoms but I now have a new and rather distressing sensation in my arms and sometimes in my legs. It is very similar to the ‘pins and needles’ sensation you can get when your legs have been crossed for too long. These abnormal sensations come and go and don’t seem to be triggered by anything in particular. Is this yet another symptom of ME/CFS? Or do I need to go and see my doctor?

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?

Treatment: Thiamine

ME Essential Autumn 2021

There are “medical people” on the internet claiming that high doses of a supplement called thiamine are a safe and effective new treatment for ME. What is thiamine? Is there any evidence to support this claim? And could taking high doses of thiamine cause any harm?

Dysautonomia: Orthostatic Intolerance (OI) and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (PoTS)

ME Essential Summer 2021

I keep reading about orthostatic intolerance, PoTS and postural hypotension and how they can all be symptoms of ME/CFS. But what do all these medical terms mean? What is going wrong? And are all these symptoms and syndromes related to each other?

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?

Disability Classification

ME Essential Autumn 2020

How does the government define a disability? Does the government classify ME/CFS as a disability? I ask because I assume that this could have important implications for people who are having problems with benefits, education or work.

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.
  • Contact us via the ME Connect Telephone Helpline (open 365 days a year) and speak to one of the national team of fully-trained volunteers who waiting to provide information and support. 
  • Contact us via email or social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn

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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