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: Sleep Disturbance

Symptoms: Post-Exertional Malaise (PEM)

ME Essential Summer 2023

What is Post-Exertional Malaise and how can it best be managed? 

Gilbert's Syndrome

ME Essential Summer 2023

A few months ago I noticed that the whites of my eyes had turned slightly yellow. It turned out that I had a mild episode of jaundice. My GP was a bit mystified – so I was sent to see a liver specialist who diagnosed a condition called Gilbert’s Syndrome. The specialist said it was nothing to worry about. However, as he had seen other people with ME/CFS with the same condition, he wondered whether there may be a link. Is this so?

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?

ME/CFS Specialist Service: Referral

ME Essential Winter 2022

After having a nasty viral infection (probably glandular fever) at the beginning of the year I have been struggling to get an explanation from my GP as to why I haven’t got back to normal health. He has now decided that I probably have post-glandular fever ME/CFS. However, my GP admits that he doesn’t know very much about how to manage ME/CFS. I have asked for a referral to a specialist ME/CFS service but it turns out that we don’t have one. I then asked if I could be referred outside the local area to a service that has good reports from people I have heard from. However, I’m finding it very difficult to get this moving because my GP says I can’t choose where I want to be sent. Please could you explain what my rights are?

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!

Symptoms: Myoclonic Jerks

ME Essential Summer 2022

Jerking movements are waking me up. Like most people with ME/CFS, I have major problems with sleep – especially getting to sleep and waking in the night. This leads to night after night of waking up feeling completely unrefreshed. I’ve also had problems in the past with what my doctor calls ‘restless legs’ – which have also kept me awake at night. I’ve now developed some rather frightening jerking movements in my legs. My doctor says these are called myoclonic jerks. Is this something that is also linked to ME/CFS? And is there an effective form of treatment?

Symptom: Vivid Dreams

ME Essential Summer 2021

Are vivid dreams a recognised symptom of ME? Like most people with ME I have unrefreshing sleep and sometimes wake up in the night. But I’ve recently been waking in the middle of the night with very clear memories of rather bizarre vivid dreams. Fortunately, nothing frightening has happened so far!

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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