Causation – What causes ME/CFS?

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The cause of ME/CFS is subject to much uncertainty and medical debate. This is one of the reasons why doctors have very differing views on how the condition should be managed. In this leaflet we review the evidence for causation and consider the physical abnormalities that reinforce the view that there is an underlying disease process.

The underlying cause of ME/CFS is subject to much uncertainty and medical debate. This is one of the reasons why doctors have very differing views on how the condition should be managed. At the one end of the spectrum of medical opinion are those – including the ME Association – who believe that ME/CFS is caused by a physical disease process that results in a number of symptoms affecting different parts of the body.

This has now been shown to involve the brain, muscle, immune and endocrine (hormone-producing) systems. Mental health symptoms, where they occur, are a result of and not a cause of ME/CFS. They are a very understandable result of the practical difficulties and emotional stresses of living with a long-term and very disabling illness.

Topics discussed in this leaflet, include: Background, historical, and recent developments, Defining ME/CFS for clinical and research purposes, Is ME/CFS a three-stage illness? Predisposing factors, Precipitating factors, Perpetuating factors, Brain abnormalities, Muscle abnormalities, Immune system abnormalities, The role of infections, Endocrine (hormone) abnormalities, Conclusions, Further information.

Telephone Helpline

The ME Association telephone helpline – ME Connect – is available every day of the year, during the hours of 10am-12noon, 2pm-4pm and 7pm-9pm. Please phone: 0344 576 5326 if you have any questions or would simply like to talk to someone who is there to listen.

Please note this leaflet is a download. You can read it on-screen and save to your computer, phone or other device and can attach it to any email you might need to send. But you will need access to a printer if you wish it printed.

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