Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Types of Fatigue among ME/CFS patients

Examining types of fatigue among individuals with ME/CFS

Jason, L.A., Jessen, T., Porter, N., Boulton, A., Njoku, M.G., & Friedberg, F.

Disability Studies Quarterly, 2009, 29, 3


Severe, persisting fatigue is a prominent symptom of Myalgic
Encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), but individuals
with this illness frequently report the occurrence of unique fatigue
states that might be different from conventional symptoms of fatigue.
The present study attempted to assess a comprehensive set of fatigue
symptoms that have been commonly reported among patients with ME/CFS.
A 22-item fatigue questionnaire was developed and administered to 130
persons diagnosed with ME/CFS and 251 controls. Adequate scale
reliability was found. Factor analyses revealed a five-factor
structure for participants with ME/CFS but only a one-factor solution
for the control group. The new scale was also contrasted with other
more traditional scales developed to measure fatigue. Findings suggest
that individuals with ME/CFS experience different types of fatigue
than what are reported in the general populations.

The full text is available for free at:

* * *
One thing that often goes unnoticed is that ME/CFS is not "just fatigue".  When I am fatigued, all my other symptoms get worse, too.  This is why my first specialist told me the first step had to be improving the quality/quantity of sleep; then you could see what improved on its own and what was left to still be addressed pharmacologically.  Since finding the right combination of pills to allow me to sleep 5-6 hours most nights (instead of 2 hours a night), a number of things that used to be daily major problems are now once-a-week minor annoyances.
Another oddity is "tired and wired" -- we can be exhausted, but unable to fall asleep.
The sooner the medical profession gets their heads around it that CFS is not the same thing as "chronic fatigue", the better for millions of patients.

No comments: