It is a common misconception that fatigue is a defining feature of M.E. This is not the case: fatigue is a feature of several chronic illnesses, and while it is probably more severe in M.E. than in most, countless symptoms combine and conspire to rob most sufferers of anything approaching a normal life for the duration of the illness. As M.E. is an illness of the central nervous system, some of the worst and most immediately obvious – alongside post-exertional malaise – are the neurological symptoms. Here are some links which may help to explain how these present.
In a review of 366 patients referred to me who had been diagnosed with MS by a board-certified neurologist, only 236 patients (65%) had been correctly diagnosed. An astounding 28 (22%) actually had CFS.
More on the similaries and differences between MS and ME (see Table 1 and Table 3)
|50% of MS patients are cognitively impaired. The severity of impairment can range from clinically undetectable to global and severe.
|100% of M.E. patients are significantly cognitively impaired. Even most moderately affected patients are severely cognitively impaired and in the most severely affected patients the deficits can be profound. For a significant number of M.E. patients this is their most severe disability.
|Some MS patients may difficulty speaking.||Some M.E. patients have difficulty speaking and also an equal difficulty listening to the speech of others or even tolerating having someone quietly keep them company. A few minutes with company or listening to speech can cause severe and pronged relapse and extreme suffering in M.E.|
The Canadian Clinical Case Defintion for ME/CFS (seen by many as the desired criteria for diagnosis of ME):
NEUROLOGICAL/COGNITIVE MANIFESTATIONS: Two or more of the following difficulties should be present: confusion, impairment of concentration and short-term memory consolidation, difficulty with information processing, categorizing, and word retrieval, intermittent dyslexia, perceptual/sensory disturbances, disorientation, and ataxia. There may be overload phenomena: informational, cognitive, and sensory overload — e.g., photophobia and hypersensitivity to noise — and/or emotional overload which may lead to relapses and/or anxiety.
There is detail on each specific neurological difficulty on the 30-page document at the link above.