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ME = Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
CFIDS = Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome
FM = Fibromylagia
CFS = Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, ME is not tiredness or extreme tiredness,
 but a severe flu-like illness that is usually precipitated by a virus,
 commonly glandular fever or Ross River fever in Queensland.
 Symptoms patients may suffer include headaches, memory and concentration
 problems, sore throat, muscle and joint pain, irritable bowel syndrome,
 disturbed sleep, exhaustion after minor effort, food allergies/
 sensitivities and sensitivity to bright light and noise.
 ME is also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, 
 Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction  Syndrome (mainly in the USA) 
 and Myalgic Encephalopathy (mainly in the UK).
The correct terminology, Benign myalgic encephalomyelitis, ME has been classified in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) as a neurological disorder since 1969, when it was included in ICD-8 at Volume I: code 323: page 158 and in Volume II (the CodeIndex) on page 173.   (ICD-8 was approved in 1965 and published in 1969). Benign myalgic encephalomyelitis ME was included in ICD-9 (1975) and is listed in Volume II on page 182. In ICD-10 (1992), benign myalgic encephalomyelitis ME continues to be listed under Disorders of the Nervous System at G93.3, with the term Syndrome, Fatigue, Chronic, as one of the descriptive terms for the disorder. Fibromyalgia (FM) (patients suffer very similar symptoms) is an increasingly recognized chronic pain illness which is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal aches, pain and stiffness, soft tissue tenderness, general fatigue and sleep disturbances. The most common sites of pain include the neck, back, shoulders, pelvic girdle and hands, but any body part can be involved. Fibromyalgia patients experience a range of symptoms of varying intensities that wax and wane over time. Both illnesses may be severely disabling, with some patients being largely bed bound. While many studies report higher levels of certain physical abnormalities in ME/FM patients than in the healthy population, there currently isn't a validated diagnostic test. Diagnosis is made on the basis of symptom presentation How many people have ME ? There are no precise figures of how many people have ME. This is due to the fact that many people may be unsure of what they have, many doctors have hitherto not accepted that PWCs are ill and some PWCs simply 'drop out' when they cannot get any medical help. In May 2002, a Working Group formed under the auspices of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians published a report that estimated from the published literature that between 0.2% and 0.7% of the population has ME/CFS. This equates to between about 36,000 and 126,000 Australians. By way of comparison, about 22,000 Australians have been infected with HIV and about 15,000 have multiple sclerosis. Who gets ME ? ME strikes people of all ages, races and socioeconomic backgrounds. Most diagnosed cases fall into the 15 to 45 age group (at onset). Women appear to be more likely to develop CFS, with some studies suggesting that up to two thirds of all PWCs are women. A 1980's media description of CFS as "yuppie flu" is completely inaccurate - it crosses all socioeconomic barriers. Prognosis Recovery is variable and unpredictable: some people may recover completely, although it may take a number of months or years; in the majority, recovery is only partial and typically follows a slow course of variable improvement and relapse; a significant minority remain severely affected and may require a great deal of practical and social support. Continued deterioration is unusual in ME/CFS. Treatment There is currently no accepted cure and no universally effective treatment. Those treatments which have helped reduce particular symptoms in some people have unfortunately proved ineffective or even counterproductive in others. An early diagnosis together with adequate rest during the acute phase and during any relapse appear to bring the most significant improvement No one deserves to get ME or FM and no one should have to continue to endure it for weeks, months or years. Scientists and doctors are not certain of what causes ME/FM nor do they have a completely effective cure, despite they're being a vast array of potential treatments with some evidence for their use. Too many patients spend thousands of dollars on a fruitless quest for treatment. When something is found to help, it is often only slightly helpful, and costs a large sum of money. It is very important that we have as many doctors and researchers looking at our illness, so that 1:cheap, effective treatments can be found/proved, and then properly subsidised by Medicare, 2:all patients' current suffering be ended, and 3:the initial development of ME/FM be prevented along with relapses amongst recovered patients. At the current time, major projects into ME/CFS/FM are taking place at the University of Newcastle, University of Adelaide, and Greenslopes Hospital/University of Queensland. There are a number of smaller groups with some interest in our illness, particularly in Brisbane and Melbourne. None of these projects has government funding, and all slowly limp along on mainly private donations, particularly from ME/CFS/FM Associations.
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