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Frequently asked questions (CFS/ME)

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Here is a short list of the most frequently asked questions about the ME and chronic fatigue syndrome services offered by Broadgreen hospital

There is an evidence base for pacing and grading of activity and cognitive behavioural therapy. Graded exercise is also included in the NICE Guidelines but this approach must to be personalised, as it is not general exercise, and must be supervised by a suitably experienced practitioner.

You can also view information on treatments here.

 

You can read more about grading here.

 

You can read more about pacing here.

CFS/ME is different from depression and anxiety disorders, although patients can have both concurrently. Medication can be appropriate to prescribe to alleviate symptoms, which can help stability more effective activity and rest management, sleep and pain.

A generic exercise programme given by someone without specific knowledge of the condition is unlikely to work, and may exacerbate symptoms. We can work with you on an individualised programme at the right time.

Sleeping for longer generally won’t improve your fatigue. Advice about sleep hygiene to improve the quality of sleep can be helpful. You can find tips on getting healthy sleep here.

You are not lacking motivation. A ‘boom and bust’ pattern of activity is usually a result of patients trying to do more than they can sustain.

Without a knowledgeable practitioner it is difficult to reach stability as insight and skills to support are needed. The service offers a rehabilitation programme for a fixed timescale to teach strategies and establish improvement. Patients won’t be recovered when they are discharged. However, they are more equipped to manage and to continue getting better. People who have recovered report that learning a realistic an activity to rest ratio, and listening to their bodies, is key.  Sustained good health requires an understanding of what can trigger a setback and the confidence to minimise

Many with severe presentations are hidden due and current figures are inaccurate. With a knowledgeable practitioner further deterioration can be avoided. Unfortunately, The Liverpool CFS/ME Service is currently funded to see mild to moderate illness presentations and cannot offer the programme to those unable to attend. We are aware this is unsatisfactory and will aim to offer some advice and signposting. Once a patient is stable enough to visit consistently they can be re-referred.

The Association of UK Dieticians recommends a balanced health diet. However, many with the condition find eating little and often helpful and adding health slow release snack such as oat based products to avoid being low on fuel.

There is no evidence on on-going viral illness being the cause of symptoms, rather the illness may have been the trigger that has lead into CFS/ME.

There is no evidence to suggest conceiving and the course of pregnancy is affected adversely in CFS/ME. Sadly it is a myth that pregnancy can cure the condition. Often women report a reduction in symptoms but this relates more to resting more and delegating effectively; they are more willing to ask for help and others recognise their need to support more readily. CFS/ME may mean that the physical strength to manage labour needs careful management and the disturbance to sleep post-delivery and increased fatigue due to labour will also impact. Be proactive to prepare and refer to your midwife for advice.