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The health-related quality of life for patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). Health-related quality of life in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome: an international study.

This article a similar one on fibromyalgia offer basic facts about the two conditions. As a long-term and often severe illness, ME/CFS affects many parts of patients' lives, creating many challenges and requiring many adjustments.

Fatigue: Fatigue is experienced as a deep exhaustion that can be brought on by low levels of activity or for no apparent reason.

This is often referred to as "exertion intolerance." Fatigue is often disproportional to the energy expended and lasts far longer than it would in a healthy person.

Common additional symptoms include: headaches, low-grade fevers, sore throat, tender lymph nodes, anxiety and depression, ringing in the ears, abdominal pain (gas, bloating, periods of diarrhea and/or constipation), allergies and rashes, sensitivity to light and sound, abnormal temperature sensations such as chills or night sweats, weight changes, and intolerance of alcohol. Research suggests that there are more than one million people with ME/CFS in the United States and comparable numbers elsewhere.

Research has disproved the earlier idea of ME/CFS as the "yuppie flu." The illness affects all racial and economic groups, striking more vulnerable populations more frequently than upper middle class whites. Since there is as yet no diagnostic test for identifying ME/CFS or proven physical marker for the illness, diagnosing ME/CFS can be difficult.

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Fatigue can be intensified by overactivity, poor sleep, deconditioning, stress, emotions and poor nutrition. Other common symptoms include unrefreshing sleep, body pain and mental confusion ("brain fog"). Debilitating fatigue is usually the most prominent symptom.Sleep problems are usually a part of the illness, but they may be intensified by other factors such as stress, overactivity, and the absence of a good sleep environment or good sleep habits.Cognitive Problems: Most people with ME/CFS experience cognitive difficulties, often called "brain fog." Cognitive problems include feeling confused, difficulty concentrating, fumbling for words and lapses in short-term memory.

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