Common symptoms in ME/CFS
Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is often referred to as ME/CFS as it is clear there are common onsets and symptoms shared by both the disease ME and the symptoms that define CFS.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome[edit | edit source]
|Symptom||Mild to Severe
|Moderate to Severe|
|Fatigue - persist or relapsing*||
|Significant reduction in activities*||
|Symptoms last over 6 months*||
|Memory & concentration probs||
|Headaches - new or different||
|Muscle pain (myalgia)||
Source: Jason et al. 2014
*Required symptom, can be mild
Jason et al. (2014) found these symptoms were the most common among people who met the Fukuda criteria, which are the symptoms normally used to diagnose in the US and UK.
Approximately 60% of people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome also meet the criteria for M.E.
|Symptom||Mild to Severe
|Moderate or Severe|
|Fatigue - persist or relapsing*||100||95|
|Substantial reduction in activities*||100||100|
|Symptoms last over 6 months*||100||100|
|Memory & concentration difficulties||98||80|
|New or different headaches||90||50|
|Muscle pain (myalgia)||96||73|
|Joint pain (arthralgia)||86||65|
|Lymph node pain||81||44|
*Required symptom, can be mild
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis[edit | edit source]
|50% reduction in previous activity level|
|Post-exertional neuroimmune exhaustion|
Fatigue - moderate or severe
Minimum exercise makes you tired
|Next-day soreness after mild activity|
|Physically drained/sick after mild activity|
|Dead, heavy feeling after start of exercise|
|Mentally tired after slightest effort|
|Difficulty paying attention for long|
|Muscle pain (myalgia)|
Sensitive to smells/foods/drugs/chemicals
67(Immune / GI / Urinary)
|Irritable bowel problems|
Feeling hot / cold for no reason
58(Ion transport / Metabolism)
Sources: Jason et al. 2016, Intl Consensus Criteria 2011
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis diagnosis requires more symptoms than Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diagnosis.
People with M.E. typically meet the CFS criteria as well, and were found to have more severe symptoms and reduced functioning overall.
Long list of symptoms[edit | edit source]
The Canadian Consensus Criteria lists these as known symptoms in Appendix 4.
Symptom recognition[edit | edit source]
The DePaul Symptom Questionnaire can be used to assess symptoms of both M.E. and CFS. The Canadian Consensus Criteria (Appendix 4) also contains an extensive list of possible symptoms.  The severity of illness and overall health can be assessed using the SF-36 health survey.
Notable studies[edit | edit source]
Castro-Marrero et al. 2017[edit | edit source]
- 1757 Spanish subjects who met both the 1994 CDC/Fukuda definition and Canadian Consensus Criteria for CFS/ME. Table 2 gives prevelance of each ME/CFS symptom in the Canadian Consensus Criteria
Jason et al. 2016[edit | edit source]
- Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (International Consensus Criteria) symptoms are compared with symptoms of patients meeting the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Fukuda criteria but not the M.E. criteria. Those meeting the M.E. criteria were also found to meet the CFS criteria, and to have more severe symptoms.
Jason et. al 2014[edit | edit source]
- 236 patients completed the DePaul Symptom Questionnaire, rating the frequency and severity of 54 symptoms, compared to controls.
de Becker et al. 2010[edit | edit source]
- A study of 2073 patients complaining of chronic fatigue (CF) in Brussels. Table 1 and Table 2 show the how many patients had each symptom according to whether they met the Fukuda criteria, the Holmes criteria or had chronic fatigue without CFS.
1578 CFS patients fulfilled the Fukuda criteria (called the "CFS group") and 951 (60.3% of the CFS group) fulfilled the Holmes criteria. The Holmes definition was found to be better than the Fukuda at differentiated CFS patients from the patients with Chronic Fatigue without CFS.
See also[edit | edit source]
- Rare and uncommon symptoms
- DePaul Symptom Questionnaire
- SF-36 Health Survey
- CDC 2005 Symptom Inventory for CFS
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
- Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease
Learn more[edit | edit source]
- What is M.E? - Invest in M.E. Reseach
References[edit | edit source]
- Carruthers, BM; van de Sande, MI; De Meirleir, KL; Klimas, NG; Broderick, G; Mitchell, T; Staines, D; Powles, ACP; Speight, N; Vallings, R; Bateman, L; Bell, DS; Carlo-Stella, N; Chia, J; Darragh, A; Gerken, A; Jo, D; Lewis, DP; Light, AR; Light, KC; Marshall-Gradisnik, S; McLaren-Howard, J; Mena, I; Miwa, K; Murovska, M; Stevens, SR (2012), Myalgic encephalomyelitis: Adult & Paediatric: International Consensus Primer for Medical Practitioners (PDF), ISBN 978-0-9739335-3-6
- De Becker, P.; McGregor, N.; De Meirleir, K. (Sep 15, 2001). "A definition-based analysis of symptoms in a large cohort of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome". Journal of Internal Medicine. 250 (3): 234–240. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2796.2001.00890.x. ISSN 0954-6820.
- Jason, Leonard A.; Sunnquist, Madison; Brown, Abigail; Evans, Meredyth; Vernon, Suzanne D.; Furst, Jacob; Simonis, Valerie (Jan 1, 2014). "Examining case definition criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome and myalgic encephalomyelitis". Fatigue : biomedicine, health & behavior. 2 (1): 40–56. doi:10.1080/21641846.2013.862993. ISSN 2164-1846. PMC . PMID 24511456.
- Carruthers, Bruce M.; Jain, Anil Kumar; De Meirleir, Kenny L.; Peterson, Daniel L.; Klimas, Nancy G.; Lerner, A. Martin; Bested, Alison C.; Flor-Henry, Pierre; Joshi, Pradip (May 2002). "Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Clinical Working Case Definition, Diagnostic and Treatment Protocols" (PDF). Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. 11 (1): 7–115. doi:10.1300/j092v11n01_02. ISSN 1057-3321.
- Jason, Leonard A; Sunnquist, Madison; Brown, Abigail; Evans, Meredyth; Newton, Julia L (January 2016). "Are Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome different illnesses? A preliminary analysis". Journal of health psychology. 21 (1): 3–15. doi:10.1177/1359105313520335. ISSN 1359-1053. PMC . PMID 24510231.