The UK public is much aware and much better informed about ME than just a decade ago which is partly a result of tragic cases and controversies surrounding this potentially disabling condition. But it is also a result of a growing number of awareness raising campaigns and a variety of other events and initiatives by ME advocacy groups and organisations. Despite an undeniable progress when it comes to public awareness about ME in the UK, however, most people either don’t know almost anything about the condition or have incomplete and incorrect image.
ME is also called chronic fatigue syndrome, better known under the abbreviation CFS. ME patients and advocacy groups, however, strongly oppose the name chronic fatigue syndrome, claiming that it is insulting and that it undermines the seriousness of the condition. According to the opponents of the CFS name, the latter makes the condition sound relatively harmless even though it can lead to paralysis and even death. Also, this name makes the condition sound like a mental disorder despite the fact that it has been shown to be very physical when it comes to both its symptoms and causes/triggers.
A number of factors have been suggested to cause ME. But while it seems that there is indeed a connection between some of these factors and the onset of the illness, the exact cause(s) remain a mystery. Scientists and health experts believe that ME could be related to some viral infections, immune system disorders, hormonal imbalances and even stress, while some also suggest that the condition is perhaps caused by a combination of multiple factors. However, there is no conclusive evidence for any of the existing theories.
Since the exact cause of ME is not exactly clear, treatment of the condition focuses on relieving its symptoms, which vary greatly from one patient to another. As a result, no two patients are treated the same. Instead, management of ME is highly individual, while the prescribed treatments and therapies depend greatly on the symptoms and their severity. This individual approach, which despite being supported by the international medical community, is also a matter of major controversy because the treatment depends greatly on the medical team. And since some health experts continue to view ME as a psychosomathic illness, ME advocacy groups claim that many patients don’t receive appropriate care and treatment.