Do you suffer with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)? If you do, you might be pleased to know that recent research findings indicate that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) may be caused by a virus (XMRV, Xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus).
As a result, AABB – an international, not-for-profit association representing individuals and institutions involved in the field of transfusion medicine and cellular therapies – recommends to discourage blood donation by people diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS, also known as ME, or myalgic encephalomyelitis), in recognition that this disorder is not all in sufferers’ minds.
This represents a major breakthrough for many CFS sufferers whose illness is not yet being taken seriously.
Around 80% of people living with CFS are as yet undiagnosed, with many cases being misdiagnosed or assumed to be ‘psychological’, but getting a long-awaited diagnosis can be an important step on the road to recovery.
Learning that CFS may have a physiological – rather than psychological – cause is no news to sufferers, up to 25% of whom are physically disabled by their condition.
But growing acceptance by health bodies that CFS is not a form of mental illness is a welcome relief to those who have been battling for years, not just with their illness but with their health professionals, employers, friends, families and society – who may not acknowledge that their condition is painful, debilitating, and above all, real.
Even while there is still no cure for CFS, a diagnosis can help sufferers to rationalise their illness, giving a starting point for exploring self-help strategies and helping to explain to friends, family and colleagues why they keep breaking that dinner date, ducking out of family outings, or taking sick days from work.
If you think you or someone you know might have CFS/ME, visit meassociation.org.uk/ for help and advice.