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Doctors make a diagnosis by excluding all other illnesses after a person has had symptoms continually for six months. People who receive an early diagnosis and early treatment tend to do better. Treatment choice will vary and will depend on the results of the additional testing. This misunderstanding is not helpful and can often cause a person to keep pushing beyond their limits, which will cause relapses and make their condition worse.

Exercise can be a problem for some people, because physical activity can worsen their symptoms. It is important that they work with their healthcare professionals to create a weekly routine that is especially for that person and focuses on doing as much activity as is possible, without any worsening of symptoms in the following days or weeks. The goal is to balance rest and activity to avoid decreasing fitness levels from lack of activity and flare-ups of illness due to overexertion.

It is very important that any activity plan be started slowly and increased slowly. Suggestions on how to pace yourself include: Establish the total activity level over the course of a week that you are capable of, without any negative effects or post-exertional malaise. Using a heart rate monitor will help guide your intensity.

To begin with, you need to do less than you think you can do, so that eventually you increase the chance of doing more. Maintain a level of activity that you can manage and stay on this plateau until you have a reserve of energy and are feeling very comfortable. The correct level of activity or exercise is that which can be repeated the next day without any flaring of symptoms including physical, cognitive or emotional.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) - Better Health Channel

Do not move to the next level of activity or exercise until you have the reserve which means you can increase your activity level without a symptom flare. No one can tell you what your limits are, it must be guided completely by you and your symptom response. A person encouraging you to 'push' might sound positive, but it can be dangerous if they encourage you to push past your limits. Repeat the pattern of staying at the next plateau of activity or exercise until you are able to increase it without any harmful consequences. You may reach a limit that should not be exceeded.

Some may not be able to increase further and may need to stay at this level of activity. Balance physical, mental and emotional activity with rest, dividing activity into short segments, alternated with rest. Remember emotions will take from your energy pool. Rigid programs of activity or exercise should be avoided, and activity should be tailored to your level of ability. For some, this may mean sitting up for a few minutes once or twice a day.

If you have overdone activity or exercise, or suffer a relapse for any reason, decrease the level of participation and rest more. Choose from a range of gentle activities such as stretching, yoga, tai chi, walking and light weight training. Keep an activity diary so you have a long-term picture of your performance levels and factors that might impact on your symptoms. Stop the physical activity well before you feel any symptom flare.

Pacing yourself is very important. Remember that the amount of exercise you can do will change from one day to the next. Send us your feedback. Rate this website Your comments Questions Your details. Excellent Good Average Fair Poor. Next Submit Now Cancel. Please note that we cannot answer personal medical queries.

Enter your comments below optional. Did you find what you were looking for? Yes No. Email Address. Submit Now Cancel. Thank you. Your feedback has been successfully sent. Immune system. Immune system explained Lymphatic system Spleen Lupus Autoimmune disorders Immune system explained Immune system explained The immune system remembers every germ it has ever overcome Vaccines Vaccines trick the body into building immunity against infectious diseases without causing the actual disease Lymphatic system Fluid retention oedema Fluid retention oedema occurs when fluid isn't removed from the body tissues, including the skin.

Lymphatic system The lymphatic manages fluid levels in the body, filters out bacteria and houses types of white blood cells Lymphoedema Women who have undergone treatment of breast cancer are particularly susceptible to lymphoedema of the arm Lymphoma Lymphoma is a general term for a cancer that begins in the lymphatic system Spleen Spleen Surgically removing a diseased or damaged spleen is possible without causing any serious harm to the person Splenomegaly Any conditions that cause a rapid breakdown of blood cells can place great strain on the spleen and make it enlarge Lupus Lupus Lupus can be mild or life-threatening, depending on which tissues are affected Lupus and infections The most common infections for people with lupus include those of the respiratory tract, skin and urinary system Lupus and medication Lupus most commonly appears in women of childbearing age Lupus and pregnancy Lupus can be controlled with medications, so the majority of affected women are able to have children Autoimmune disorders Addison's disease Most cases of Addison's disease are caused by an autoimmune response that attacks and damages the adrenal glands over time Autoimmune disorders There is generally no cure for an autoimmune disorder, but the symptoms can be managed Diabetes type 1 Type 1 diabetes can affect anyone of any age, but is more common in people under 30 years Henoch-Schonlein purpura Henoch-Schonlein purpura causes a purple spotted skin rash which lasts around one to four weeks, and is often marked by relapses Any trips out are rare and usually make me feel worse and it takes a long while to recover.

So yes it does make me feel jealous. But what can I do with this jealousy? It only eats me up and makes me feel worse. I can't spend my life wishing for what others have. Instead I must try and appreciate what I do have. I must stop trying to compare myself to others. I have to try and compensate and try to find other things to occupy my time and my mind.

I should try and remind myself that many people in this world do not have the basic things I take for granted. Maybe I should understand that I have many things that other people would be jealous of. So instead of feeling jealous and sorry for myself I'm now going to write a list of at least twenty things that I have that other people would want - even as basic as having running water. Perhaps you might like to do the same. Of those who can have a good time. Reminds me of a life once mine. Of those who are healthy and fit. That was me until I lost it.

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Of those who go to work each day. Of those who can plan life ahead. Mine is wrecked and I stay in bed. Of those who can fulfil their dreams. Now my life has ended it seems. This time I want to explore another emotion which is common with a chronic illness - the emotion of feeling sad.


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Sometimes I may cry when feeling sad. I wrote about this in a previous blog. It's inevitable that we are going to feel sad at times when we live with a chronic illness like M. Some become depressed. Through I gradually deteriorated. By the start of I completely collapsed and thought my life was over.

I went through many emotions. I was frightened and confused. I was angry and frustrated.

Symptoms of CFS/ME

I became somewhat depressed. I could see my life slipping away.


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I contemplated suicide. I went into grieving. I thought that I would never be happy again. However with time there has come some acceptance and with this new ways to be happy. I have tried to turn the negative into the positive. I've tried to rebuild a life, a life with a chronic illness. I believe that how we deal with chronic illness depends on how we deal with other things in life. We are all different and some cope better than others.

If we are ill for a long period of time it's not helpful to be always miserable and moaning about our lot. Of course we are bound to have days and moments when we feel down and feel the huge sense of loss.


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  4. How can you be both happy, and ill? I have been asked this. Oh, I have my moments! There are times when I still feel angry, frustrated and even have a good cry.

    Perspective ARTICLE

    BUT life is too short. We need to be grateful for life despite having a chronic illness.

    M.E. / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - Sleepydust Video

    I consider myself, like my friend, a person who is naturally happy, optimistic and positive. Although I totally understand for some people depression comes along with chronic illness and they find it hard to be happy. For those who find it difficult to cope here are a few tips Accept that you need to slow down and know your limits. Look after yourself and be selfish. What do you and your body need? Try to find something good in every day, no matter how small. References Goldman L, et al.

    Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and myofascial pain. In: Goldman-Cecil Medicine. Philadelphia, Pa. Accessed June 6, Gluckman SJ. Clinical features and diagnosis of systemic exertion intolerance disease chronic fatigue syndrome. Ferri FF. Chronic fatigue syndrome. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor Treatment of systemic exertion intolerance disease chronic fatigue syndrome.

    Rochester, Minn. Bennett JE, et al. Accessed June 7, Institute of Medicine. Washington, D. Chronic fatigue syndrome CFS : General information.