Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), sometimes called Post-Viral Fatigue Syndrome, is a dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system (triggered or precipitated by a virus, extreme stress, extreme exercise, trauma, and/or surgery), which is associated with reactivation of childhood viruses (EBV, HSV-6, and/or CMV) and cascading hormonal, digestive, immune, and circadian imbalances.
The biggest symptom is post-exertional fatigue that is often delayed. For Liz, any “exertion,” which could be just two emails or walking two blocks too many, could mean a severe crash two days later at a cellular level that lasted for weeks. Someone on Twitter described the crash as a “loss of life force.”
New research shows ME/CFS is marked by impaired mitochondria (our cell’s energy plants), reduced cardiac output, brainstem dysfunction, gut microbiome imbalances, and abnormal cytokine (small immunomodulating proteins within cells) activity. This will hopefully lead to faster diagnoses and more effective treatments for the estimated 20 million people managing this condition.