Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) affect many thousands of people of all types and ages.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is the common name for a group of significantly debilitating medical conditions characterised by persistent fatigue and other specific symptoms that lasts for a minimum of 6 months in adults (and 3 months in children or adolescents).
Symptoms of chronic fatigue
The symptoms of both CFS and ME include:
- debilitating low energy levels
- painful muscles and joints
- disordered sleep
- gastric disturbances
- neuropsychological complaints
- poor memory and concentration
- painful lymph nodes
- prolonged fatigue after exercise
Identifying the causes
Breakspear Medical has always had a policy of identifying causes and then offering treatment.
With our chronic fatigue patients, we search for infectious agents such as Epstein-Barr virus, Parvovirus B19 and bacterial, rickettsial and parasitic organisms using a variety of tests and laboratories.
The treatments we offer are anti-viral treatments, high-dose gamma globulin to treat Parvovirus and complex treatments for rickettsial and bacterial disease. We also use hyperthermia treatment to simulate the pyrexia of illness and support nutrition. Where people with CFS and/or ME have developed intolerance to foods, these are also recognised and treated using antigen-specific, low-dose immunotherapy (LDI).
The cytokine shift
We have found that the basis of prolonged ill health in CFS or ME involves a “cytokine shift”. In this condition, the protein messengers between cells (cytokines) work together to cause allergy/sensitivity and increased reactivity by a mechanism involving antibodies instead of the normal activity against infectious agents, such as viruses. This is a cytokine shift from a “TH1” to a “TH2” pattern.
The situation is further complicated as these two patterns interact. In CFS or ME patients, allergies/sensitivites are perpetuated and the ability to wipe out viruses is compromised.
Treatment of chronic fatigue
Combination therapies for the treatment of chronic fatigue and myalgic encephalomyelitis are more effective than single agents.
It is possible to reverse the cytokine shift with a number of chronic fatigue treatments that we offer. Treatment may start with a series of skin and blood tests for bacterial sensitivities, urine test for microbial organism products and peptides (indolyl-acryloylglycine), and a stool test for lysozyme, a product of white cells called granulocytes, monocytes and macrophages may be used. (This test is a marker for damage to the gut lining by bacteria or by inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.)
Other agents that can stimulate TH1 include some hormone products and bacterial agents such as Bacille Calmette Guérin (BCG), normally used in the protection against tuberculosis. We also now have available a bacterial product, known to help modulate the immune system. This is a high potency probiotic preparation called Escherichia coli. This and Bifidobacteria have a local effect, protecting against gut mucosal injury through both TH1 and TH2 responses.
Find out more
You may wish to print out our colour pdf summary of the CFS/ME Treatment Programme from our Resources section. Alternatively, you may request a printed version of the CFS/ME Treatment Programme by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
It was as though clouds had parted; for the first time in 6 years a doctor was telling me that she understood why I was feeling so ill.
Breakspear Medical treats each patient individually, which means that there is no standard treatment programme for CFS/ME at a set price. After your first appointment, you will be given a detailed estimate, with your recommended treatment programme in detail with all the costs, which will be explained to you by your Patient Liaison Officer. On the day of your appointment or anytime afterward, if you have any specific questions regarding prices, estimates and treatment programmes, please contact a Patient Liaison Officer, by phone 01442 261 333 ext 293, or email: email@example.com
How much does it cost to be tested and treated for chronic fatigue?
Because Breakspear Medical treats each patient individually, there is no standard testing and treatment programme for CFS/ME at a set price. Depending on your symptoms, medical history and lifestyle, first the cause(s) of your fatigue must be identified, which determines the appropriate treatment plan and, of course, the cost.
After your first appointment with a Breakspear Medical doctor, you will be given a detailed estimate, with your personal recommended tests and treatment programme in detail with all the costs, which will be explained to you by your Patient Liaison Officer.
On the day of your appointment or anytime afterward, if you have any specific questions regarding prices, estimates and treatment programmes, you may contact a Patient Liaison Officer, by phone 01442 261 333 ext 293, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
How long will it take to cure my CFS?
Sadly, there is no easy answer to this question. CFS is a term used to describe a long-term illness, which affects people’s lives to varying degrees. At Breakspear Medical, we look at each patient individually and therefore your customised treatment programmes will be different from other patients and, depending on a variety of factors, it may take a few weeks to many months to start feeling better.
Do you know anyone who has been cured of CFS?
We’re very pleased that several of our CFS patients have written articles about their recovery from CFS. Visit our Resources section to read testimonials and case studies.