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Tuesday, 4 May, 1999, 12:47 GMT 13:47 UK
Fatigue not worst symptom of M.E.
Schoolchildren
Children with M.E. have a tough time in school
Even though M.E. is often described as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome a survey of sufferers has shown that fatigue is not the worst symptom of the illness.

Campaigners say the finding illustrates the depth of public misconceptions about the illness.

The research was carried out by the Asociation of Youth with M.E. (AYME) and the Open University's School of Health and Social Welfare as part of the first major UK study into childhood M.E.

The results of the study, based solely on the opinions of young people with M.E., will be submitted to the Chief Medical Officer's Working Party on M.E. in children.

Of the 500 AYME members questioned for the study, only 14% described fatigue as their single worst symptom.

Other symptoms that were rated as more severe included:

  • Unremitting headaches
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Neurological and concentration problems
  • Sleep disruption

AYME press officer Emily Collingridge said it was commonly thought that M.E. was just a form of severe tiredness.

She said: "It can be very difficult for M.E. sufferers when other people assume that M.E. is just about being tired because they suffer an awful lot more problems than that and need a lot of help overcoming the other symptoms."

Ms Collingridge said pain and concentration problems could make school very tough for children with M.E.

She said: "Often they are not given the emotional support they need because people are not aware of the other symptoms and do not see it as being a severe illness."

In a bid to raise public awareness, AYME is distributing a poster about the symptoms of the illness as part of M.E. Awarness Week (May 8-15).

See also:

17 Jul 98 | Health
Government to tackle ME
02 Dec 98 | Health
Europe to decide over ME drug
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