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What causes the illness ME and how is the disorder usually treated?

In the past, the medical condition ME was at best thought of as a very mild illness and at worst 'just laziness'.

You may remember Del Boy Trotter from Only Fools And Horses like to tell people he suffered from ME because it was predominately associated with young, high income professionals.

Thankfully today we are more sympathetic to the disorder and those you suffer from it.

ME stands for myalgic encephalomyelitis and is essentially the same thing as chronic fatigue syndrome.

The causes of ME have yet to be fully established, but the main symptoms of the recently discovered illness are as follows:

- muscle and joint pain
- sore throat
- headaches
- swollen glands
- feeling tired despite having had a good night's sleep
- lower levels of concentration
- loss of short term memory

If you have all, or a number of, these symptoms you should see a doctor immediately as several other more serious diseases such as multiple sclerosis, display similar characteristics.

There is no definite cure for ME but sufferers have benefited from everything from nutritional advice to occupational therapy. For further information visit the ME Association at www.meassociation.org.uk

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