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Clinicians

Diagnosing and caring for patients

For decades, “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” was a diagnosis of exclusion, resulting in the delayed and misdiagnosis of countless patients. In 2015, the US National Academy of Medicine created new diagnostic criteria for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (“the IOM criteria”) to affirmatively diagnose ME through a core set of symptoms including post-exertional malaise, unrefreshing sleepcognitive dysfunction, and orthostatic intolerance.

While some clinicians and advocates believe the IOM criteria allow for the diagnosis of mild patients and patients earlier in their illness course, others are concerned that these criteria may still be too broad, particularly if used to select human subjects for research. We strongly recommend clinicians familiarize themselves with the following three criteria and the range of symptom presentations among mild, moderate and severe patients:

In addition to post-exertional malaise, unrefreshing sleep, cognitive dysfunction and/or orthostatic intolerance, many patients experience a range of other neurological, autonomic, and immunological symptoms either as a permanent feature of their illness or during a “crash” or flare. These symptoms include:

  • Pain in the muscles and joints
  • Headaches of a new type, pattern, or severity
  • Cognitive symptoms such as confusion, difficulty retrieving words, poor working memory, spatial instability, and disorientation
  • Sensitivity to light, sound or vibration, taste, odor or touch
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea or abdominal pain
  • Muscle fatigability, weakness and fasciculation; poor coordination and ataxia
  • Autonomic and endocrine symptoms such as poor temperature regulation, cold or heat intolerance
  • Immune symptoms such as tender lymph nodes, recurrent sore throats, fevers, or flu-like symptoms, and new food or chemical sensitivities
Management

While there are currently no FDA-approved treatments for ME, many patients can live a higher quality of life if they have access to a physician who can help them:

  • pace their activity
  • manage the symptoms of pain, unrefreshing sleep, and orthostatic intolerance
  • diagnose and treat common comorbidities

Learn more:

 


Unrest Continuing Education Credit Program

Watch Unrest Online for Continuing Education Credit

US healthcare providers can now watch the Sundance award-winning documentary about Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Unrest, and receive continuing education credits through the American Medical Women’s Association and Indiana University School of Medicine.

Register to Watch UNREST for Credit
Organizing a Screening of Unrest for Continuing Education Credit

Want to share Unrest with your students or colleagues? You can also organize a Continuing Education screening at your hospital, medical school, or other community institution.

Host a Continuing Education Screening

 

The Unrest CE program is currently only available to medical providers in the U.S. If you are interested in learning how you can support our efforts to accredit Unrest for continuing education in other countries, please email cme@unrest.film.


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SHAPE Lab Tech(Oscar Ortiz) draws blood from a Army soldier(Karla Bayles).

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