ME North East
It is not known exactly what causes ME, but research has revealed a number of abnormalities in ME sufferers. Findings include evidence of persisting viral infection, abnormalities in skeletal and cardiac muscle structure and function, and evidence of damage to nervous tissue. As its name suggests, ME mainly affects the muscles and the head; muscle symptoms include severe fatigue on exercise, muscle pain and spasms. It’s important to appreciate that the kind of fatigue experienced by many ME sufferers is quite different from the straightforward ‘tiredness’ most normal people experience. ME sufferers have likened the fatigue to being ‘totally drained’ of energy, and unlike many other illnesses, exercise may make things worse. Any physical activity - such as walking up or down the stairs – may cause pain and discomfort, and even cause a major relapse. Sometimes, you will see ME sufferers apparently able to do quite normal things physically, yet complaining of terrible fatigue and muscle problems. What you haven’t seen is the price they pay afterwards for their physical exertion – perhaps days in bed recovering. Some sufferers have learnt how to ‘save up’ energy to enable them to do things, and they know exactly how much they can do, and what price they may have to pay afterwards. It is as though their muscles have a limited ‘energy supply’. When this runs out, the muscles stop functioning and need time to ’recharge’. ME North East is a regional charity covering the whole of the north east region and parts of Cumbria. We provide support to people of all ages with ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalopathy/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). We provide advocacy, home visits, help to manage the illness and support to access welfare benefit entitlements. We help young people manage their condition and liaise with schools, colleges, local authorities and education providers to maintain access to education. We signpost to other voluntary and statutory organisation that can offer help and support. We support local self-help groups, host social get-togethers and workshops, we provide counselling and some therapy treatments (subject to funding resources).
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