Tracking my efforts to beat Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), aka CFIDS, aka CFS

Tracking my efforts to beat Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), aka CFIDS, aka CFS

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Why I use the term "ME" over "CFS"

I feel as if I should explain why I, an American, title my blog an "ME" blog, rather than a "CFS" blog. Naturally, I am aware that the American Centers for Disease Control (CDC) long ago abrogated the term "ME" in the United States, in favor of the more general term CFS.  But, like many people, I believe the term "chronic fatigue" stands as one of the greatest misnomers in the history of medicine.  I won't expand on that topic, as there is literally nothing new to be said.

But I will say that the notion that illnesses should be defined by political entities seems ridiculous.  For purposes of this blog, I couldn't care less what the CDC labels it.  (Well, I do care in the sense that I hope they change it).  But here, I use the term that I personally prefer, national boundaries be damned.

Within my blog entries, sometimes I use ME and CFS synonymously, or as part of the "ME/CFS" label.  I understand the argument of those who say that we shouldn't use "ME" and "CFS" synonymously -- that they represent distinct categories.  Proponents of this argument correctly point out that CFS is a diagnosis of exclusion and, therefore, potentially describes a number of unrelated ailments.  However, the majority of the ME/CSF community uses the terms synonymously.  So while I respect those who fight to distinguish the two, I choose not to make the distinction here.  

I also understand those who say that "ME" isn't an adequate descriptor of the illness because it describes a neurological condition, whereas most people who consider themselves to have ME have symptoms that reach beyond the neurological, including immunological and endocrine.  I agree that, from an etymological standpoint, ME is a poor descriptor. But I still believe it is the better of two terms, so I'll use that for now until we come up with something better.

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