This year ME Awareness Week runs from the 8th May- 12th May and the Islwyn MP is using the opportunity to spread awareness of the symptoms of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).
ME is a fluctuating complex condition that can affect many of the body’s systems including the immune system, neuroendocrine system, autonomic nervous system and muscles. It can have a long term and disabling effect on people of all ages, sexes and ethnic groups. Wames estimates that there were 13,500 people in Wales with the condition pre-pandemic – 10% are children under the age of 16.
The ME Association have stated that with the rise of Long Covid since the pandemic, the number of people being diagnosed with ME/CFS is growing exponentially day-by-day. It is estimated that there are 1.7million people in the UK alone who, months after being infected, still have symptoms of Long Covid, which in so many respects looks just like ME/CFS. This also follows research that suggests that 40 – 54% of people with long COVID have developed ME/CFS.
Common symptoms of ME/CFS include
- feeling extremely tired all the time – you may find it very hard to do daily activities
- still feeling tired after resting or sleeping
- taking a long time to recover after physical activity
- problems sleeping, such as waking up often during the night
- problems with thinking, memory and concentration
Some people with ME/CFS may also have other symptoms, including:
- muscle or joint pain
- a sore throat
- flu-like symptoms
- feeling dizzy or sick
- fast or irregular heartbeats (heart palpitations)
In March 2023, the Welsh Government announced that annual funding for Adferiad (Recovery) services will increase to £8.3 million, which includes Long Covid services that will be extended to accommodate others with long term conditions including ME/CFS.
Chris Evans MP said:
‘As we continue to learn more about the affects Long Covid is having on people across the country and how it can lead to longer-term, chronic illnesses, it is important to know the symptoms of ME/CFS and speak to a GP if these symptoms continue.
I am pleased that the Welsh Government are taking vital steps to ensure those who are suffering with long covid and ME/CFS are supported through their recovery and treatment.’