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ME severity scales - discussion

Discussion in 'Diagnostic Criteria and Naming Discussions' started by adambeyoncelowe, May 14, 2019.

  1. Marky

    Marky Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Thats a great explanation @Mithriel, and has also been my experience.
    Mithriel and rainy like this.
  2. Cinders66

    Cinders66 Senior Member (Voting Rights)


    I can’t agree fully . I’m very severe now and had mild 2 years at the start, what you can experience as a mild severe flare, or atleast I did, isnt the same if you’re saying as bad as what the severe can experience. I get really bad vision and speech, sensory loss, loss of hearing even, numbness, compete cognitive loss to bring a level of confusion etc, I didn’t experience that as mild, I just felt really ill when I over did it ....imo, the neurological side wasn’t as anywhere near as clear as now. Likewise the pain I know some very severe get, is off the scales, I can’t imagine the mild experiencing it same in flare .

    The mild can be very ill in bed but I don’t think you can say it’s the same just less frequent.
    I do take the point I think you make that mild or moderate can dip into severe type levels with the weakness, sensitivity, illness so it’s not clear compartmentalised. So in that way it’s a scale and I disagree with some like AFME who tend to suggest severe ME is potentially as separate illness.

    I personally thought moderate was functional but unable to work.
  3. Mithriel

    Mithriel Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    I know a lot of people with MS and even the ones who can't work are only limited in the way people with mild ME are. The difference is they are allowed to be disabled. Conversely, some people with ME are forced to work with bad disease because they can't get benefits because of the lack of medical support. So work status is not a good criterion.

    This disease affects us all differently. When I was mild, still attending school, I did so while getting frequent episodes of vision loss and speech loss as well as bad pain, vertigo, paralysis and cognitive confusion.

    Later, I became much worse but I had 3 kids so I had little choice but to do things. I crawled across the floor to hold my son's bottle in his mouth while he sat in a baby bouncer many a time (I was not diagnosed at the time and little was known about ME. I had been told I had migraine with paralysis and then abandoned by the medical system. I'd also lost any idea of what was normal by that stage) I've dragged myself along hanging on railings collecting the kids from school.

    Much older now, with no dependants, I can't do the activities of daily living for myself but I do not have to push myself the way I did then.

    It may be different now, I have been ill for 52 years since I was 14. A diagnosis of even CFS and a quick google search lets you know that rest is important or allowed even but becoming ill as a child I had always been told I would realise how hard life was when you grow up so I assumed everyone found it as hard as me but they did not complain about it.
    shak8, Wonko, Simbindi and 4 others like this.
  4. Mithriel

    Mithriel Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Actually, I have been thinking about this and maybe I was actually moderate when I think I was mild! I have never had a job but I tried holiday work and only managed a few weeks before I crashed badly.

    The biggest problem with categorising ME is that it is so much worse than anyone acknowledges. People with MS know they have a terrible disease, in fact after diagnosis they have to be reassured that it is often much milder than they think. I'm not comparing the diseases, just the perceptions.
  5. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    I disagree with this; this is part of the criteria for 'mild' ME.
    I would say that those who are moderate are just about able to care for themselves but can struggle; anything on top of that is a bonus.
    Jaybee00, Chezboo, JoanneS and 3 others like this.
  6. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Then we have to factor in management.

    When I was moderately affected & in the first few years was pain levels were ridiculous, but I was more functional.

    Now, as a severe patient, I am simply unable to function at previous levels regardless of how well I manage my condition, but my pain levels are much, much better with good management.

    It's so much more complicated defining severity levels than in other conditions where there might be biomarkers or blood tests or whatever.
    shak8, Wonko and MEMarge like this.
  7. Simbindi

    Simbindi Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Somerset, England
    it struck me when reading the 'frailty' scale for assessing elderly patients that the 'mild', 'moderate' and 'severe' frailty descriptions seem very similar to the NHS mild, moderate and severe CFS/ME ranges. I think this shows how using these terminologies (mild, moderate, severe) to describe a condition that severely limits the daily lives of all age groups (supposedly 50% just to have 'mild CFS/ME') - including children - is wholly inappropriate.

    When you talk about having 'mild ME' most of the public would assume you have a mild illness, not something comparable to old age frailty. It certainly isn't taken to mean you have an illness that restricts you more than having early stage MS (for example).

  8. adambeyoncelowe

    adambeyoncelowe Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    This is interesting:
    From here: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324328#categorizing-ms-
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2020
    Invisible Woman likes this.
  9. Forbin

    Forbin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    I get a slightly different set of definitions from the ICC document here: http://www.investinme.org/Documents/Guidelines/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis International Consensus Primer -2012-11-26.pdf

    4. Symptom severity & impact:
    ....Mild: meet criteria and have a significant reduction in activity level;
    ....Moderate: approximately 50% reduction in pre-illness activity level;
    ....Severe: mostly housebound;
    ....Very Severe: mostly bedbound and require assistance with daily functions.
    ....Those who are very severely affected are too ill to attend regular medical appointments.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2020
  10. adambeyoncelowe

    adambeyoncelowe Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    I think this is probably because some at the milder end may not quite have a 50% reduction in pre-morbid function while evidently being far from healthy.

    For example, if you're asthmatic, you might have low levels of physical activity anyway (the same with any co-morbidity). Adding ME into the mix might make you only a little more functionally impaired, comparatively, but you're still significantly impaired compared to a healthy person.

    I suspect, too, that there are people for whom the reduction in function is maybe borderline (20-30%) who nevertheless have properly defined PEM and other symptoms highly suggestive of ME.
    Simbindi and Invisible Woman like this.

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