How Old Were The Girls When They Were In Sixteen M.E/CFS in Children – How We Are Facing The Future With Fatigue

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M.E/CFS in Children – How We Are Facing The Future With Fatigue

The University of Bristol carried out a study which highlighted that 16-year-old girls took time off during the academic year due to overwork. It is thought that girls from poorer backgrounds were more likely to be affected by CFS.

So what does this say about our younger generation and what does it tell us about our background, our financial situation and probably our geographical region?

Described as “persistent exhaustion,” the report asked about 5,700 parents and their children’s symptoms over a period of time. It was found that most 16-year-old girls suffered the most from CFS symptoms.

At the outset, the results of the study tell us that there is a significant breakdown both in education and in the benefit of both parents and child. Whether it is due to poor methods at school, lack of general awareness of the disease through poor parental support is probably likely. It certainly dispels the very narrow minded widely held view that CFS is only something that attacks the middle classes.

What highlights the idea of ​​poor education on both sides, as well as the general practitioner’s opinion, is that of the 1,000 children studied, only one actually had a diagnosis of myalgic encephalomyelitis.

What does this say about the lives of our children in these situations? Is there more stress on girls this age from less financially sound backgrounds? What other stresses are they facing that make them susceptible to ME? Peer pressure? Drugs?

The stress they brought on themselves to do well in school and not turn out like their parents? The fact that these are girls in the middle of studying for their final exams at school sheds some light on the matter. It may also be hormonal due to the added data that this is a female condition more than a male one. Interestingly, both were found to be equally present in 13-year-olds, with only an increase in females at 16, suggesting that a hormonal change in the body may be a major factor.

So if a less fortunate background is a factor in ME, then the question is, could it be prevented? Would a better awareness of this condition, a better understanding of adolescent girls and the stress they face, be beneficial in ME research? Does this raise another question, suggesting that teenage girls feel more pressure from external sources to succeed in life than boys of a similar age? We already understand that stress plays a significant role in the effect ME has on pre-existing symptoms, but could stress be the cause of ME?

The report also found that one in 50 16-year-olds have CFS/ME lasting more than six months – the symptom-free requirement now required for a GP diagnosis. This number is amplified, with one in 33 having symptoms of the disease for more than three months. It was found that the disabled were missing half a day of school every week.

Yet the report is far from suggesting that taking a week off school is a quick cure. The study showed that the impact of the disease on the patient’s family and school life had an equally crippling effect. Parents didn’t know how to deal with the situation due to a lack of education about the disease, and not every child had access to help, which meant some areas were more at risk than others.

Dr. Esther Crawley, lead author of the report and consultant CFS/ME paediatrician, confirmed that in some areas there is a distinct lack of care and support for affected children and families.

“The children who attend my specialist service only attend school two days a week on average. This means that only the most difficult cases get help.”

“As paediatricians, we need to get better at identifying CFS/ME, especially in those children from disadvantaged backgrounds who may have less access to specialist care.”

The trigger for this disease is not specifically known, although background and area may be factors in diagnosing the likely cause. However, it is believed that children with access to CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) could respond well to this treatment.

Sonya Chowdhury, chief executive of Action for ME, said the study highlighted the urgent need for more effective treatment for the younger generation if they are to cope with ME symptoms through their young lives.

“We know from working with parents of children with ME that this disabling condition affects every area of ​​family life. The reality is that many young people miss well over half a day of school a week, while for those most severely affected their disabling symptoms are exacerbated the isolation and loss that comes with being housebound and/or bedridden.”

What factors do you think are responsible for the rise in ME in teenage girls? Do you have a child with ME? Are you concerned that today’s children are prone to such chronic diseases? Let me know your thoughts in the comment box. I would love to hear from you.

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