Dedicated help for chronic fatigue sufferers

PUBLISHED: 10:48 28 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:42 06 May 2010

Jenny Orr suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Jenny Orr suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

CHRONIC fatigue syndrome is still a very misunderstood illness. Last year Lister Hospital was given £50,000 to set up a dedicated service to help children and teenagers suffering with the condition. One of the very first people it helped was Jenny Orr, 16

CHRONIC fatigue syndrome is still a very misunderstood illness. Last year Lister Hospital was given £50,000 to set up a dedicated service to help children and teenagers suffering with the condition.

One of the very first people it helped was Jenny Orr, 16, from Stevenage.

She went to the doctor because she was feeling unusually tired, suffering with bad headaches and struggling to cope at school.

It took her a year to be referred into the dedicated service after blood tests revealed nothing and multivitamins didn't help.

There are many myths surrounding Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or ME, as it is known. There is no known cause for the disease but common symptoms include extreme tiredness, headaches, sleep problems and loss of concentration.

Jenny said: "It's really frustrating when you can't do what you want to do, you think it's your fault but when you find out there's a reason for it you are still frustrated but you can accept it more.

"There is not really much that the team can do to help me physically, I know I have to just not overdo things, but they have given me a lot of advice and support."

The East and North Herts NHS Trust's CFS team - made up of consultant paediatricians, a family therapist, a physiotherapist, a psychologist, a community nurse, an education adviser and an administrator - works with the patient and their family.

They also work with schools and GPs to break down the myths surrounding CFS so that young people like Jenny are not left undiagnosed.

Paediatrician Dr John Hyde said: "The combined health and education team are having great success in encouraging the majority of these young people, who may have been too unwell to participate in school life for months or even years, back to school which is a huge step forward on the road of recovery and back to a full and active life."

Since last April more than 80 young people have been referred to the new service for assessment.

* If you would like more information about CFS visit www.AYME.co.uk or call 01438 781437.

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