The International Awareness Day for Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases (CIND) is observed on May 12 every year since 1992. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Fibromyalgia (FM), Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) and Gulf War Syndrome (GWS) are collectively known as Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases (CIND).
The day is designated to spread awareness among people about CIND and help the world to understand the seriousness of these diseases and conditions. It also aims to assist and educate patients, patient support groups and organizations, healthcare professionals about CIND.
May 12 was chosen as it coincided with the birth date of Florence Nightingale, the English army nurse who inspired the founding of the International Red Cross. Nightingale was believed to have suffered from ME/CFS like illness.
These illnesses, characterized by cognitive problems, chronic muscle and joint pain, extremely poor stamina, and numerous other symptoms, afflict people around the world in alarming numbers.
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a severe chronic illness in which symptoms are increased by physical exertion. Patients with CFS suffer from unexplained recurrent physical and mental fatigue, muscle and joint pain, sleep problems with neurological and cognitive manifestations. For making a diagnosis symptoms must last for at least six months in adults and three months in children.
Fibromyalgia (FM) is a syndrome of widespread pain, aching and stiffness of muscles, often accompanied by fatigue, sleep disturbances and multiple tender points. Detail information about fibromyalgia can be seen at www.nhp.gov.in/.
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) is also known as environmental sensitivities (ES) or intolerances. It is an acquired environment linked condition and is sometimes associated with myalgic encephalomyelitis/ chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. The symptoms are reproducible with (repeated chemical) exposure and include headaches, problems with balance and coordination, nervousness, irritability and depressed mood, burning and irritated eyes, stuffy or runny nose, cough, fast or irregular heart beat, nausea, diarrhea or constipation, frequent or urgent urination, achy muscles and joints, and rashes.
Management of CIND
Awareness about the disease is important for patients as they learn to manage their illness by using various approaches. Medical treatment and patient’s self-care with healthy lifestyle behavior can help to cope better with CNID. It includes:
Cognitive behaviour therapy and pharmacological treatment may be used with the consultation of physician for the management of symptoms causing major impairment.