By Cort Johnson in Health Rising.
The Deconditioned ME/CFS Patient?
A huge (n=345) 1998 UK study set the stage. The smaller, less muscular hearts and carotid arteries found in ME/CFS made it clear – at least to those researchers – that both physical and cardiovascular deconditioning was present in ME/CFS. They recommended a graded exercise program to recondition them.
That finding gave cognitive behavioral therapy/graded exercise therapy (CBT/GET) practitioners in the Netherlands, the U.K. and elsewhere a physiological basis for their hypothesis that the distress in ME/CFS was not primarily physiological in nature.
Instead, they posited that the disease was more due to a lack of activity caused by a hypervigilant state which falsely ascribed catastrophic meanings to every symptom. People with chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) were so terrified by their symptoms that they’d stopped moving and become deconditioned (and now actually did have a physiological issue to deal with). As deconditioning begot more deconditioning, they became weaker and weaker.
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