Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases (CIND)

Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases (CIND) is a group of diseases that affect the immune system and neurological system. 

Fibromyalgia (FM), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), Gulf War Syndrome (GWS), and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) are collectively known as CIND. These illnesses, characterised by cognitive problems, chronic muscle and joint pain, very low energy levels and various other symptoms, affect people from all ages around the world at alarming numbers.

International awareness day of CIND is dedicated to educating the public and medical professionals about CIND. The date, 12 May, was especially selected as it is the birthdate of the famous English army nurse, Florence Nightingale, who suffered herself from Chronic Fatigue syndrome like illness.

Florence Nightingale

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, better known as the Yuppie Flu, is a complex disorder characterised by extreme tiredness and feeling sleepy all the time. Symptoms include muscle and joint pain, sleep problems, extreme physical and mental fatigue that are increased by physical exertion. To make a valid diagnosis, symptoms must last for at least 3 months.

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome where the sufferer feels widespread pain and stiffness in the joints, tendons and muscles, as well as fatigue, sleep disturbances and multiple tender points on the body. 

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) is a condition where one has various intolerances and sensitivities to the environment such as sensitivity to chemicals, perfumes and smoke. The symptoms are repeated with 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.  MCS is sometimes associated with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Gulf War Syndrome (GWS) is a chronic multi-symptomatic disorder that affects military veterans who returned after the 1990 – 1991 Persian Gulf War. Symptoms include fatigue, muscle pain, cognitive problems, insomnia, rasher and diarrhoea. Possible causes include: Chemical warfare agents and PTST (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). 

It is important for patients to be diagnosed by their medical doctor in order get proper treatment and disease management advice. Self-care, awareness and avoidance of symptom aggravators, and making healthy lifestyle choices that include regular exercise, a healthy diet, proper rest and relaxation, getting good sleep are the most important disease management factors that can be practiced by those affected by CNID.

Your doctor may prescribe medication to alleviate symptoms and treat the underlying disease. 

Psycho-social intervention such as cognitive behavioural therapy have also been shown to be helpful as it aims to improve mental health by challenging and changing unhelpful cognitive behaviours and distortions, improve emotional regulation, and the development of personal coping strategies that focus on current problem solving solutions. 

The most important thing to do if you suspect you have CIND is to visit your doctor for professional diagnosis and treatment as CIND can be very debilitating if not managed correctly.