America’s Hidden Health Crisis: Hope for Those Who Suffer from ME/CFSPosted on by
What would you do if you were going along with your life, got what seemed like a common, flu-like illness, but never regained your health? What if you couldn’t go to work, care for your family, or even leave your bed for months – or even years – as a result? Perhaps worse – what if this happened to your child? Then imagine doctors saying there is no treatment or cure, or even a known cause for the illness that is upending your life or your child’s. Sadly, this is the reality for many people who have Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS).
ME/CFS affects men, women and children of all races and ethnicities. Between 825,000 and 2.5 million Americans are estimated to have ME/CFS. Yet, this debilitating illness remains largely invisible to most Americans, despite costing U.S. society an estimated $18–59 billion annually in medical bills and lost incomes.
Today, CDC recognizes the 25th anniversary of International Awareness Day for ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia. We continue to promote understanding of ME/CFS by:
- Supporting one of the largest-ever studies of ME/CFS. Seven ME/CFS doctors are identifying major health problems and symptoms of patients with ME/CFS. This will help us develop better and easier ways to diagnose and treat ME/CFS. Early findings contributed to a 2015 report by the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on ME/CFS and have been recently published.
- Publishing teaching modules through the American Association of Medical Colleges’ MedEd Portal that help medical and health students learn how to diagnose ME/CFS.
- Developing other urgently needed educational materials for healthcare providers.
- Bringing together in 2016 a meeting of ME/CFS patients, advocates, health professionals and federal officials to discuss best ways to educate the public and provide resources for patients and healthcare providers.
- Updating our comprehensive ME/CFS website to make it more readable and useful for the public, patients and healthcare providers.
- Hosting Public Health Grand Rounds in 2016 to raise awareness and foster discussion about ME/CFS. The presentation, summarized here, has already been viewed nearly 8,000 times.
- Hosting biannual calls with experts discussing promising ME/CFS research for patients, their families and healthcare providers. All are invited to our next SEC call on May 25.
- Co-organizing the ME/CFS Common Data Elements project with the National Institutes of Health, which will enable information to be consistently captured and organized across ME/CFS studies.
- Collaborating with other agencies across the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure each agency’s activities provide the greatest benefit to the American public.
Through this work, and the dedication of those who care for ME/CFS patients, CDC is striving to find better ways to diagnose and treat ME/CFS and to improve the lives of those enduring this illness. Better understanding of ME/CFS may ultimately lead to prevention or even a cure. We are confident that, together, we can make continued progress and that there is hope for a brighter future for patients who suffer daily from this debilitating, chronic illness.
- Page last reviewed:May 15, 2017
- Page last updated:May 15, 2017
- Content source: