ME/CFS Awareness Day, observed May 12, brings awareness to CFS patients, families, caregivers, and researchers. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is characterized by substantial debility, which affects daily activities, and is accompanied by profound fatigue that is not relieved by rest. While varying by person, symptoms include post-exertional malaise, cognitive problems, unrefreshing sleep, and pain.
Researchers estimate that at least one million Americans have ME/CFS, but only 20% are diagnosed with the illness. Patients, families, employers, and society endure significant costs associated with ME/CFS. These costs are estimated to be $18-51 billion annually in the United States. Although most common in women, ME/CFS affects people of all ages, including children, and all races and ethnicities. Scientists have not determined the cause or causes of ME/CFS.