INTERNATIONAL ME/CFS AWARENESS DAY
Every year on May 12th, International ME/CFS Awareness Day spreads awareness for a condition called myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome. It’s also a day to draw attention to other chronic immunological and neurological diseases (CIND).
Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a debilitating and complex disease. Overwhelming fatigue is one of the primary symptoms of ME/CFS. This fatigue can prevent those with the disease from doing their normal everyday activities. It can also prevent people from doing simple tasks, such as taking a shower. Severe cases cause people to be bedridden for long periods of time. Those with ME/CFS cannot just rest to feel better. The fatigue is usually worse after any kind of physical or mental activity. For some people, ME/CFS affects every area of life, which includes school and work. Their social life is affected as well.
Besides chronic fatigue, other symptoms of ME/CFS include:
- Muscle or joint pain
- Sore throat
- Brain fog
- Irregular heartbeats
- Flu-like symptoms
Some of these symptoms are similar to that of autoimmune diseases. However, researchers don’t exactly know what causes ME/CFS.
An estimated 17 million people around the world suffer from ME/CFS. This number includes up to 2.5 million Americans. A high percentage of those who have it do not have a proper diagnosis. Many people go undiagnosed due to the complex nature of the illness. ME/CFS affects more women than men. This disease usually develops between the ages of 20 and 40. Most people with ME/CFS will improve over time. However, some will never make a full recovery. Much work and research need to be done to properly diagnose and treat this complex disease.
HOW TO OBSERVE INTERNATIONAL ME/CFS AWARENESS DAY
On this day, healthcare providers are encouraged to learn more about ME/CFS. Those who know someone with ME/CFS can also learn more about the disease, take the time to listen, and speak up for those who have this complex illness.
Other ways to participate in this day include:
- Wear blue to show your support of those with ME/CFS
- Read about famous people who have had this disease, like Cher, Stevie Nicks, Morgan Fairchild, Marie Curie, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
- Watch the documentary called, Unrest.
Share this day on social media with InternationalMECFSAwarenessDay
INTERNATIONAL ME/CFS AWARENESS DAY HISTORY
Action CIND in Canada founded ME/CFS Awareness Day in 1993. This Canadian nonprofit supports people with chronic immunological and neurological diseases. They chose May 12th in honor of Florence Nightingale’s birthday. She is known as the founder of modern nursing. Many believe that she struggled with ME/CFS long before there was a diagnosis for it.