International Awareness Day for Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases (CIND) helps raise awareness about a few diseases including myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), fibromyalgia (FM), Gulf War syndrome (GWS) and multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS). The date was chosen as the official day as it’s the birthday of Florence Nightingale who was believed to have suffered from ME/CFS. Around 12 May each year, buildings and landmarks around Australia light up in blue to raise awareness about ME/CFS.
Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a disabling and complex illness.
People with ME/CFS are often not able to do their usual activities. At times, ME/CFS may confine them to bed. People with ME/CFS have overwhelming fatigue that is not improved by rest. ME/CFS may get worse after any activity, whether it is physical or mental. This symptom is known as post-exertional malaise (PEM). Other symptoms can include problems with sleep, thinking and concentrating, pain, and dizziness. People with ME/CFS may not look ill. However,
People with ME/CFS are not able to function the same way they did before they became ill.
- ME/CFS changes people’s ability to do daily tasks, like taking a shower or preparing a meal.
- ME/CFS often makes it hard to keep a job, go to school, and take part in family and social life.
- ME/CFS can last for years and sometimes leads to serious disability.
- At least one in four ME/CFS patients is bed- or house-bound for long periods during their illness.
Anyone can get ME/CFS. While most common in people between 40 and 60 years old, the illness affects children, adolescents, and adults of all ages. Among adults, women are affected more often than men. Whites are diagnosed more than other races and ethnicities. But many people with ME/CFS have not been diagnosed, especially among minorities.