Monday, July 16, 2007

How Many?

Part of our ongoing series about life with CFS.

How many people have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in the United States? Until recently, the answer was approximately one million people, almost four times the number of people with Multiple Sclerosis. Now, a recent study estimates that 2.64% of the population may have CFS.

In other words, approximately 5 million people in the United States have CFS. And the number could be as high as 7 million.

More people have CFS than have HIV infection. The CDC estimates that approximately 1.1 million people were living with HIV infection at the end of 2003, and 25% were undiagnosed.

More people have CFS than have breast cancer. Approximately 2 million women living in the U.S. have been treated for breast cancer.

So how much is our federal government spending on CFS research? $13 million in 2006. That's right, $13 million. Less than three dollars per patient. Angry yet? What if I told you that less than 20% of people who meet the diagnostic criteria for CFS have actually been diagnosed. Millions of people are sick and do not know why, or are being treated incorrectly, or have been told it's all in their heads.

Where is my government? Why is no one helping us? This new study has its critics, to be sure. But even if the study is completely wrong, and "only" 1 MILLION Americans have CFS, my government does not invest nearly enough money for research.

What will it take for our lawmakers to pay attention?

What will it take for you to help?

Edit: Check out today's article in the New York Times.

No comments: