A misunderstood disease wrongly labelled make-believe by some GPs is more devastating to sufferers than multiple sclerosis, a new scientific study has found.
More than 250,000 people in the UK have ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis), which manifests as unrelenting fatigue and profound pain. The condition, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, has no known cure and is made worse by exertion.
Sufferers are often confined to their beds, unable to walk, and need help even to shower – an action that could then lay them low for hours, days, weeks or longer.
But, despite the illness being recognised as a neurological condition by the World Health Organisation, patients are often branded hysterical, hypochondriac or even lazy. Many ME sufferers report having to give up employment and tell of a struggle to obtain benefits.
Now a study shows that people with ME can be more disabled than those who suffer from multiple sclerosis, a similar but recognised illness that affects more than 100,000 in the UK.
The paper, Functional Status and Well-Being in People with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, was published in Pharmacoeconomics – Open.
The study used anonymised clinical data that was collected from people with ME and MS who have donated blood samples to the UK ME/CFS Biobank in London, and also assessed how their illnesses affect areas such as employment and income.
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