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Women Hit by Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Media Release 

Emerge Australia today revealed that approximately 75% of an estimated 250,000 Australians living with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) are women.

Speaking on the eve of International Women’s Day, Anne Wilson, CEO of Emerge Australia said, myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS) is a complex and disabling neurological disease that affects many parts of the body, including the brain and muscles, digestive, immune and cardiac systems.

Ms Wilson said, “ME/CFS predominantly affects women, which has historically seen it labelled a “women’s” disease. Despite ME being classified as a neurological disorder by the World Health Organisation, patients continue to be ignored and told this disease is all in their head.

“There has been so little research about ME/CFS that we still don’t know its cause, have a biomarker or proven treatments.

“This International Women’s Day we are calling on governments and research institutions to #breakthebias. Significantly increasing investment into ME/CFS research will ensure the global health inequality experienced by people living with ME/CFS is a thing of the past.”

Ms Wilson said that people with ME/CFS need to carefully manage their energy levels to prevent symptoms getting worse “ME/CFS is a disabling disease. Approximately 25% of people with ME/CFS are so severely impacted that they are housebound or bedbound. Even a mild case of ME/CFS is debilitating, resulting in a 50% reduction in physical capacity compared with pre-illness levels”.

Emerge Australia assists those with ME/CFS to better manage their condition and navigate the complex healthcare system.

The majority of people develop ME/CFS as a post-viral illness, however the cause of ME/CFS remains unknown. “For most people, ME/CFS is a lifelong condition. Full recovery (a return to pre-illness functioning) is rare and estimated at less than 10%,” Ms Wilson said.

Media Enquiries:
Ron Smith OAM, Media Communications
Emerge Australia – Mobile: 0417 329 201

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