How many people have CFS?
Estimates vary, but at least one million Americans have CFS and millions more suffer worldwide. Several studies have been conducted in the U.S. and other countries, but the difficulty in pinpointing a number arises from the different definitions and case criteria used over time and between research groups. More than 80% of people identified in community studies of CFS have not been diagnosed and are not receiving appropriate medical care for their illness.
CFS does not discriminate. It strikes people of all age, racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups. Research has shown that it is 3-4 times more common in women compared to men, a rate similar to that of autoimmune conditions like multiple sclerosis and lupus. Teens are more likely to get CFS than younger children, and adults are more likely to get CFS than teens.
Researchers at DePaul University estimate that every year CFS costs the U.S. economy $17-24 billion. Its prevalence, economic effect, disabling impact and chronicity make it one of the most burdensome conditions of our time.