The debilitating and often disabling symptoms of M.E. are unrelenting exhaustion, sensory sensitivity, cognitive impairments, and muscle and joint pain. An exacerbation of all symptoms can follow even trivial amounts of physical or cognitive exertion. M.E. leaves 25% of patients housebound or bedbound. For moderate to severe patients, living with ME is like living with late-stage cancer, advanced stage AIDS, or congestive heart failure for decades.
Sufferers have a lower quality of life than patients with many chronic illnesses. 75-85% of patients are not able to work and 25% are bedbound or housebound. Recovery is rare, estimated at just 5%, leaving patients sick for years, even decades.
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