Info for Beginners

Understanding M.E.

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis is a severe chronic illness that is more commonly known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It is also called M.E. or CFS for short. A person with M.E./CFS has a number of serious symptoms other than chronic fatigue. The illness affects the brain, central nervous system, heart, muscles and endocrine system. It is considered a neurological and an immune system disorder. Some M.E. symptoms are similar to the illness known as Fibromyalgia and many people with M.E. also have Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, so Canadians need research and improved services for all three of these related illnesses.

In 2005, Statistics Canada reported that 334,000 Canadians had M.E./CFS and 390,000 had been diagnosed with a similar illness known as Fibromyalgia. In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S. estimated that less than 20% of those affected have been accurately diagnosed. Studies also usually leave out children who have M.E./CFS. It is becoming very clear, therefore, that M.E./CFS is one of the most common life-changing disabilities in Canada and that the number of Canadians who are actually ill are certainly much higher than statistics show. Here is our chart of how M.E. compares to other chronic illnesses in numbers.

To read the rest of this Understanding M.E./CFS Fact Sheet click here

Our M.E. Brochure is also available in Portuguese, Chinese and French

Download Portuguese brochure
Obter a brochura em português sobre encefalomielite miálgica/síndroma da fadiga crónica

Download Chinese brochure

Download French brochure
Brochure de Français de téléchargement

Brochures can also be obtained by leaving a message on our InfoLine that includes your name, address and phone number.

We can be reached at 416.222.8820. If you're an Ontario caller from outside the Toronto calling area, please call 1.877.632.6682.