Take charge of your health. Sign up for HealthyWomen newsletters:
Healthy Living
Find out more about:

By Suzanne D. Vernon, PhD

Research Director
Bateman Horne Center
Salt Lake City, UT

Created: 04/09/2013
Last Updated: 04/09/2013

Share on:

Q: Who is at risk for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)?

Chronic fatigue syndrome affects women at about four times the rate that it affects men, and the illness is diagnosed more often in people in their 40s and 50s. It can affect any sex, race or socioeconomic class. Research shows that it is at least as common in Hispanics and African Americans as it is in Caucasians. And although CFS is less common in children than in adults, children can develop the illness, particularly during the teen years.

The prevalence of CFS is difficult to measure because the illness can be difficult to diagnose, but it is estimated that at least 1 million people in the United States have CFS, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CFS is sometimes seen in members of the same family, suggesting there may be a genetic link, but more research is needed to prove this link.
CFS also may be called myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME or ME/CFS or CFS/ME) or chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS).