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Monday, 7 May, 2001, 23:54 GMT 00:54 UK
ME sufferers press for recognition
ME sufferers experience total exhaustion
Sufferers of one of the most severe types of chronic fatigue syndrome have gathered in Edinburgh on Monday to lobby for greater recognition of the illness.

They say doctors have not taken the condition seriously enough and have called on the Scottish parliament to establish a special clinic to be established by the National Health Service to treat the disease.

It is estimated between 150,000 and 1.5 million people in the UK have myalgic encephalomalitis (ME), yet many go undiagnosed because some doctors still refuse to accept the illness exists.

ME Awareness week, which starts on Monday, hopes to bring more understanding of the condition, once controversially called "yuppie flu".

The convenor of the cross party group of MSPs on ME John McAllion said he wanted see the whole profile of the disease raised in Scotland and he called on health boards across the country to devote more resources to it.

The condition was first spotted among the young and the overworked and usually followed a viral infection.

Overwhelming fatigue

The medical world was sceptical of ME's existence.

ME leaves its victims exhausted and in pain.

People with ME suffer overwhelming fatigue, 'flu-like symptoms, painful muscles and aching joints, and swollen glands.

The condition can last for years and in severe cases leave the victim bedridden.

It was not until the late 1980s with thousands showing symptoms, that the condition finally began to be recognised.

Vital treatment

Yet it is believed that tens of thousands are undiagnosed and miss out on vital treatment because some doctors still do not believe the illness exists.

Some health authorities do not provide hospital-based referral services, and many are unwilling to sanction outside specialist treatment.

Sufferers will use awareness week to highlight how debilitating the condition can be.

They will display photos and testimony at the Scottish Parliament of children as young as six, whose lives have been blighted by ME.

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19 Jan 01 | Scotland
ME victims fight for recognition
12 May 99 | Health
MPs call for action on ME
20 May 98 | Medical notes
Myalgic encephalomyelitis
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