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Digital Subscriptions > Healthy Food Guide > March 2018 > The darker side of TIRED

The darker side of TIRED

This woman has spent years battling devastating symptoms only to be told they were ‘all in her mind’. What does the future hold for those suffering from the mysterious but debilitating illness known as ME?

When they’re at their most ill, ME sufferers disappear into their bedrooms. This invisibility contributes to people’s lack of understanding

JENNIFER BREA, 35, is a beautiful, willowy woman with a smile that takes up half her face. A former PhD student at Harvard University, she lives in a sprawling house with her devoted, handsome husband Omar, who happens not only to be a professor, but also a tech entrepreneur. A charmed life, you might think.

For the past seven years, however, Jennifer has been battling the devastating illness known as ME. It has repeatedly caused her to collapse in agony and to be felled again and again with infections and paralysing exhaustion that have at times confined her to bed.

ME is twice as common as multiple sclerosis and can leave patients with a worse quality of life than those with AIDS or heart failure. It’s estimated that between 15 to 30 million people around the world suffer from it, including an estimated 250,000 in the UK. A quarter of them are bed-bound, with many ill for years. Yet ME remains a mystery, there’s no specific treatment and, worse, some people think it’s not real.

First identified in 1955 after an outbreak of a mysterious disease among 300 staff at the Royal Free Hospital in London, ME stands for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. Myalgic means it affects muscles and encephalomyelitis refers to inflammation of the brain. Other names for it include Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

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Too busy to cook every day? Find out how the new calorie guidelines for eating on the go could stop you putting on weight (goodbye, coffee shop up-selling and unhealthy meal deals). We help you power up your walk to burn more fat and get more nutrition on your plate by pairing foods. Plus don't miss our 8-page guide to vegan eating - everything you need to know!
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