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Who's at Risk?

More than one million Americans have CFS. This illness strikes more people in the United States than multiple sclerosis, lupus, and many forms of cancer.

Researchers continue to explore possible causes and risk factors for CFS. Many questions remain, but there are some characteristics that may help indicate who is most at risk for CFS:

  • CFS occurs four times more frequently in women than in men, although people of either sex can develop the disease
  • The illness occurs most often in people in their 40s and 50s, but people of all ages can get CFS
  • CFS is less common in children than in adults. Studies suggest that CFS is more prevalent in adolescents than in younger children
  • CFS occurs in all ethnic and racial groups and in countries around the world. Research indicates that CFS is at least as common among African Americans and Hispanics as it is among Caucasians
  • People of all income levels can develop CFS
  • CFS is sometimes seen in members of the same family, but that does not indicate that it's contagious. Instead, there may be a familial or genetic link. Further research is needed to explore this possibility

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