How Is Cfs Diagnosed
CFS is a very challenging condition to diagnose.
According to the Institute of Medicine, as of 2015, CFS occurs in about 836,000 to 2.5 million Americans. Its estimated, however, that 84 to 91 percent have yet to receive a diagnosis.
There are no medical tests to screen for CFS. Its symptoms are similar to many other conditions. Many people with CFS dont look sick, so doctors may not recognize that they indeed have a health condition.
In order to receive a CFS diagnosis, your doctor will rule out other potential causes and review your medical history with you.
Theyll confirm that you at least have the core symptoms previously mentioned. Theyll also ask about the duration and severity of your unexplained fatigue.
Ruling out other potential causes of your fatigue is a key part of the diagnosis process. Some conditions with symptoms that resemble those of CFS include:
- severe obesity
- sleep disorders
Because of the similarities between symptoms of CFS and many other conditions, its important to not self-diagnose. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms. They can work with you to get relief.
How Can I Overcome Chronic Fatigue
How can I overcome chronic fatigue? 4 Steps to OvercomeChronicFatigue Syndrome Step 1: Eliminate Food Sensitivities and Allergens Step 2: Increase Your Vitamin B Intake Step 3: Increase Potassium and Magnesium Intake Step 4: Build Peace and Relax
What is the cure for chronic fatigue? There is no cure for chronic fatigue syndrome, so treatment is aimed at managing symptoms. Treatment usually involves a combination of medication and lifestyle changes such as preventing overexertion, reducing stress, managing diet, and nutritional supplements.
What are the best supplements for chronic fatigue? The following specific supplements can support the activities of the immune system and adrenal glands and are, therefore, frequently prescribed to people with chronic fatigue syndrome: vitamin C. beta-carotene. pantothenic acid zinc. magnesium adrenal extract.
What causes extreme fatigue? Infections especially viral infections are among the leading causes of extreme fatigue. Common, short-term viral illnesses associated with extreme fatigue include influenza and infectious mononucleosis. Other possibilities include viral hepatitis, Lyme disease and HIV/AIDS.
Memory And Concentration Problems
Memory aids, like organizers and calendars, can help with memory problems. For people with ME/CFS who have concentration problems, some doctors have prescribed stimulant medications, like those typically used to treat Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder . While stimulants might help improve concentration for some patients with ME/CFS, they might lead to the push-and-crash cycle and worsen symptoms. Push-and-crash cycles are when someone with ME/CFS is having a good day and tries to push to do more than they would normally attempt .
Recommended Reading: Mega Comfort Anti Fatigue Insoles
How Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Diagnosed
CFS diagnosis depends on two criteria:
A specific treatment for CFS has yet to be proven effective. Vitamin supplements and medicines have some benefit. Many treatments just relieve the symptoms of CFS.
Listen To An Audio Version Of This Article
Dumbfounded that physicians knew so little about chronic fatigue syndrome also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME/CFS Allen resolved several years ago to take part in any study that would have her. In 2017, she got her chance: she entered a study assessing how women with ME/CFS respond to synthetic hormones.
After decades of pleading, people with the condition have finally caught the attention of mainstream science and dozens of exploratory studies are now under way. Scientists entering the field are using the powerful tools of modern molecular biology to search for any genes, proteins, cells and possible infectious agents involved. They hope the work will yield a laboratory test to diagnose ME/CFS which might have several different causes and manifestations and they want to identify molecular pathways to target with drugs.
The US National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, bolstered the field last year by more than doubling spending for research into the condition, from around US$6 million in 2016 to $15 million in 2017. Included in that amount are funds for four ME/CFS research hubs in the United States that will between them receive $36 million over the next five years.
Epidemiologists have suggested that the anguish of contending with the disorder and societys general dismissal of it contribute to an up to sevenfold increase in the rate of suicide for people with ME/CFS.
Metabolic system and microbiome
Read Also: What Causes Dry Mouth And Fatigue
Can Complementary Or Alternative Medicine Help Manage The Symptoms Of Me/cfs
Some people say that complementary or alternative medicine has helped their ME/CFS symptoms. Keep in mind that many alternative treatments, dietary supplements, and herbal remedies claim to cure ME/CFS, but some might do more harm than good. Talk to your doctor before trying alternative therapies to be sure they’re safe.
Therapy For Fatigue: Case Example
Co-occurring fatigue and depression: Benjamin, 46, has been feeling constantly tired for months. His fatigue is getting to the point where he cannot focus on his work and is too tired to participate in social events he used to enjoy. He has tried getting more sleep at night, but no matter how much sleep he gets, his energy during the day does not seem to improve. Looking for answers, Benjamin set up an appointment with his medical doctor, but none of the tests done on him indicate a direct medical cause. Upon hearing about Benjamin’s loss interest in activities he used to enjoy and difficulty focusing at work, his doctor refers him to a therapist. After speaking with his therapist, Benjamin is diagnosed with depression. He learns that much of his fatigue seems to be due to his depression. By taking daily nature walks, meditating, and talking with his therapist, Benjamin learns how to effectively cope with and minimize his depression, and his energy slowly begins to return.
- Client referrals
Recommended Reading: Extreme Fatigue Muscle Weakness Joint Pain
Other Lifestyle Changes To Manage Me/cfs
Other ways to manage ME/CFS include:
- equipment â some people may need a blue badge for parking, a wheelchair, a stairlift, or other adaptations for their home
- changes in your place of work or study â when you’re ready and well enough to return to work or studies, your doctor should be able to advise you on changes that could ease your return
There’s limited or no evidence to recommend:
- resting completely â there’s no evidence this helps
- complementary medicine â there is not enough evidence that it’s helpful for ME/CFS
You should not take up vigorous unsupervised exercise such as going to the gym or for a run as this may make your symptoms worse.
How Is Me/cfs Diagnosed
There’s no single test to detect ME/CFS. A diagnosis is made after other possible known causes for symptoms have been excluded.
The earlier the illness is recognised, the sooner you can get help to manage your symptoms. Many people with ME/CFS find it helps to keep a diary of their symptoms so that they can take this to their GP or specialist.
Your GP will usually:
- do a physical and mental examination to rule out other conditions
- ask about recent travel, tick or insect bites, unusual infections, and drug and alcohol use
- review current medication
- arrange tests
They may be able to make a diagnosis after 3 or 4 months of seeing a pattern of symptoms. Anyone suspected of having ME/CFS should be considered for routine blood tests to identify other possible illnesses. More investigation may be needed if the diagnosis remains in doubt.
Some people with ME/CFS also have another long-term condition and it’s important that you talk to your GP about how to manage the symptoms of the 2 conditions.
You May Like: What Can I Take For Fatigue During Menopause
Viral And Other Infections
The term post-viral fatigue syndrome is used to describe CFS-like symptoms that occur after a viral infection. A recent review found Epstein-Barr virus antibody activity to be higher in patients with CFS, and that a subset of patients with CFS were likely to have increased EBV activity compared to controls. Viral infection is a significant risk factor for CFS, with one study finding 22% of people with EBV experience fatigue six months later, and 9% having strictly defined CFS. A systematic review found that fatigue severity was the main predictor of prognosis in CFS, and did not identify psychological factors linked to prognosis. One review found risk factors for developing CFS after mononucleosis, dengue fever or the bacterial infection Q-fever include longer bed-rest during the illness, poorer pre-illness physical fitness, attributing symptoms to physical illness, belief that a long recovery time is needed, as well as pre-infection distress and fatigue. The same review found biological factors such as CD4 and CD8 activation and liver inflammation are predictors of sub-acute fatigue, but not CFS, however these findings are not generally accepted due to the use of the Oxford criteria in selecting patients. The CDC does not recognize attribution of symptoms as a risk factor.
Where Can I Get Support
ME/CFS can have a significant emotional and financial impact on your life. A lack of understanding and awareness about ME/CFS means patients can experience disbelief, and even discrimination, from friends, family, health and social care professionals and employers.
Information on entitlements to welfare benefits, accessing health and social care and others sources of support for patients and carers are available from Action for M.E. They also offer resources and services for children and young people affected by ME/CFS and their families.
The Medical Community Is Changing Its Mind On Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Why Arent Insurers
A significant number of people diagnosed with Covid-19 report disabling symptoms that persist for months after they have cleared the virus that causes it. As Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has observed, symptoms experienced by post-Covid-19 patients are highly suggestive of those associated with ME/CFS. And like ME/CFS patients before them, many of these Covid-19 long-haulers report that health care providers have been similarly dismissive, automatically attributing their symptoms to stress, depression, and deconditioning, and recommending psychotherapy and exercise.
Medicine can be both wondrously innovative and stubbornly resistant to change. In 1847, the Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis could not convince his fellow doctors in Vienna to wash their hands before delivering babies as a way to prevent often fatal cases of puerperal fever in new mothers. It would be another 30 years before Joseph Lister gained widespread acceptance for his approach to sterilization and aseptic surgery.
Things are better these days, with an average time lag of only 17 years before research evidence reaches clinical practice. The British psychiatrists and others still pushing graded exercise therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy for ME/CFS have done their part to keep the median delay as high as it is.
Pragmatic Rehabilitation: The Fine Trial
Pragmatic rehabilitation is a programme involving gradually increasing activity designed collaboratively by the patient and the therapist. In response to an earlier successful trial, a larger trial was conducted. In this trial, patients fulfilling 1991 Oxford CFS criteria who were allocated to pragmatic rehabilitation reported a statistically significant though clinically modest improvement in fatigue compared with patients allocated to either supportive listening or treatment as usual, but after 12 months followup the differences were no longer statistically significant nor was there was any significant improvement in physical functioning at any time. About 10% of the trial participants were nonambulatory and about 30% met 1994 London criteria for ME, but separate results for these groups were not published . An accompanying editorial gave some possible reasons for the failure to replicate the earlier success in this trial, and called for further research. The patients in this trial had higher comorbidity and disability than patients in the earlier trial and in most other trials, and received fewer sessions than most successful trials of CBT and GET. The editorial also raised the question of whether generalists are as successful as specialists in offering behavioural interventions .
Also Check: Swollen Feet And Ankles Fatigue Weight Gain
What To Expect At Your Provider’s Office
There is no laboratory test for chronic fatigue syndrome. But your health care provider may use tests to rule out other illnesses. Your provider will go over your symptoms, check your medical history, and do a physical examination.
If you have CFS, your provider may prescribe drugs to treat your symptoms, or suggest herbs, vitamins, or dietary changes to help you. Get plenty of rest, exercise regularly, and learn to pace yourself. Often this combination of treatments will help you get better.
If the usual treatments do not work, your provider may check for other conditions that can cause symptoms similar to those of CFS.
Identify Treatments Youve Tried
In addition to tracking the symptoms you have experienced, keep a list of treatments you have tried. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a medications and supplements list you can use to track your medications, their dosage, how well they help, and if you experienced side effects. Write a separate list of other treatments you have tried beyond medications and supplements, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, exercise, acupuncture, or meditation.
Recommended Reading: Fatigue Symptom Of Breast Cancer
Nice Has Today Published Its Updated Guideline On The Diagnosis And Management Of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis /chronic Fatigue Syndrome
28 October 2021
It is estimated that there are over 250,000 people in England and Wales with ME/CFS, with about 2.4 times as many women affected as men.
The guideline covers every aspect of ME/CFS in children, young people and adults from its identification and assessment before and after diagnosis to its management, monitoring and review.
Paul Chrisp, director of the Centre for Guidelines at NICE, said:As well as bringing together the best available scientific evidence, weve also listened to the real, lived experience and testimony of people with ME/CFS to produce a balanced guideline which has their wellbeing at its heart. NICE hopes that system partners and the ME/CFS community will work together to make sure these important recommendations are implemented.
Peter Barry, Consultant Clinical Advisor for NICE and chair of the guideline committee, said: This guideline will provide clear support for people living with ME/CFS, their families and carers, and for clinicians. It recognises that ME/CFS is a complex, chronic medical condition that can have a significant effect on people’s quality of life.
People with ME/CFS should receive individually tailored support focused on personal agreed goals and a range of approaches should be used depending on the patient’s preferences and priorities.
S To Overcome Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a chronic illness characterized by extreme fatigue that lasts for more than six months. This fatigue cannot be explained away by an underlying medical condition. In fact, one of the diseases principle challenges is that its impossible to diagnose with laboratory tests. However, some professionals believe it is closely related to adrenal fatigue or system wide inflammation of the body.
The process for diagnosis usually begins with ruling out possible underlying diseases and chronic conditions until the only choice left is chronic fatigue syndrome. Left untreated, it decreases stamina, memory and concentration.
Chronic fatigue syndrome can result in strained relationships with friends and family, especially when it remain undiagnosed and/or untreated. Guilt, anxiety and anger are all common emotional responses for those fighting chronic fatigue.
Currently, over 1 million Americans are suffering from this debilitating illness that manifests with a lack of energy and motivation, and women are 24 times more likely than men to be diagnosed.
Also Check: Is Extreme Fatigue A Sign Of Diabetes
What Is The Treatment For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
There are many described therapies for chronic fatigue syndrome. Because the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is unknown, treatment programs are directed at relief of symptoms rather than cure. The goal is to regain some level of preexisting function and well-being. With this in mind, many people with CFS do not quickly return to a satisfactory level of function. People who expect a prompt recovery and do not experience it may have worsening CFS symptoms because they work too hard, become frustrated, and become less responsive to rehabilitation programs.
Always talk to your doctor about any treatment decisions for CFS. You and your doctor together will develop a treatment program individually tailored to your needs. The treatment program should be based on your overall medical condition and current symptoms and should be modified over time as your symptoms change. This requires regular follow-up visits to your doctor to monitor changes in your condition. Currently, most doctors use a combination of the therapies discussed below.
Key Points About Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Chronic fatigue syndrome is characterized by profound tiredness.
- Symptoms often worsen with physical or mental activity.
- In addition to severe fatigue, symptoms include light sensitivity, headache, muscle and joint pain, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, and depression.
- Treatments may include medicines, exercise, supplements, and counseling.
Recommended Reading: Anti Fatigue Mats For Sale
How To Treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
This article was co-authored by Chris M. Matsko, MD. Dr. Chris M. Matsko is a retired physician based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. With over 25 years of medical research experience, Dr. Matsko was awarded the Pittsburgh Cornell University Leadership Award for Excellence. He holds a BS in Nutritional Science from Cornell University and an MD from the Temple University School of Medicine in 2007. Dr. Matsko earned a Research Writing Certification from the American Medical Writers Association in 2016 and a Medical Writing & Editing Certification from the University of Chicago in 2017. This article has been viewed 60,219 times.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or CFS, is a debilitating condition which leaves the afflicted individual with an ongoing feeling of exhaustion. Persons with CFS may be unable to perform even mundane activities which under normal circumstances present no problem. There is no cure for CFS, and there are no medications developed specifically for the condition. Fortunately, there are a number of treatment options available which can alleviate the symptoms associated with CFS.