How Is Me/cfs Diagnosed
Because many symptoms of ME/CFS are also symptoms of other illnesses or side effects of medicine, your doctor will need to do physical exams and tests to help determine if you have ME/CFS. There are no standard lab tests to diagnose ME/CFS.
If you think you may have ME/CFS, see your doctor. Your doctor may:
- Ask you about your physical and mental health.
- Do a physical exam.
- Order lab tests based on your symptoms, such as urine and blood tests, which will tell your doctor if something other than ME/CFS might be causing your symptoms.
- Order tests that check for problems found in people with ME/CFS.
- Classify you as having ME/CFS if:
- You have the main symptoms of ME/CFS, including extreme fatigue or exhaustion that does not go away and that prevents you from doing the things you want and need to do for you and your family exhaustion that comes after mental or physical exercise sleep problems and pain AND
- You have had the extreme fatigue and other symptoms for 6 months or longer AND
- You and your doctor cannot find another explanation for your symptoms.
The process to make a final diagnosis of ME/CFS can take a long time, so try to be patient. It is usually best to develop a relationship and follow up often with one doctor so that he or she can get to know you and see how you respond to treatment over time.
What To Expect From Your Doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
- What are your symptoms and when did they begin?
- Does anything make your symptoms better or worse?
- Do you have problems with memory or concentration?
- Are you having trouble sleeping?
- How often do you feel depressed or anxious?
- How much do your symptoms limit your ability to function? For example, have you ever had to miss school or work because of your symptoms?
- What treatments have you tried so far for this condition? How have they worked?
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
- Take along a list of all the symptoms you are experiencing in case you forget some of them during your talk with the doctor or nurse.
- Talk about how much you can do at work or school and around the house.
- Ask if there are any financial supports or services you could apply for.
- Ask for help with pain, sleep and remaining active if these are problems for you.
- Ask about what you should be eating.
The path to a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome can be frustrating. The condition is characterized by its symptoms and there is no single test that can confirm it. Complicating the issue even further is the fact that many CFS symptoms mirror those of other illnesses, including heart, lung, thyroid, and even psychiatric disorders.
As a disease, chronic fatigue syndrome is diagnosed when other possible explanations for how you are feeling have been explored and excluded.
The condition is also called myalgic encephalomyelitis or systemic exertion intolerance disease .
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How Do You Diagnose Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a disease that is diagnosed on a clinical basis. Since there is no specific test, providers look at symptoms that fit under certain criteria. It is important to exclude other causes of fatigue when making the diagnosis of CFS. The main symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome is fatigue lasting at least 6 months that affects a persons ability to function and perform daily activities. Other symptoms, as noted above, include: headache, sore throat, post exertion malaise, joint pain, muscle aches, memory impairment, swelling and tenderness of lymph nodes as well as difficulty sleeping. The criteria for diagnosis calls for four of these symptoms to be present along with chronic fatigue for 6 months or longer. Some clinicians believe post-exertion malaise is a major part of CFS and should be one of the four criteria for diagnosis. If you are experiencing some of these symptoms and are finding it difficult to perform daily activities then it is important to reach our to your physician. At Peak Functional Medicine we are here to listen and will help you restore your energy and health.
How Do You Treat Me/cfs
In the past, treatment consisted of cognitive behavioral therapy and graded exercise therapy. Some of the more recent research challenges this approach, suggesting it may not be successful in treating CFS. Medications have also been tried with little success.
While there is no known cure for chronic fatigue syndrome, there are things you can do to improve energy and get back to daily activities. It is always best to address the specific cause if possible. For some people that means supporting the detox system to help remove heavy metals. Others may need to strengthen the immune system to help resolve reactivated infections. If chronic stress is an issue, adrenal function may be compromised and adrenal gland support along with stress reduction may be necessary to reduce symptoms. Keeping in mind that the mitochondria produce energy for our cells, supporting mitochondria with diet and essential nutrients is vital for improving symptoms of fatigue. Incorporating exercise in a graded fashion to ensure someone doesnt crash is an important part of treatment as well.
Depression is common in people with chronic fatigue syndrome. Whether it is due to something going on in the brain or a result of the inability to participate in daily activities, depression should be addressed and treated along with CFS.
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Uncovering The Mystery Of Cfs
Some people may be genetically predisposed to the CFS, plus viruses and stress appear to play a role. A weakened or compromised immune system and hormonal imbalances have been found in conjunction with CFS diagnoses, so they may have a part in its development too.
Because CFS has been linked to several viral infections in the past, it is thought that it could be more of an end-stage symptom than a unique condition of its own. Individuals with severe infections seem to be at greater risk for developing CFS than others. However, there are also cases of CFS reported in which no viral infection has ever been identified, so it continues to be a mystery.
What doctors and scientists have been able to identify are risk factors. Along with viral infections, there seem to be certain factors that up your chances of getting CFS.
It most commonly develops later in life between the ages of 40 and 50.
Women are more likely to be diagnosed than men.
Allergies, stress, and environmental factors also seem to increase your risk.
What Should You Do After A Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Diagnosis
If youve just been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, you will likely be somewhat confused. The lack of good information available about chronic fatigue syndrome means that finding out knowing what to do is sometimes tough.
As your doctor will likely tell you, the first step is learning how to manage your condition. The treatment options for chronic fatigue syndrome are usually things like antidepressants and lifestyle changes like maintaining a healthy diet and getting enough exercise. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for chronic fatigue syndrome. So if youve just received a chronic fatigue syndrome diagnosis, odds are good that, barring the later development of an effective cure, you will be managing this condition for the rest of you life.
That might sound daunting and it absolutely is. But the fact is that you arent alone. You can reach out to a wide network of people who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome and similar conditions all over the world. Just a few years ago this wasnt the case. So take advantage of that extra web of connection.
Tell us in the comments if youve just been given a diagnosis and theres a good chance that someone in the comments will be able to give you some advice or encouragement. So let us know, did you just get a chronic fatigue syndrome diagnosis? Are you worried that you might have the condition? Have you been living with chronic fatigue syndrome? Post about it below. Youre not alone.
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What Else Should I Know
- Strong emotions can be a part of the illness, so its important to recognize and express your feelings. Feelings like sadness, anger, and frustration are completely normal and its important to acknowledge how you feel and recognize that its not your fault. Recognizing emotions can help you figure out whats behind your feelings and help you manage problems.
- It can help to keep a daily diary of feelings and energy highs and lows. This also can let you share information that might help your doctor. You can also track trends for example, if your energy is high at one time of day and low at another that will help you figure out when to exercise or do other activities.
- Give yourself more time to do things, especially activities that take concentration or physical exertion.
- Get support from family, teachers, and friends.
- Get information about CFS from reliable sources. Theres a lot of misinformation and confusion about this disease. So its important to know and trust your sources.
Most important, dont give up. Having chronic fatigue syndrome can be hard. But for most people, the symptoms are most severe in the beginning. Later, they may come and go. Teens with CFS generally get better faster and recover more completely than adults do. Most teens get partial or full recovery within 5 years after symptoms began.
What Is Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome is persistent and crippling fatigue lasting 6 months or longer. People living with ME/CFS often experience other symptoms, like unrefreshing sleep and muscle aches. The condition is also sometimes called chronic fatigue syndrome.
Doctors do not know what causes ME/CFS, and there is no cure. You may be able to manage symptoms with cognitive-behavioral therapy, exercise, and medications, like antidepressants and sleep aids. The goal of treatment is to make symptoms as manageable as possible to increase your quality of life.
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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.
How To Boost Energy Faster
It is important to know that the human body is mostly made up of water. So if you can bump up your water intake and match it up with some easy-to-do home-based exercises, you can count on a positive change in a shorter time frame
Dehydration in your body can drop your blood sugar levels rather quickly, thus pushing the body to work harder into supplying oxygen and nutrients to all cells. This would court more expense of energy and would make you exhausted even faster.
Drinking enough water every day would also boost your metabolism rate with amazing results and help you feel more energetic at times. It may also help you get rid of health issues like mental fog, poor concentration, dizziness, and short-term memory.
Here are some of the best tricks you can try to boost your energy and vitality.
Grab some dried rosemary and crush it up in your hand. You can hold this under your nose, or boil it into a rosemary tea and let the steam from the tea rise gently over your face. The smell of this herb will help stimulate your mind and give you energy.
2. Cover Your Face with a Cold Washcloth
Soak a washcloth in icy water, wring it out, and then place the cold cloth over your face. The cool temperature will stimulate your facial muscles and your mind, giving you renewed energy. You may do this multiple times in a day to feel rejuvenated.
3. Get some sunlight
4. Go for a brisk walk
5. Drink green tea
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Theres a long list of possible symptoms that someone with chronic fatigue syndrome can have. The most common ones include:
- severe fatigue, which can make it hard to get out of bed and do normal daily activities
- sleep problems, such as trouble falling or staying asleep, or not having a refreshing sleep
- symptoms getting worse after physical or mental effort
- symptoms or dizziness that get worse after standing up or sitting upright from a lying down position
- problems with concentration and memory
- headaches and stomachaches
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.
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Guidelines For Diagnosing Me/cfs
Guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence say doctors should consider diagnosing ME/CFS if a patient has extreme tiredness that cannot be explained by other causes and the tiredness:
- started recently, has lasted a long time, or keeps coming back
- means you cannot do the things you used to do
- gets worse after activity or gentle exercise, such as a short walk
You must also have some of these symptoms:
- problems sleeping, such as insomnia
- muscle or joint pain
- fast or irregular heartbeats
- doing exercise or concentrating makes your symptoms worse
The GP should consult a specialist if theyre unsure about the diagnosis or if you have severe symptoms.
If a child or young person under 18 has symptoms of possible ME/CFS, they may be referred to a paediatrician.
As the symptoms of ME/CFS are similar to those of many common illnesses that usually get better on their own, a diagnosis of ME/CFS may be considered if you do not get better as quickly as expected.
The diagnosis should be confirmed by a doctor after other conditions have been ruled out, and if your symptoms have lasted at least 3 months.
Page last reviewed: 29 October 2021 Next review due: 29 October 2024
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Articles On Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Thereâs no simple blood test or X-ray to diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome â also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis . And many of the symptoms of the illness deep tiredness, unrelieved by rest or sleep, feeling worse after physical or mental exertion, trouble concentrating, feeling worse after standing and remaining on oneâs feet and other symptoms are also seen in other conditions, too, making the diagnosis of ME/CFS more difficult.
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What Else Could It Be
Many people who have ME/CFS have other conditions, too. If you get treated for those, it might also improve your chronic fatigue.
ME/CFS can look a lot like âmonoâ , Lyme disease, lupus, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, sleep disorders, or depression. It affects about 2.5 million Americans, but experts believe only about 20% are diagnosed.
What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome , also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis , is a chronic and disabling illness which causes extreme fatigue that cannot be explained by any other medical condition. If you have ME/CFS you are likely to feel very tired, very often, even if you have not been active. You may also have a host of other symptoms.
Doctors do not yet understand the cause or causes of ME/CFS, and there is no simple cure. But if you or your child has ME/CFS, your doctor can suggest treatments you may find helpful.
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Diagnostic Criteria Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
There is currently no test available to identify whether a person has chronic fatigue syndrome. Although this condition can be difficult to diagnose, there is a clear need for some diagnostic criteria to guide doctors at the time of diagnosis.
These criteria were first defined in 1989 and have been modified several times since then, often with different suggestions. Current recommendations issued by the World Health Organization are called the Fukuda criteria. The patient is diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome if:
Clinically evaluated, unexplained persistent or relapsing chronic fatigue that is of new or definite onset , is not the result of ongoing exertion, is not substantially alleviated by rest, and results in substantial reduction in previous levels of occupational, educational, social, or personal activities. derable de les activitats ocupacionals, educacionals, personals o socials.
They do not present any other pathologies that could be the cause of chronic fatigue.
The patient must simultaneously present 4 or more of the following 8 signs/symptoms, and all of them must persist or recur for at least 6 months after the onset of fatigue:
Impairment of the short-term memory or concentration
Impact And Prognosis Of Me/cfs
- Nacul L.
- Lacerda E.M.
- Campion P.
- et al.
BMC Public Health.J Chronic Fatigue Syndr.
- Cox D.L.
- Findley L.J.
Br J Occup Ther.
- Mild: mobile and self-caring may continue working but will have reduced other activities
- Moderate: reduced mobility, restricted in instrumental activities of daily living, needs frequent periods of rest usually not working
- Severe: mostly housebound limited to minimal activities of daily living severe cognitive difficulties may be wheelchair dependent
- Very severe: mostly bedridden unable to independently carry out most activities of daily living often experience extreme sensitivity to light, sound, and other sensory input
- Tian H.
- et al.
Am J Epidemiol.Chronic Illn.
Qual Life Res.Disabil Rehabil.Occup Med .
Rehabil Psychol.Front Pediatr.Fatigue.
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