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.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Causes
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Causes While most of this ghastly disease is considered genetic, it is not difficult to consider the following causes for the rise of the syndrome:
1. Ailments related to lungs, heart, and liver:
Fatigue may be caused due to Asthma and heart ailments, and can go much worse with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
We sit at our desks all day, go home and watch TV or look at our computers, struggle to fall asleep, and wake up feeling worse than before.
3. Excessive use of caffeine and sugar:
They can cause anxiety, sluggish digestive systems, irregular blood pressure, and sugar levels. Being addicted to them can make it worse.
4. Inadequate nutrition and obesity:
They can put the respiratory system under load and increase pulmonary resistance.
5. Vitamin B-12:
A lack of Vitamin B-12 reduces the count of red blood cells and the amount of oxygen that goes into them. This causes more exhaustion than usual.
We recommend you check with a qualified healthcare professional online to know if you are suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and to diagnose its underlying cause. Meanwhile, you may try the following tips to feel better with exhaustion, tiredness, and breathlessness.
Injured Animals Become Lethargic
When animals and humans are injured or become infected, we become lethargic, tired and depressed. We become withdrawn and lose our appetite and desire for social contact, Omdal says.
This is part of a complex behaviour that has been very strongly preserved throughout evolution.
In other words, the behaviour is genetically determined and found in many different animals that are far apart on the taxonomic tree of life. This means the trait must have arisen early in their development and was then preserved in all these creatures.
Something preserved in this way is a clear sign that the trait is useful. Those who have it are better equipped to survive and have offspring than those who do not.
Historically, illness behaviour probably led us to hide from predators and other dangers when we were weak and vulnerable. Herd animals also limit infections that can affect their offspring or the group they depend on to survive.
You May Like: Anti Fatigue Mat That Chair Can Roll On
Chronic Fatigue Cause No : Underactive Thyroid
If you are generally sluggish, run down, and even a little depressed, the problem may be a slow thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism. The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that sits at the base of your neck and helps set the rate of metabolism, the rate at which the body uses energy.
According to the American Thyroid Foundation, by age 60 about 17% of all women will have a thyroid disorder and most wont know it. The most common cause, they say, is an autoimmune disorder known as Hashimotos thyroiditis. Hashimotos stops the gland from making enough thyroid hormones for the body to work the way it should. The result is hypothyroidism, or a slow metabolism.
Blood tests known as T3 and T4 will detect thyroid hormones. If these hormones are low, synthetic hormones can bring you up to speed.
Inflammation Disappeared But Not The Exhaustion
The researchers first examined a group of patients with active disease symptoms. Then they ran new tests after three months of treatment for ulcerative colitis. By then, some of the patients guts had recovered.
However, the patients had not become any less exhausted. Nor was there any difference in fatigue between patients whose intestines had benefited from treatment and those who still had active inflammation.
Why didnt the fatigue diminish when the inflammation subsided?
Are the patients immune systems still active? Or are other mechanisms contributing to the fatigue? For example, researchers find good reason to believe that leakage of bacteria-produced substances from the intestine could play a role.
Omdal points out that it is also well known that a number of other conditions or factors, like depression or psychosocial conditions, can affect the experience of fatigue.
He says that there is a clear connection between exhaustion and depression. This fits well with the hypothesis that fatigue is due to the brain activating illness behaviour, which is also linked to depression.
Read Also: Does C Diff Cause Fatigue
How Does It Happen
Doctors don’t know what causes ME/CFS, but they have identified different underlying abnormalities in people with the condition.
Immune system problems: Several parts of the immune system are different in people with ME/CFS. Some research indicates that these abnormalities may cause the symptoms of the illness. Fortunately, people with ME/CFS don’t have a defective immune system in the way that people with HIV/AIDS do.
Energy production: In you have ME/CFS, the cells in your body have trouble making enough energy.
Brain abnormalities: Abnormalities show up in pictures of the brain , in levels of brain hormones, and in the brain’s electrical system . These abnormalities can come and go, and aren’t necessarily permanent.
Blood pressure and pulse issues: When you stand, you blood pressure could drop and your heart might start to beat faster. You might feel faint or pass out if your blood pressure drops too low.
Genes: Some studies have found abnormalities in the structure of certain genes. Others point to abnormalities in the way certain genes are turned on and off inside your cells. Studies of identical and non-identical twins indicate that some people inherit a genetic likelihood for getting the illness.
Serotonin and cortisol: Several studies indicate that serotonin, a major brain chemical, plays an important role in ME/CFS symptoms. People with the illness have low levels of cortisol, a hormone the body releases in response to stress.
Home Remedies And Lifestyle Changes
Making some lifestyle changes may help reduce your symptoms.
Limiting or eliminating your caffeine intake can help you sleep better and ease your insomnia. You should limit or avoid nicotine and alcohol too.
Try to avoid napping during the day if its hurting your ability to sleep at night.
Create a sleep routine. Go to bed at the same time every night and aim to wake up around the same time every day.
Read Also: Fatigue With High Blood Pressure
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
Too Much Or Too Little Activity
A person with fatigue may not feel able to exercise, and a lack of exercise can cause further fatigue. A lack of exercise may eventually cause deconditioning, making it harder and more tiring to perform a physical task.
Fatigue can also affect healthy individuals after prolonged, intense mental or physical activity.
Years Of Research On Fatigue
Today, Omdal works at Stavanger University Hospital and the University of Bergen. But his story begins much earlier.
As a PhD candidate in Tromsø in the 1990s, Omdal studied how the autoimmune disease lupus affected the brain.
The young doctor believed patients struggled most with memory and thinking problems. Soon, however, he found that exhaustion was a much bigger challenge.
Knowledge about the phenomenon was scant. Fatigue was often considered a mental problem.
Omdal nevertheless thought it strange that such pervasive exhaustion would not have biological explanations. This was the start of a 20-year long search for the biomedical mechanisms behind chronic fatigue.
He and his colleagues have found traces both in genes and in chemical processes that are linked to fatigue.
Omdal believes that a picture is beginning to emerge that chronic fatigue is linked to an ancient protection mechanism.
How Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Diagnosed
CFS can be difficult to diagnose. There is no specific test for CFS, and other illnesses can cause similar symptoms. Your health care provider has to rule out other diseases before making a diagnosis of CFS. He or she will do a thorough medical exam, including:
- Asking about your medical history and your family’s medical history
- Asking about your current illness, including your symptoms. Your doctor will want to know how often you have symptoms, how bad they are, how long they have lasted, and how they affect your life.
- A thorough physical and mental status exam
- Blood, urine, or other tests
Recommended Reading: Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Cause Fatigue
How Can I Feel Less Tired
Some changes to your lifestyle can make you feel less tired. Here are some suggestions:
- Keep a fatigue diary to help you find patterns throughout the day when you feel more or less tired.
- Exercise regularly. Almost anyone, at any age, can do some type of physical activity. If you have concerns about starting an exercise program, ask your doctor if there are any activities you should avoid. Moderate exercise may improve your appetite, energy, and outlook. Some people find that exercises combining balance and breathing improve their energy.
- Try to avoid long naps late in the day. Long naps can leave you feeling groggy and may make it harder to fall asleep at night. Read A Good Nights Sleep for tips on getting better rest at night.
- Stop smoking.Smoking is linked to many diseases and disorders, such as cancer, heart disease, and breathing problems, which can drain your energy.
- Ask for help if you feel swamped. Some people have so much to do that just thinking about their schedules can make them feel tired. Working with others may help a job go faster and be more fun.
Also Check: Recurring Sore Throat And Fatigue
Sleep Apnea Changes How The Brain Works
A February 2016 study published in the Journal of Sleep Research by the UCLA School of Nursing investigated the injury caused to the insular cortex of the brain by sleep apnea. They studied levels of two important brain chemicals, called neurotransmistters: glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid, known as GABA. Unlike previous studies, we actually found substantial differences in these two chemicals that influence how the brain is working, said Paul Macey, the lead researcher on the study and an associate professor at the UCLA School of Nursing.
It is rare to have this size of difference in biological measures, Macey said. We expected an increase in the glutamate, because it is a chemical that causes damage in high doses and we have already seen brain damage from sleep apnea. What we were surprised to see was the drop in GABA. That made us realize that there must be a reorganization of how the brain is working.
Macey says the studys results are, in a way, encouraging. In contrast with damage, if something is working differently, we can potentially fix it.
You May Like: What Is Adrenal Fatigue Caused By
Symptoms And Signs Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Before onset of CFS, most patients are highly functioning and successful.
Onset is usually abrupt, often following a psychologically or medically stressful event. Many patients report an initial viral-like illness with swollen lymph nodes, extreme fatigue, fever, and upper respiratory symptoms. The initial syndrome resolves but seems to trigger protracted severe fatigue, which interferes with daily activities and typically worsens with exertion but is alleviated poorly or not at all by rest. Patients often also have disturbances of sleep and cognition, such as memory problems, “foggy thinking,” hypersomnolence, and a feeling of having had unrefreshing sleep. Important general characteristics are diffuse pains and sleep problems.
The physical examination is normal, with no objective signs of muscle weakness, arthritis, neuropathy, or organomegaly. However, some patients have low-grade fever, nonexudative pharyngitis, and/or palpable or tender lymph nodes.
Because patients typically appear healthy, friends, family, and even health care practitioners sometimes express skepticism about their condition, which can worsen the frustration and/or depression patients often feel about their poorly understood disorder.
How Common Is It
This will scare you: according to the report an estimated 84% to 91% of sufferers are not yet diagnosed.
The reports final chapter outlines a broad plan for disseminating the new criteria, including outreach to professional organizations representing adult and pediatric primary care, obstetrician-gynecologists, emergency medicine practitioners, psychologists, psychiatrists, rheumatologists, gastroenterologists, sleep medicine specialists, infectious disease practitioners, and cardiologists.
The 15-member writing panel, consisting of experts and non-experts in the field, based their conclusions on a comprehensive literature review testimony from patients, clinicians, and researchers during public hearings held in January and May of 2014 and almost 1000 public comments.
According to Dr Rowe,It was a unanimous committee report. It was interesting for us who are clinicians in the field to see how obvious the direction of the evidence was for those who are scientists, but not specialists in this area.
Well, thats that then. After more than 30 years, CFS or ME has finally landed. I am deeply grateful for the progress, albeit a teeny bit slow!
Note: The report was sponsored by the Office of Womens Health in the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US Food and Drug Administration, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Social Security Administration.
Don’t Miss: Does Ocular Myasthenia Gravis Cause Fatigue
What Are The Signs& Symptoms Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Someone with chronic fatigue syndrome can have many possible symptoms. 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
Treating The Disease Doesnt Always Help
Treating ailments when we dont know much about the mechanisms that cause them is often difficult.
Cardio training has often been shown to have a positive effect on fatigue in chronic diseases, even if the effect is not that substantial.
Patients may also experience fewer ailments with fatigue when they receive treatment for the underlying disease, typically drugs that alter the activity of the immune system.
But it doesnt always help.
What weve observed is that the disease activity is not necessarily related to the degree of fatigue, either before or after treatment, says Omdal.
A recently published Norwegian study on the inflammatory bowel disease ulcerative colitis shows this to be the case.
Also Check: Can Crohn’s Disease Cause Fatigue
What Kind Of Doctor Diagnoses Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can be best treated by the following healthcare experts:
1. Infectious disease specialist
3.Sleep medicine specialists
We recommend that you look for doctors specializing in chronic fatigue syndrome near you. If such doctors are not available in your local area, you can try contacting such experts online using this link. You may also join a support group for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome on WhatsApp where you could find advice from people facing the same issue.
How Is Me/cfs Treated
Right now, there is no cure or FDA-approved treatments for ME/CFS. But, there are things you and your doctor can do to help ease your symptoms. Because the symptoms of ME/CFS vary from person to person, the management plan you discuss with your doctor may look very different from the plan of another person with ME/CFS.
Don’t Miss: Hair Loss Weight Gain Fatigue