Diagnosis of CFS
Factors contributing to recovery
There is no specific diagnostic test for CFS, but your doctor can arrange for certain tests to be done to confirm that you are not suffering from some other illness, such as anaemia, diabetes, thyroid imbalance, liver disease etc. The symptoms of CFS mimic many other common disorders. It is possible that your blood picture may show up some deficiency or deviation from normal as part of the CFS, and this may be easily correctable. eg low iron level.
CFS has to be diagnosed by its characteristic history, as even on examination there will probably be no physical signs of illness to help the doctor. Occasionally glands maybe enlarged or tender, or there may be problems with balance and coordination. Exercise frequently causes an unusual drop in body temperature coupled with a characteristic pattern of uneven breathing. The blood pressure is often low, (particularly on standing) leading to a tendency to a racey heart or lightheadedness. The ill effects of exercise, such as muscle pain or exhaustion are often delayed.
There are a number of sophisticated tests of the immune system and biochemistry which may help point to a firmer diagnosis, but these are generally only available in overseas research, and are usually expensive. Brainscans are useful to eliminate other more serious conditions. SPECTscans may show alterations in cerebral(brain) blood flow in CFS, and occasionally there will be abnormalities in brain MRI scans.
Who is at risk of getting ME/CFS?
About 2-4 per thousand are affected with this illness worldwide. It strikes all ages and socio-economic and ethnic groups. Read more...
Management of CFS
As yet there is no specific treatment for CFS, but there are a number of measures that can be taken to alleviate the symptoms and to help your recovery. Read more...