How is chronic fatigue syndrome diagnosed?
Doctors find it difficult to diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome because it has the same symptoms as many other diseases. When talking with and examining you, your doctor must first rule out diseases that look similar, such as multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus erythematosus in which symptoms can take years to develop. In follow-up visits, you and your doctor need to be alert to any new cues or symptoms that might show that the problem is something other than chronic fatigue
There are no laboratory or imaging tests that can diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome. The diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome is based on a medical history and physical examination. Doctors use specific criteria to diagnose the condition. Lab tests are used to rule out other medical conditions that may be causing fatigue and other symptoms. In general, the results of routine lab testing are normal in people who have only chronic fatigue syndrome. Doctors carefully question patients about their symptoms, any other illnesses they have had, and medications they are taking. They also conduct a physical examination, neurological examination, and laboratory tests to identify any underlying disorders or other diseases that cause fatigue. In the United States, many doctors use the CDC case definition to determine if a patient has chronic fatigue syndrome.
To be diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, patients must meet both of the following criteria: Unexplained continuing or recurring chronic fatigue for at least six months that is of new or definite onset, is not the result of ongoing exertion, and is not mainly relieved by rest, and causes occupational, educational, social, or personal activities to be greatly reduced. Four or more of the following symptoms: loss of short-term memory or ability to concentrate; sore throat; tender lymph nodes; muscle pain; multi-joint pain without swelling or redness; headaches of a new type, pattern, or severity; unrefreshing sleep; and post-exertional malaise (a vague feeling of discomfort or tiredness following exercise or other physical or mental activity) lasting more than 24 hours. These symptoms must have continued or recurred during six or more consecutive months of illness and must not have started before the fatigue began.
More information on chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
What is chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)? - Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is an illness characterized by prolonged, debilitating fatigue and multiple nonspecific symptoms.
What causes chronic fatigue syndrome? - The exact cause of chronic fatigue syndrome remains a mystery. Chronic fatigue syndrome may occur after an infection.
What're the risk factors for chronic fatigue syndrome? - The highest risks of chronic fatigue syndrome are found among women in general, minority groups, and people with lower levels of education and occupational status.
What're the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome? - The symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome are an unexplained feeling of fatigue, muscle pain, joint pain, sore throat, headache.
How is chronic fatigue syndrome diagnosed? - The diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome is based on a medical history and physical examination.
What's the treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome? - There is no cure for chronic fatigue syndrome, but many treatments are available to help relieve the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.
What medications cure chronic fatigue syndrome? - Medications that cure chronic fatigue syndrome include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, tricyclic antidepressants, stimulants.