Diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is mainly based on the principle of ruling out other possible causes of the symptoms. This is because there are no specific tests for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome at present.

Therefore, when you do visit your doctor, you will probably need to answer several questions about the symptoms you have been experiencing. Some of the questions that you may be asked include:

  • What are the symptoms you have been experiencing and when did they start?
  • Is there anything that makes the symptoms better or worse?
  • Have you been experiencing any memory loss or concentration problems?
  • Do you have difficulty sleeping?
  • How often do you feel anxious or depressed?
  • Are there any treatments that you have tried for your symptoms? If yes, have any of them seemed to work?
  • How much have the symptoms limited your ability to function normally?
Given below are some of the conditions that your doctor may try to rule out, before suggesting that you may have CFS:

  • Tumors or an infection.
  • Autoimmune disorders.
  • Sleeping disorders like restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea or insomnia.
  • Medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, diabetes and anemia
  • Mental illnesses like depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety & schizophrenia.
Therefore, the diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue syndrome may require a lot of patience. Besides confirming that you are not suffering from any of the illnesses mentioned above, your doctor will also study your symptoms. To meet the CFS diagnostic criteria, you need to have experienced chronic fatigue, along with 4 of the other CFS symptoms for a period of 6 months or so.

At times, doctors do advise patients to undergo certain tests, for a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This is because there have been a few instances of CFS being detected when the following tests have noted abnormal results:

  • A Brain MRI
  • White Blood Cell Count

Frequently asked questions