ME Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Test
You can organize the following blood test to confirm latent virus infection that you may have had in the past – which are speculated to be the “cause” for ME/ CFS :
- Epstein-Barr virus / Glandular fever – one of the most common human viruses spread through bodily fluids; common symptoms are fatigue, fever, swollen throat, liver, lymph nodes and spleen
- Herpes simplex – commonly known as HSV which causes herpes that can affect different parts of the body like the mouth and genitals; people with multiple sex partners are most prone to HSV
- West Nile virus -the virus is caused mostly by mosquito bites and can give you fatigue and weakness, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash for weeks or months.
It’s worth consulting a medical doctor (preferably an integrative medical doctor) that specializes in chronic fatigue syndrome specialist.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’s cause is still unknown until today. Some studies show that chronic fatigue is triggered by a combination of physical, emotional, environmental, and mental factors (including psychological stress & trauma).
There’s no single test to confirm a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome. You may need a variety of medical tests to rule out other health problems that have similar symptoms. Treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome focuses on symptom relief.
Negating ME CFS Diagnosis
Also, it’s worth checking your body is not:
- A host to parasite – Parasite such as blastocystis hominis lives on your gut and saps all the energies out of you which can cause you to become fatigued.
- Allergies/ Histamine intolerance – Allergic reactions can range from physical manifestation such as: itching, swelling, sneezing, nasal congestion, trouble in breathing, dizziness or fainting. Less obvious manifestation could be fatigue which can be severe, caused blocked nose & block in breathing pathways. To understand if you have an allergic reaction to common allergies (such as: pollen), you can confirm this with an immunologist. For food allergies testing, this is a little more difficult. Doctor can test against common allergens such as peanuts or soys. For comprehensive testing of food ingredients you maybe allergic to or “reacting to”, consult a naturopath. However, word of caution: this test has not received medical recognition or not widely accepted by the medical community.
What is chronic fatigue syndrome ME?
CFS/ME is mainly characterised by long-term fatigue which can last longer than six months.
There are different medical terms that can also refer to CFS/ME:
- Post-Viral Fatigue Syndrome (PVFS)
- Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS)
In modern medicine, the correct terminology is Myalgic Encephalopathy (the preferred term) or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome was once upon a time dismissed as “Yuppie flu” in the United Kingdom, during a viral outbreak 30 years ago.
How Many Americans have CFS ME?
It is estimated by Institute of Medicine report (published in 2015) that 836,000 to 2.5 million Americans suffer from Myalgic Encephalopathy /Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Most of them have NOT been diagnosed.
ME CFS can strike any ages, more commonly Women than Men
Chronic Fatigue can strike anyone, people of all ages and level in the society. Patients with CFS/ME suffer from unbearable fatigue, muscle and joint pain, sleep disorder, gastric problems, poor memory and lack of concentration.
CFS is more common in women than men and usually occurs at the age of 40 to 60, though it can occur at any age. Among children, the probability is estimated at 2 to 100. More teenagers are getting CFS than younger children.
CFS’ effects differ depending on the condition of the patient. Some may just experience minimal effect but in most cases, the lives of people with chronic fatigue change severely. A child’s schooling can be stopped, an employee’s daily routine can be disturbed and a family’s bond can be destroyed if CFS will not be diagnosed early and treated. Some maybe even are restrained from having a social life and be confined to a hospital or home for months or years. No one would really know the extent of its effect, as it affects the subjects differently.
Most Common Symptoms of CFS ME
These symptoms are common to many illnesses, however, the existence of four more number of symptoms can indicate the existence of CFS ME.
- Chronic tiredness/ exhaustion – can be mistaken for being “lazy” and simple daily activities feel like chores; body still feels tired or exhausted after getting enough or more than enough rest
- Sore throat & fatigue/ “sickness behaviour”– you may feel like you’re “under the weather” or getting flu even if you’re body has no symptoms of flu
- Aching joints and fatigue – also known as arthralgia; common joint pains are in the shoulder, knee, and ankle; you may fell your joints are swollen
- Nausea – a sensation of unease and discomfort in the upper stomach with an involuntary urge to vomit
- Headache, Migraine, Pain behind your eye socket – pain in the head with pulsating nature and can be felt from two to 72 hours which can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, sound, or smell
- Brain fog – the feeling of getting easily confused, distracted, forgetful, poor focus and lack of mental clarity
- Exercise intolerance – the inability or lowered ability of the body to do physical exercises at what would be measured to be the normally expected level or extent
- Post-exertional malaise (PEM) – the symptoms of ME/ CFS are worsened as time passes by and due to mental or physical exertion
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – IBS is a common sickness that upsets the large intestine. People with IBS may experience cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation, or both.
- Disrupted sleep patterns – normal cycle of sleep is first, a light sleep followed by deep sleep and then a dream state referred to as Rapid Eye Movement (REM)-sleep. This full cycle should last for about 90 minutes and is normally repeated about 5 times during the night. People with CFS have irregular sleep-wake rhythm, causing unrefreshing sleep.
- Chronic yeast infection/ candida – an overgrowth of yeast in any part of the body and is the most common kind of yeast infection
- Palpitations – feelings or sensations that your heart is pounding or racing. They can be felt in your chest, throat, or neck. Sometimes this symptom is mistaken as GAD or Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’s signs and symptoms mentioned above are common amongst those suffering from ME.
The following symptoms are one of the less obvious symptoms to add to the list:
- Electromagnetic hypersensitivity
- Mold exposure intolerance
- Difficulty breathing
- Ringing ears / Tinnitus
Mild vs Moderate vs Severe vs Very Severe ME
The extent of ME can be categorized using the scale of mild, moderate & severe with ME depending on the CFS duration and severity of effects to the patient’s body. The degree of immune dysfunction & limited mobility magnify.
The different categories of severity explained in patients own words (source):
1. Mild: often undetected
“As long as I stay within my limits, I feel ok. If I do too much (say, enjoying a couple of dances at a wedding) I feel normal at the time, but am liable to suffer a week-long hangover that starts within 48 hours of me over-doing it.”
“As I recover, I am feeling increasingly normal, as long as I keep my bouts of activity (listening to the radio / seeing a friend / going on-line / cooking) very short. It varies from day to day – sometimes I can only manage 10 minutes of activity before I need to lie down for half an hour of rest, other days I’m good for 30 minutes. The crucial thing is to stop before I need to – if I carry on for 5 or 10 minutes too long, I’m liable to be hit by a crushing wave of fatigue that feels a bit like bad jet-lag.”
“To feel so ill for so long is a nightmare beyond most people’s imagination. Every day feels like a cross between the first day of flu, combined with a hangover, after 10 rounds in a boxing ring. It’s about surviving this dreadful illness. Many days are so difficult it takes everything I’ve got to focus on getting through each half-hour. Most things healthy people take for granted are impossible for me, for example, watching TV, going on-line, listening to radio or music, sitting up comfortably, looking at a magazine, chatting to a friend relative, enjoying a meal, enjoying the view out the window. It takes every bit of courage I have to get up tomorrow and survive it all again until, I hope, things improve. I feel like my body is full of lead. It’s frightening, isolating and disabling. I feel completely exhausted and ill before I even start the day – as soon as a wake up I feel awful. I don’t feel okay at any point. Obviously if I do activities I feel worse. One of the most frustrating things is the lack of understanding of this illness from other people.”
4. Very severe: bedridden, cannot tolerate noise, will require care from others.
“It’s hard to find words to explain what it’s like being affected by very severe ME: horrible, awful, desperate, frightening, suffering, lonely, trapped, painful, isolating, bewildering, relentless, heartbreaking. All seem insufficient somehow, but that’s it.”
CFS ME vs Fibromyalgia – Are they the same thing?
People suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome may find themselves experiencing the same symptoms with those who have fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), and vice versa.
The symptoms are highly similar, but the key differences between CFS & fibromyalgia are:
- In fibromyalgia, fatigue often takes a backseat to debilitating pain (which can be all over different tender points throughout the body)
- In Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, patients tend to experience an overwhelming lack of energy, but they can also be accompanied by some pain.
Is there a cure for chronic fatigue syndrome or ME?
There is no known cure for CFS. It’s a disease that the medical community still grapples with though in the most recent two years, there is significantly a lot more research to be uncovered in relation to the disease.
With science that is known today, we doubt that one can fully recover from chronic fatigue syndrome. But these are some of the suggested chronic fatigue syndrome treatment which you can try :
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – for patients with mild to moderate CFS/ME; will help the patient accept his condition, feel more in control, understand his illness and prevent CFS/ME from advancing. CBT therapists usually conduct sessions individually.
- Graded exercise therapy (GET) -it is a planned exercise program, which ultimate goal is to increase your ability to carry out a physical activity which may include swimming or walking.
- Activity management – the setting of goals and timeline to achieve them.
- Prescription – though there is no known medicine that would cure CFS/ME, there are prescribed antiviral medication that your specialist doctor can prescribe. These will provide symptomatic relief only & make you temporarily feel better.
While you hear of stories of “recovery”, you can’t just wish for chronic fatigue syndrome to go away.
The most effective management of CFS ME symptoms start with changing your diet. We’ve created a helpful diet & lifestyle guide for you that you can download by signing to our newsletter.
Take our Quiz
If you’re wondering “do I have fibromyalgia” or “I think I may have chronic fatigue syndrome”, you can take our chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia quiz.