CFS Prognosis and Testing Updates
Is There A Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Test?
The short answer to this question is no.
Currently there is no chronic fatigue syndrome test that allows doctors to know for sure whether somebody has this disabling disorder.
They have to judge by the symptoms which are often similar to those of other diseases and conditions.
Nevertheless if you go to a doctor with signs of chronic fatigue they will give you tests.
They are not giving you a chronic fatigue syndrome test, they are testing for other medical issues that may be causing your symptoms.
For example, anemia can cause debilitating fatigue, as can heart disease or multiple sclerosis.
The doctor needs to be sure that you do not have any of these conditions before diagnosing CFS, so they will take blood for analysis and perhaps check on your heart.
Depending on where you live, you may be able to see a specialist in chronic fatigue.
They may have you fill out a series of questions that act as a kind of chronic fatigue syndrome test, based on your symptoms.
They will then give you advice on how to manage the disorder.
How Many People Recover From Chronic Fatigue?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are no reliable figures on recovery rates.
Statistics collected by support groups suggest that most people do improve over time but this could just reflect those who feel well enough to answer surveys.
The pattern of chronic fatigue syndrome is that it affects people in cycles.
Typically a patient might be severely affected for some months and years, followed by a slow improvement, but then have a relapse.
Sometimes a relapse is triggered by a viral illness so it is important to protect yourself from infection as much as possible.
In other cases a relapse can occur after exertion. For example, a person might think they have recovered and take a vacation that involves a lot of walking.
They could feel fine during the vacation but after returning home, chronic fatigue hits and they might not be able to do anything for several weeks or even longer.
Since there is no chronic fatigue syndrome test, it is very difficult for doctors to know for sure if somebody has completely recovered or if they might have a relapse later.
Therefore it is important to avoid doing too much even when you feel well.
For most people, this means that even on a good day you would not aim to do more than about half of the activity that you could have done before getting sick.
There are many support groups for people with CFS/ME, both online and in virtually every city.
These can be helpful especially if you are newly diagnosed.
They may have ideas about how to manage the illness that are different than those of your doctor.
These ideas usually come from long experience, but they may only work for the person who proposes them.
Specialist medical professionals have access to a much greater number of case histories.
So it's better not to go against your doctor's advice.
In the same way, do not try to self-diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome.
As we have already said, the symptoms can be similar to other diseases.
It could be very serious if you turned out to have something like heart disease but were not treated for it.
So even though there is no chronic fatigue syndrome test, it is important to take your symptoms to a medical professional to have other tests and a personal diagnosis.
Learn more about CFS causes, symptoms and natural fatigue remedies when you read the rest of our information here about: How to treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome CFS.
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