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Chronic Fatigue: Importance Of Getting The Correct Diagnosis

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is very difficult to diagnose since there are no conclusive diagnostic tests yet for this disorder. Often, the only way to diagnose chronic fatigue is by eliminating other diseases which cause fatigue.

Diagnosis of CFS: Eliminating Other Possible Disorders

Many other illnesses have symptoms that are very similar to chronic fatigue. Before diagnosing chronic fatigue, the possibility of other illnesses needs to be eliminated. These include sleep disorders, anemia, diabetes, thyroid issues, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis. As per a publication by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, reaching a diagnosis for chronic fatigue can be difficult due to the following reasons:

  • The onset of chronic fatigue may be slow and gradual
  • Chronic fatigue may follow a physical illness, which makes its detection difficult
  • Since the symptoms of chronic fatigue are wide ranging, it is tough to pinpoint the diagnosis to chronic fatigue
  • Often patients get frustrated by the time the actual diagnosis is reached, and this can lead to uncertainty for both the patient and the physician

Because of these complications, out of the 1 million plus Americans who have chronic fatigue syndrome, less than 20 percent are correctly diagnosed. The diagnostic protocol for chronic fatigue includes collecting the medical history, physical examination and the exclusion of other diseases.

What Happens if CFS is Not Diagnosed Correctly?

Often it is noted that people who receive early treatment for chronic fatigue are likely to recover faster. Chronic fatigue causes different levels of disability in different people and can often turn out to be very severe if not treated correctly. Some people with CFS may find it difficult to do daily activities such as going to work, socializing or even managing their own routine activities. Many patients report a weakness in muscles, light-headedness, being dizzy, a blurred vision, fainting, and feeling extremely stressed because of chronic fatigue. Studies indicate that not diagnosing CFS correctly can lead to physical, mental and physiological effects on a patient. Additionally, it can also impact their financial status (as it interferes with their ability to do any work) and social status, leading to more stress and other chronic illnesses.

Final Word: Patience

The most important part of diagnosing chronic fatigue is to have patience. The process of elimination can be frustrating for patients and medical practitioners , but it is the only way to diagnose chronic fatigue. And if diagnosed with CFS, again one needs a lot of patience. Because there’s no standardized treatment option for CFS, it can take a while to reverse CFS. However, it is possible to reverse it naturally by adopting a holistic approach.

Mahesh Jayaraman
Mahesh is a traditional acupressure therapist and health counselor. He is certified in Functional Nutrition from Washington State University and uses a wide array of healing modalities to guide his clients to vibrant health and well-being.
Mahesh Jayaraman

Latest posts by Mahesh Jayaraman (see all)

Avellaneda Fernández, A., Pérez Martín, Á., Izquierdo Martínez, M., Arruti Bustillo, M., Barbado Hernández, F. J., de la Cruz Labrado, J., … Ramón Giménez, J. R. (2009). Chronic fatigue syndrome: aetiology, diagnosis and treatment. BMC Psychiatry, 9(Suppl 1), S1.

National Collaborating Centre for Primary Care (UK). Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (or Encephalopathy): Diagnosis and Management of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (or Encephalopathy) in Adults and Children [Internet]. London: Royal College of General Practitioners (UK); 2007 Aug. (NICE Clinical Guidelines, No. 53.) 5, Making a diagnosis of CFS/ME. Available from:

Twisk, F. N. (2015). Accurate diagnosis of myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome based upon objective test methods for characteristic symptoms. World Journal of Methodology, 5(2), 68–87.

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Medical And General Disclaimer for
This article is intended for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. strongly recommends that you consult a medical practitioner for implementing any of the above. Results may vary from person to person.

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