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.