Diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, better known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, is a disorder or group of disorders characterized by fatigue that lasts for more than six months. This is characterized by some symptoms that range from muscle and joint pain to a decrease in the ability to perform even the least demanding activities.

This syndrome diagnosed by examining a person’s symptoms in two groups of symptoms that are usually indicated by CFS patients.

The first sign that health workers look for is chronic fatigue that not associated with any other condition that causes fatigue. Tolerance of fatigue among CFS patients is very low, so they are exhausted after carrying out the most straightforward and least demanding tasks. Sometimes CFS patients move from one place to another without feeling tired.

Most of them also get sick for several days to several weeks after doing small activities. Most of them also show flu-like symptoms after carrying out low-intensity tasks.

The second criterion for determining the presence of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is the emergence of four of the following symptoms: myalgia or muscle pain, arthralgia or joint pain in various locations, headache with more serious severity, persistent recurrent throat, tenderness, tenderness from cervical and axillary lymph nodes, short-term memory disorders and concentration, malaise experienced after physical activity, and sleep disorders.

Other symptoms sought by health workers are abdominal pain, bloating, dizziness, nausea, chronic cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, dry mouth and eyes, weight loss, the emergence of small and large psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, irritability and attacks panic, diarrhea, alcohol intolerance and skin and a tingling sensation.

Diagnosis is facilitated only after all the conditions known to cause these symptoms are ruled out. In general, health professionals face difficulties in diagnosing chronic fatigue syndrome because of the similarity and generalization of the symptoms it causes. Even though fatigue is a common result of many diseases, it is also a universal sign of most chronic conditions. CFS also shows no visible and obvious symptoms for easy identification.

Also, there are no diagnostic and laboratory tests that can help in determining the presence of the disorder. CFS patients also exhibit various symptoms and severity that make the majority of patients experience differences in symptoms and severity. But through the exception of the following factors, most doctors can arrive at a diagnosis:

  1. Presentation of identifiable conditions that cause fatigue and decreased activity levels. Most doctors look for symptoms of hypothyroidism, a situation in which the thyroid produces lower thyroid hormone levels. Other important states that may show signs similar to CFS are lupus, Lyme disease, multiple sclerosis, bipolar disorder, mononucleosis or kissing, depression, and diabetes.
  2. Use of drugs that cause fatigue. Of course, some medications, drugs, and substances can cause physical fatigue.
  3. Previous disease recurrences, disorders and diseases that can produce extreme fatigue such as cancer.
  4. Substance abuse, more specifically excessive alcohol consumption.
  5. Obesity defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) more than 45.