Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (cont.)
Diagnosis of CFS
- There are no physical signs that identify CFS
- There are no diagnostic
laboratory tests for CFS.
- People who suffer the symptoms of CFS must be
carefully evaluated by a physician because many treatable medical and
psychiatric conditions are hard to distinguish from CFS. Common conditions that
should be ruled out through a careful medical history and appropriate testing
include mononucleosis, Lyme disease, thyroid conditions, diabetes, multiple
sclerosis, various cancers, depression and bipolar disorder.
- Research conducted
by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that less than
20% of CFS patients in this country have been diagnosed.
Treatment of CFS
- Since there is no known cure for CFS, treatment is aimed at symptom relief
and improved function. A combination of drug and nondrug therapies is usually
- No single therapy exists that helps all CFS patients.
changes, including prevention of overexertion, reduced stress, dietary
restrictions, gentle stretching and nutritional supplementation, are frequently
recommended in addition to drug therapies used to treat sleep, pain and other
- Carefully supervised physical therapy may also be part of
treatment for CFS. However, symptoms can be exacerbated by overly ambitious
physical activity. A very moderate approach to exercise and activity management
is recommended to avoid overactivity and to prevent deconditioning.
health care professionals may hesitate to give patients a diagnosis of CFS for
various reasons, it's important to receive an appropriate and accurate diagnosis
to guide treatment and further evaluation.
- Delays in diagnosis and treatment are
thought to be associated with poorer long-term outcomes. For example, CDC's
research has shown that those who have CFS for two years or less were more
likely to improve. It's not known if early intervention is responsible for this
more favorable outcome; however, the longer a person is ill before diagnosis,
the more complicated the course of the illness appears to be.