What is chronic fatigue syndrome and how is it diagnosed? Read more about the condition here.
Many people will experience extreme tiredness at some point in their life due to illness, lack of sleep, or stress. This can be overwhelming, but there is a difference between constant lethargy and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Generally, tiredness will go away after getting enough rest, or recovering from an illness, but when it is symptomatic of a more serious underlying condition, extreme feelings of fatigue never ease.
Chronic fatigue vs chronic fatigue syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is also known as ME, which stands for myalgic encephalomyelitis.
CFS is a long-term chronic condition that can affect anyone, but is most common in women aged 25-45.
In chronic fatigue syndrome, sufferers will not only experience extreme tiredness, but also many other symptoms.
What are the symptoms?
There are a wide range of symptoms present in CFS, but the most common is extreme tiredness.
Not everyone who suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome will experience all of the symptoms but these can include:
- Muscle pain
- Memory or concentration problems
- Flu-like symptoms
- Heart palpitations
- A sore throat or sore glands
- Feeling dizzy or sick
Symptoms of CFS tend to fluctuate daily in severity, and a lot of sufferers find that over exercising can make their symptoms worse.
Difficulties of living with CFS
Sufferers of CFS can experience mild to severe symptoms. In severe cases, CFS can affect even the simplest of everyday tasks, from taking a shower, to cleaning the house.
For a long time, many medical professionals did not recognise chronic fatigue syndrome, which made getting an official diagnosis very difficult.
As there isn’t a specific test to determine CFS or ME, diagnosis is based on symptoms, and ruling out other factors.
However, doctors do have to follow guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to diagnose the condition. A GP may give you a medical examination, and offer blood tests to rule out conditions such as anaemia or an under-active thyroid.
The NICE guidelines go on to state that doctors should consider a diagnosis of CFS if symptoms:
- Have started recently or keep returning
- Get worse after exercise
- Stop you from doing things you can usually do
A diagnosis of CFS must be confirmed by a doctor if other symptoms have been ruled out. Symptoms must have lasted for at least four months in adults, and three months in children, for a diagnosis to be made.
Here at Brian Barr, we are not medical experts, but we are leading chronic pain solicitors. If you believe your condition has been caused as the result of an accident that was not your fault, we can help you to claim compensation. If you would like to speak with one of our expert team about claiming compensation, click here to fill in our online contact form.