There is no Chronic Fatigue Syndrome test done by a regular doctor which gives a clear diagnosis.
CFS is currently called a Syndrome to signify that it is diagnosed by a collection of symptoms.
CFS is also a diagnosis of exclusion.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome symptoms are serious, distressing and disabling. Some people are severely disabled with CFS/ME. I was one of them.
At the time of writing, I still live with severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but I am no longer bedbound. I live a very different life from the years in which I couldn't talk or feed myself :-)
In order to receive a diagnosis of CFS, M.E (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) or Fibromyalgia, you should receive testing to exclude a diagnosis other than CFS.
It is early days for this illness. There is a huge body of evidence of abnormalities in the biology of those living with CFS and M.E, but the cause is not known and, sadly, there is no clear treatment protocol.
If you found this page because you are seeking a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome test, your motivation may be one of the following:
I am sorry that a clear unique test for CFS is not currently available. I hope this page informs you on the options and presents you with some helpful possibilities.
Please note that I write this page, not as an expert on CFS, but as someone who lives with this severe chronic illness. There will be other CFS tests not listed here.
At present, most of the links below go through to
find a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome test in the UK. Hopefully you will gain
some idea of the tests which are (or are not ) available so you can
search for CFS / ME tests in your own country.
I will add to this page as I come across new articles on any other potential Chronic Fatigue Syndrome test.
I would also be grateful if you add your own recommendations for CFS tests via the Healing Forum.
In other healing articles you can read about...
One of the key symptoms required (or which should be required) for a diagnosis of CFS or ME is Post Exertional Fatigue - an increase of symptoms after exercise.
Hope for a future Chronic Fatigue Syndrome test lies in research which shows that people with CFS experience acid accumulation in their muscles.
The blood test results image here is of my own blood tests done privately through Biolab, London, UK. Read about the tests available below.
Your doctor can and should take blood tests for you.
Early blood tests showed that I had an ongoing viral infection at a time when I no longer had clear symptoms of a virus. These test results were consistent with the theory of a viral cause for CFS.
Two consecutive tests showed a low white blood cell count and I was referred to a haematologist fairly early on in the illness.
Please note that you may not have any positive result from a blood test. Many people with CFS do not. It does NOT mean you are not ill.
I was lucky to be sent to a haematologist who was an inquiring doctor and took my symptoms seriously even though I had no diagnosis at the time.
In 1993 after 18 months of serious illness, I was finally diagnosed with ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis). The haematologist then said he had thought that was the illness I had from the blood test results.
I have always pondered on the implication that the blood test results were in some way able to be used as a ME / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome test by someone with sufficient knowledge.
It reassured me to visit the haemotologist every few years to have blood tests repeated.
I had private blood tests for CFS/ME vitamin and mineral deficiencies at Biolab in London, UK.
Biolab has been consistently recommended to me. But please know that other labs are available.
Biolab tests available include:
Please note that if you are taking an oral contraceptive your levels of copper are likely to be high. Please seek the advice of a healing practitioner on how to help your body deal with this imbalance.
My first Chronic Fatigue Syndrome test results from Biolab are shown in figures A, B and C. These were from 1993, the year in which I was later diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.
After taking the appropriate healing supplements , the next blood test showed that most deficiencies had been corrected.
However, my blood levels of intracellular magnesium consistently tested low through all my years of more severe CFS/ME in spite of taking supplements. They probably continue to do so.
Given that magnesium is needed for good working of the brain and nervous system, this seems a significant finding.
If you are excited that you might get a test that shows abnormalities, please note that when I showed the test results for low magnesium levels to one doctor , the response was: "Oh we are not interested in that."
My current doctor was interested and asked for copies for my medical files.
Clinical tests at Biolab UK include:
Mercury testing is not through a blood test but through an analysis of the feces.
For my results of fecal mercury testing see Figure D.
"Analysis of elements in feces provides a comprehensive evaluation of environmental exposure, accumulation and endogenous detoxification of potentially toxic metals. For... mercury ... excretion of metals into feces is the primary natural route of elimination from the body."
Source: Testing by www.Doctorsdata.com. Based in Illinois, USA, providing mercury testing globally.
I had this mercury test - FIGURE D - done back in 2002. It shows high mercury levels for someone with dental amalgams, and a level off the chart for someone without them. (I had 8 dental amalgams at the time.)
ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is necessary for energy production for all body functions.
In a study with 71 patients with CFS and 53 healthy controls, a highly significant correlation was observed between the degree of mitochondrial dysfunction and the severity of illness. Go here for more about this potential CFS test.
A test for ATP can be done at Biolab, London, UK. See below.
Please note that you may test as having normal mitochondrial function and still have a diagnosis of CFS/ME.
With the symptoms of CFS/ME you should expect to be given neurological tests to exclude other conditions.
Some of these are very simple, for example touching your nose with your finger repeatedly. (I find this so cognitively demanding that I have often burst into tears.)
MRI = Magnetic resonance imaging
MRI scans may or may not show abnormalities for people with CFS or ME so, once again, they cannot be considered a definitive Chronic Fatigue Syndrome test.
If you have lived with the symptoms of this chronic illness for a long time or at a severe level you are likely to be sent for an MRI scan.
Those with CFS and ME can experience many cognitive difficulties such as the following:
With such symptoms, a treatable problem with the brain needs to be eliminated as a possible diagnosis.
An MRI scan is therefore not a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome test but one that is performed to avoid misdiagnosis.
I have had 2 MRIs in the years of being ill, and I have been scheduled for 3.
(I missed one MRI scan because I got too ill and there was no one to take me to the appointment.)
The second MRI scan showed that I had a degree of cerebral atrophy unusual for someone of my age. See FIGURE E.
The Doctors said this was not a significant finding, though it was - and is - a concern for me.
That was 12 years ago, and I have not had another MRI scan since.
Who knows if I have more or less cerebral atrophy now!
Move to read about research which shows brain abnormalities in people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/M.E
I have also had 2 EEGs - Electroencephalography.
I have possibly had more tests on the brain than many people with CFS as I had dramatic involuntary movements. I continue to have a small spasm in my neck that occurs every few seconds, but is not usually visible.
One of the first Doctors I saw was keen to eliminate epilepsy as a possible cause of these movements.
PET scans usually show neuroimmunological injury in people with CFS/ME.
However, they are expensive.
PET scans are not offered on the NHS in the UK and may be beyond the finances of many of you in the UK and in other countries.
Click through on this link above or search for "PET scan Myalgic Encephalomyelitis" to find more about the research findings for CFS patients from PET scans.
Some people living with CFSME experience heart palpitations. If this includes you, you may also be given an ECT - electrocardiogram.
Again it is a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome test only in the sense that certain conditions need to be excluded before a CFS diagnosis can be given.
I only experienced heart palpitations during what was probably, with heinsight, a severe reaction due to then undiagnosed Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.
As with all the information on the page, food allergy testing is not so much a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome test, but rather a test to eliminate other causes.
Up to 45%
of the population suffer from food intolerance or food sensitivity.
Food sensitivities are a possible cause of some CFS symptoms.
Symptoms of food allergy are likely to be immediate and more immediately serious.
In contrast, the symptoms of food sensitivity may be ongoing and not aggravated immediately after eating the food, especially if the food is eaten often.
York allergy testing provide a relatively cheap option to test yourself for both food
allergies and food sensitivities.
You request a home kit and carry out a finger-prick blood test to discover any IgG antibody reactions to foods and drinks in your blood.
With a positive test result you can pay more to find out which of 113 or 158 foods and drinks you have an allergy to.
You can also be tested for allergies to cats, dogs and other things.
Depending on the test results you are advised to avoid a food completely, rotate the food or eat without restriction.
My understanding is that you can only test positive for foods that you are currently eating, but please check this out.
At the time of writing, the payment included 2 telephone consultations to discuss your results.
York food and drink intolerance tests are available globally to private individuals.
If you find you have food sensitivity, a rotation diet is advised.
If you want to access more extensive allergy testing in the UK, the Breakspear Clinic in Hertfordshire UK specialises in treating allergy and environmental illness.
They also test for ongoing infections which are a further Chronic Fatigue Syndrome test of exclusion.
Breakspear use a variety of tests and laboratories.
I would have used the Breakspear if I hadn't been ill and without sufficient support to attend. I do know someone with ME who has been helped by their treatments.
Click through for more about Breakspear testing for CFS. Breakspear also discuss their theory about the cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the treatments they offer to heal the probable causes.
You can have a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome test at the UK Breakspear clinic for infectious agents such
as the following.
Find a link to Breakspear above.
Or use the search engines to find a source of infection testing in your own country.
Author and healing practitioner Katina Makris of the USA was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but thanks to private tests went on to receive a diagnosis of Lyme Disease.
If you have been bitten by an infected tick it is worth investigating Lyme Disease as an alternative diagnosis to CFS or ME.
Lyme disease test:
In her book, Out of the Woods, Katina recommends the following as the gold standard Lyme disease specialists test labs of the world:
Move to read more about Katina's experience of alternative healing for Lyme.
I have only recently come across thermal imaging or Thermography.
(A friend is particularly keen to promote it as an alternative to having breast cancer screening via a mammogram.)
Thermal imaging is a science recognised procedure. Sadly this doesn't necessarily mean your doctor will be quick to take the test results seriously, but it is definitely worth showing them to a doctor nonetheless.
Some UK Doctors are calling strongly for Thermal imaging to be available on the NHS. For now those in the UK will need to pay privately.
Though not a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome test, an experienced practitioner might be able to tell you if your test results are consistent with those of other people with CFS or those of whichever chronic illness you live with.
More importantly , with ongoing symptoms of chronic illness or worsening symptoms (sorry if this is true for you), it seems sensible to find a test to monitor changes in the health of the body. Thermal imaging is one option and I hope to have it done some time this year.
If you are in the UK, you can find a thermal imaging practitioner here.
The initials POTS stand for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.
POTS definition: the heart rate increases abnormally when someone stands up.
A healthy body adjusts to the pull of gravity by raising the heart rate slightly when you stand up. In those with POTS this does not happen and dizziness and other symptoms result.
The cause of POTS is not known and there is no clear treatment.
Click though to read about the POTS table tilt test which can be done in hospital or at home.
In response to this article on 'Chronic Fatigue Syndrome test' Louise from Greater Vancouver commented on my twitter account:
"I had blood work which showed that I had basically no testosterone and very low dhea-s.
I was diagnosed as severely disabled with ME and no chance of recovery.
I take some Omega3 & Evening primrose oil & add walnuts 2 my diet for testosterone."
Feel free to share your experience with CFS tests on the Healing Forum.
As you can see from my results above it is not necessarily true that someone with CFS has normal test results.
it is true that no abnormalities shown in my test results on this page
explain such a severity of chronic illness that I could not stand, feed
myself or hold a normal conversation for 14 years.
Neither do they fully explain the level of chronic illness with which I still live.
Let us hope that a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome test will be developed soon.
Click here for an excellent document with 200 pages of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome research which gives biological proof of the illness CFS.
(The compiler of the document believes that Myalgic Encephalomyelitis is a more appropriate term than CFS.)
Move to CFS news where I add news of further CFS research results as and when I come across them.
If you have any of these health tests done, I wish you luck in finding an explanation for your symptoms.
But if your Doctor has already done tests and given you a diagnosis of CFS or ME or Fibromyalgia I also want you to give yourself permission not to have any further Chronic Fatigue Syndrome test carried out.
If all the tests show negative results and yet you feel unbelievably ill, I know how hard that can be. But it does not mean that you are imagining the symptoms.
How could you be!
If you were, you would know how to unimagine them!
A doctor - a highly qualified individual - has given you a diagnosis.
It is perfectly acceptable to accept your doctor's diagnosis and take the advice for CFS of learning to rest and pace activity.
It can be exhausting to seek treatment. There are times when
it makes far more sense to find as big a life as possible within chronic illness.
There are also plenty of self healing techniques that you can apply at home with the help of books CDs and DVDs.
It is also
possible that in a place of relaxation and acceptance, whatever causes CFS will run its course, the body will revitalise and your recovery will come about. Many people do recover.
I wish that for you.... very much.
Move from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Test for a checklist of steps to take if you have been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.