By browsing our site you agree to our use of cookies. You will only see this message once.

Like most websites The Natural Practice uses cookies. In order to deliver a personalised, responsive service and to improve the site, we remember and store information about how you use it. This is done using simple text files called cookies which sit on your computer. These cookies are completely safe and secure and will never contain any sensitive information. They are used only by The Natural Practice or the trusted partners we work with.

Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / ME

Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / ME

There are three major signs and ten supporting symptoms associated with CFS / ME. According to criteria developed in Australia, the diagnosis can be made on the presence of two major together with five supporting symptoms. These are:
Major: Persisting generalised fatigue, lasting more than six months made worse by minor exercise.
Symptoms of reduced brain function such as impaired concentration or memory.
Abnormalities in immune function involving reduced number of specific white blood cells.
Minor: Muscle pain; muscle tenderness; joint pain; headaches; depression; tinnitus; insomnia;
swollen lymph glands; recurrent laryngitis; irritable bowel syndrome.
Symptoms often follow a viral infection but there is not always a clear trigger.

Diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / ME

There have been many attempts to develop a blood test to confirm the diagnosis of CFS / ME but this has not been possible. The serological evidence of infection by a coxsackie virus is only present in a small number of CFS / ME patients and it is now felt that there are many possible viral triggers and glandular fever or a ‘flu’-like illness is often seen prior to the onset of symptoms. Many CFS / ME patients do not have a clear history of previous infection but a lot appear to be high achievers who have pushed themselves too hard. A number of nutritional deficiencies can be detected and low levels of magnesium are commonly found. In summary, a viral screen, white cell count and red cell magnesium are useful supportive investigations. Other tests for abnormal responses by the adrenal glands and the serotonin receptors in the hypothalamus are used in specialist units. In January 2009 a paper was published by Sarah Myhill, John Booth and John Mclaren-Howard in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine looking at the predictive value of a new blood test with regard to a patient’s fatigue. The ATP profile developed by this group, measures the actual energy production process in individual cells possibly measuring the underlying biochemical problem causing fatigue.

These measurements can be used to derive a predictive score of a patient’s functional ability. This was shown to correlate significantly with a separate assessment made using a well recognised fatigue questionnaire. Obviously further studies need to be done but this result fits in well with the clinical picture of CFS / ME we have found using the test over the last five years. This has given us a real understanding of the mechanism of fatigue and how we can asses and approach treatment for this condition. Further tests are being developed to help other factors which interfere with mitochondrial and other cellular functions so we hope to be able to offer a better understanding of CFS / ME and its treatment ion the future