Diagnosis of ME/CFS

To diagnose myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), a patient’s doctor or healthcare provider will:

  • Ask about medical history of the patient and their family
  • Do a thorough physical and mental status examination
  • Order blood, urine or other tests

To get a better idea about the illness, the healthcare provider will ask many questions. Questions might include:

  • What are you able to do now? How does it compare to what you were able to do before?
  • How long have you felt this way?
  • Do you feel better after sleeping or resting?
  • What makes you feel worse? What helps you feel better?
  • What happens when you try to push to do activities that are now hard for you?
  • Are you able to think as clearly as you did before becoming ill?
  • What symptoms keep you from doing what you need or want to do?

Patients may want to keep an activity journal. This could help them remember important details during their healthcare visit.

Doctors might refer patients to see a specialist, like a neurologist, rheumatologist, or a sleep specialist, to check for other conditions that can cause similar symptoms. These specialists might find other conditions that could be treated. Patients can have other conditions and still have ME/CFS. However, getting treatment for these conditions might help patients with ME/CFS feel better.

You can read more about how ME/CFS is diagnosed in the 2015 Institute of Medicine report on ME/CFSexternal icon.

Disclaimer: This website is for informational purposes only. The information provided on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.