Although there is a lot of evidence that chronic fatigue syndrome is caused by a physical problem involving the nervous system and immune system, there is no laboratory test or procedure to confirm the diagnosis. Until a better way is found, doctors must diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome based on whether a person has the symptoms of the illness and by eliminating other illnesses that can cause long-lasting fatigue.
For this reason, your doctor will ask about symptoms of other fatigue-causing illnesses including:
Your doctor will examine you and assess your mental status. Some basic blood tests may be ordered, such as a red blood cell count (hematocrit), white blood cell count and differential white blood cell count, thyroid, kidney and liver tests. Additional, more specialized testing may be needed, including a test called a tilt-table test to evaluate your autonomic nervous system. In this test, the patient is strapped on a table that tilts to evaluate how blood pressure, heart rate and other measurements respond to the stress of standing up.
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