Low-down on CFS - Part 3: What Tests Should You Expect?
Posted Aug 26 2008 4:29pm
If your doctor suspects you have ME/CFS you will be given a battery of blood tests in order to rule out other diseases and a process of elimination will begin. Some of the blood tests you may be given are:
Complete blood count (CBC) - Helps rule out anemia, leukemia and other blood disorders as well as collagen vascular disorders such as lupus.
Blood chemistry - Confirms normal blood sugar, electrolytes, renal and liver function, calcium and bone metabolism and serum proteins.
Thyroid function studies - Confirms normal thyroid function, a common cause of muscle aches and fatigue.
Sedimentation rate - General indicator of inflammation, infection and collagen vascular disorders.
After dozens of blood tests and many visits to her office, my doctor began to suspect that I was suffering with Meniere's Disease and referred me for a hearing test. It turned out that I did have some hearing loss but the medication she prescribed had very little effect on my symptoms. It was around this time that I began to develop involuntary muscle movements - often more than 3 a minute. There didn't seem to be any particular pattern to the jerking - perhaps my right arm would move then my left foot or head and sometimes many muscle groups would jerk together. I was concerned that the myoclonic jerks were a result of mixing Amitriptyline (prescribed early in the illness for depression) and the drugs for Meniere's Disease. The involuntary movements, numbness, tingling, loss of balance and coordination (which led to several falls) prompted my doctor to send me to a Neurologist to rule out Multiple Sclerosis. I had a thorough examination and the specialist pretty soon diagnosed ME/CFS - apparently there was no need for an MRI or CAT scan. My next step was to visit with an ME Specialist who finally diagnosed the condition after an examination of my history and a lengthy consultation to assess my physical and mental capabilities.