Re: How do you know you have CF?
The major problem in diagnosing CFS is that no reliable physical tests can accurately identify it. This is why it is referred to as a 'non-specific illness' (which means no one has yet worked out how to diagnose it properly!).
Identification relies heavily on ruling out other illnesses first. This is known as a 'diagnosis of exclusion' and is based on simple blood and urine tests, and also, in some cases, on laboratory tests. These rule out conditions such as Thyroid problems, Anaemia, Addison's disease, Diabetes and Arthritis, any of which can cause similar problems to those of the disorder. Once that has been done a diagnosis based on the symptoms themselves can go ahead.
In the case of CFS/ME, the first step is to clinically evaluate the presence of chronic fatigue i.e. self-reported persistent or relapsing fatigue lasting six or more consecutive months, which is not substantially alleviated by rest, and which results in a drastic reduction in the previous levels of occupational, educational, social or personal activities.
Additionally, a diagnosis is achieved on the basis of four or more of the following symptoms, all of which must have persisted of recurred during the six or more consecutive months of illness and must not have predated the fatigue:
joint pain without swelling or redness
headaches of a new type often referred to as 'brain fog'.
post-exertional malaise lasting more that 24 hours
gut problems often involving candida or yeast overgrowth
impairment in short term memory and concentration.
According to David Jameson, in his book, Mind-Body Health and Stress Tolerance, there are about 6 symptoms that are experienced by most patients:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome: 50-90%
Sleep disorders: 65-100%
Sensitivity to light:65-90%
Hope this is of help. Good luck in diagnosing and treating your illness.