List of differential diagnoses for ME/CFS

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Many different diagnoses have been suggest for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS).[1][2][3] A number of the common differential diagnoses also commonly occur in patients with ME/CFS, so they should not be regarded as conditions that automatically exclude the diagnosis of ME/CFS.[2][1]

ME/CFS[edit | edit source]

Differential diagnosis Fukuda criteria[3] International Consensus Criteria[1]:12 Canadian Consensus Criteria[2] Institute of Medicine Other
Idiopathic chronic fatigue yes  ?  ?  ?  ?
Fibromyalgia  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?
Chronic fatigue due to another medical condition  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?
Unexplained chronic fatigue  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?
Primary sleep disorders e.g. sleep apnea  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?
Lyme disease  ?  ? yes  ?  ?
Depression  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?
Lupus  ?  ? yes  ?  ?
Multiple sclerosis  ?  ?  ? yes  ?
Myasthenia gravis  ?  ?  ? yes  ?
Rheumatoid arthritis  ?  ? yes  ?  ?
Endocrine diseases e.g., Addison’s disease  ?  ? yes  ?  ?
Depression  ?  ?  ?  ? Hawk et al. 2006[4], Griffith et al. 2008[5], DeLuca et al. 2004[6]

Other differential diagnoses[edit | edit source]

Notable articles[edit | edit source]

  • 1994, Consideration of narcolepsy in the differential diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome[9] - (Abstract)
  • 1998, Phosphate diabetes in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome[10] - (Abstract)
  • 2000, Differential diagnosis: The challenge of chronic fatigue[7] - (Full text)
"Many syndromes and diseases have the symptom of chronic fatigue as the most distressing, unremitting complaint. It is the consideration of these other possible causes - their confirmation or exclusion - which constitutes the discipline of ditferential diagnosis. Syndromes which are "look alikes," or indeed identical syndromes, include post-viral states, chronic viraemias, neoplastic syndromes, neurological diseases, especially in the eariy substantial stages of neuromuscular disease, psychiatric disorders, and some forms of both organic and inorganic poisoning. To mislabel any one of these as CFS or ME, or to leave a patient with CFS undiagnosed as such, means the discipline of differential diagnosis has failed."[7]:4-5


See also[edit | edit source]

Learn more[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.01.11.2 Carruthers, BM; van de Sande, MI; De Meirleir, KL; Klimas, NG; Broderick, G; Mitchell, T; Staines, D; Powles, ACP; Speight, N; Vallings, R; Bateman, L; Bell, DS; Carlo-Stella, N; Chia, J; Darragh, A; Gerken, A; Jo, D; Lewis, DP; Light, AR; Light, KC; Marshall-Gradisnik, S; McLaren-Howard, J; Mena, I; Miwa, K; Murovska, M; Stevens, SR (2012), Myalgic encephalomyelitis: Adult & Paediatric: International Consensus Primer for Medical Practitioners (PDF), ISBN 978-0-9739335-3-6 
  2. 2.02.12.22.3 Carruthers, Bruce M.; Jain, Anil Kumar; De Meirleir, Kenny L.; Peterson, Daniel L.; Klimas, Nancy G.; Lerner, A. Martin; Bested, Alison C.; Flor-Henry, Pierre; Joshi, Pradip; Powles, A C Peter; Sherkey, Jeffrey A.; van de Sande, Marjorie I. (2003), "Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Clinical Working Case Definition, Diagnostic and Treatment Protocols" (PDF), Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, 11 (2): 7-115, doi:10.1300/J092v11n01_02 
  3. 3.03.1 Fukuda, K.; Straus, S. E.; Hickie, I.; Sharpe, M. C.; Dobbins, J. G.; Komaroff, A. (Dec 15, 1994). "The chronic fatigue syndrome: a comprehensive approach to its definition and study. International Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Study Group" (PDF). Annals of Internal Medicine. American College of Physicians. 121 (12): 953–959. ISSN 0003-4819. PMID 7978722. 
  4. 4.04.1 https://link.springer.com/article/10.1207/s15327558ijbm1303_8
  5. 5.05.1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc2292451/
  6. 6.06.1 https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=XXTe-ft0YUsC&oi=fnd&pg=PA421&dq=%22Chronic+fatigue+syndrome%22&ots=CSKE8dKeiB&sig=5d6xpPVN1zqnuK7VD-Qim1giGOM
  7. 7.07.17.2 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J092v07n04_03
  8. 8.08.1 https://go.gale.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA80490865&sid=googleScholar&v=2.1&it=r&linkaccess=abs&issn=10895159&p=AONE&sw=w
  9. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.5694/j.1326-5377.1994.tb138269.x
  10. https://pmj.bmj.com/content/74/870/229.short

ME/CFS - An acronym that combines myalgic encephalomyelitis with chronic fatigue syndrome. Sometimes they are combined because people have trouble distinguishing one from the other. Sometimes they are combined because people see them as synonyms of each other.

Fukuda criteria - The most commonly used diagnostic criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome, created by the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

International Consensus Criteria (ICC) - A set of diagnostic criteria, based on the Canadian Consensus Criteria, that argued for the abandonment of the term "chronic fatigue syndrome" and encouraged the sole use of the term "myalgic encephalomyelitis".

Canadian Consensus Criteria (CCC) - A set of diagnostic criteria used to diagnose ME/CFS, developed by a group of practicing ME/CFS clinicians in 2003. The CCC is often considered to be the most complex criteria, but possibly the most accurate, with the lowest number of patients meeting the criteria. Led to the development of the International Consensus Criteria (ICC) in 2011.

chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) - A fatigue-based illness. The term CFS was invented invented by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control as an replacement for myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). Some view CFS as a neurological disease, others use the term for any unexplained long-term fatigue. Sometimes used as a the term as a synonym of myalgic encephalomyelitis, despite the different diagnostic criteria.

chronic fatigue (CF) - Persistent and abnormal fatigue is a symptom, not an illness. It may be caused by depression, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome or many other illnesses. The term "chronic fatigue" should never be confused with the disease chronic fatigue syndrome.

myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) - A disease often marked by neurological symptoms, but fatigue is sometimes a symptom as well. Some diagnostic criteria distinguish it from chronic fatigue syndrome, while other diagnostic criteria consider it to be a synonym for chronic fatigue syndrome. A defining characteristic of ME is post-exertional malaise (PEM), or post-exertional neuroimmune exhaustion (PENE), which is a notable exacerbation of symptoms brought on by small exertions. PEM can last for days or weeks. Symptoms can include cognitive impairments, muscle pain (myalgia), trouble remaining upright (orthostatic intolerance), sleep abnormalities, and gastro-intestinal impairments, among others. An estimated 25% of those suffering from ME are housebound or bedbound. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies ME as a neurological disease.

chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) - A fatigue-based illness. The term CFS was invented invented by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control as an replacement for myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). Some view CFS as a neurological disease, others use the term for any unexplained long-term fatigue. Sometimes used as a the term as a synonym of myalgic encephalomyelitis, despite the different diagnostic criteria.

chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) - A fatigue-based illness. The term CFS was invented invented by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control as an replacement for myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). Some view CFS as a neurological disease, others use the term for any unexplained long-term fatigue. Sometimes used as a the term as a synonym of myalgic encephalomyelitis, despite the different diagnostic criteria.

The information provided at this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.
From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history.