Because of its nebulous nature, CFS has created problems for its sufferers: some struggle for years before getting an accurate diagnosis. Sixty-seven percent to 77 percent of patients surveyed have claimed that it took longer than a year to receive their diagnosis, and about 29 percent reported that it took longer than five years. CFS is so misunderstood that less than one-third of medical schools include the condition in their curricula, and only 40 percent of medical textbooks contain information on it, according to experts.
CFS is a diagnosis based on exclusion, and doctors typically rule out a number of other conditions before coming to this conclusion. While symptoms may vary from patient to patient, CFS is typically diagnosed if a patient exhibits:
● Clinically evaluated, unexplained, persistent or relapsing fatigue that is of new or definite onset, is not the result of ongoing exertion, is not alleviated by rest, and results in a significant reduction in previous levels of occupational, educational, social or personal activities
● Four or more of the following symptoms that persist or recur during 6 or more consecutive months, and which did not predate the onset of fatigue:
◦ Self-reported impairment in short-term memory or concentration
◦ Sore throat