Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) may affect up to 2.5 million Americans according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Unfortunately, many people who suffer from the illness may not know they do.
As of now, there is no standard laboratory test to prove if you suffer from ME/CFS. Because of this, you may find proving your illness to insurance providers difficult. However, researchers at Stanford University have come closer to creating a simple test that can confirm whether you have ME/CFS.
A biomarker could create a test
The researchers at Stanford discovered a possible biomarker of ME/CFS that could lead to a standard test for the disease. Currently, doctors who diagnose patients with chronic fatigue syndrome must rule out other diseases with similar symptoms first. If doctors have a standard test, they can quickly confirm or rule out the disease.
A misunderstood, debilitating disease
ME/CFS can be a debilitating disease for those affected. Sufferers can become exhausted doing ordinary things like walking, working or even reading. Most may find that mildly strenuous activity tires them out so much that they need days of recovery. A small amount of people with ME/CFS become bedridden, unable to even eat or drink.
Unfortunately, due to a lack of understanding, many with ME/CFS may find themselves fighting to prove their illness. The CDC cites a lack of education among medical professionals about ME/CFS as a reason why many may struggle to find a diagnosis or treatment. And the symptoms can be hard to prove, especially without a standardized medical test.
Proof of ME/CFS can be difficult
Because the medical world still does not know a lot about ME/CFS, proving you have it can be difficult. Your employer and insurance provider may not know about or understand the disease enough to take it seriously.
If the Stanford researchers are successful in creating a standard laboratory test for ME/CFS, the test may put ME/CFS sufferers another step closer to confirming a misunderstood illness.