This Thursday, May 12th, is International ME Awareness Day, and this seems a good time to raise the vexatious question of diagnosis. According to Dr Alison Bested, a Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia, only 20% of M.E. patients are getting a diagnosis of M.E. from their doctor.
In order to be diagnosed with CFS/ME, a patient must present with both:
- Significant fatigue, relapsing or chronic of at least 6 months duration that is not due to ongoing exertion, is not relieved by rest and results in substantial reduction in previous levels of activity, and
- Four or more of the following symptoms, being concurrently present, persistent or relapsing and which must not have preceded the onset of fatigue:
- Impaired memory or concentration (severe enough to reduce levels of occupational, social and personal activity).
- Sore throat.
- Tender cervical, inguinal, supraclavicular or axillary lymph nodes.
- Muscle pain.
- Multi-joint pain (without joint swelling or redness).
- Generalised, new headaches.
- Sleep disturbance
Standard NHS procedure is to run a battery of blood tests (which should be extensive) and after ruling out all other pathologies which may cause fatigue, to reach the conclusion that the patient has CFS/ME. Unfortunately this can take a long time and the patient then has to wait again for referral to whatever services are available in their area. We are lucky in Bedfordshire in that we have an NHS ME clinic, and part of the referral procedure is to ensure that all the blood tests have been done (this is important to ensure that other serious diseases have been ruled out).
At BIHC we are able to offer patients a fast-track diagnostic procedure. As a trained Perrin Technique practitioner, I am able to look for specific signs in patients which will indicate whether or not the patient has M.E. It will still be necessary for the patient’s GP to run the normal blood tests as it is possible for patients to have more than one disease at the same time. However once you have been diagnosed with M.E., you can choose to start treatment with the Perrin Technique if you wish. This treatment helps to improve the function of the lymphatic system, the body’s own waste disposal system. Patients may opt to come for Perrin Technique treatments alongside NHS treatments and other alternative treatments if they wish. At BIHC we offer other therapies which can help you with your recovery including nutrition, counselling and naturopathy.
The effectiveness of Dr Perrin’s diagnostic procedure is currently the subject of ground breaking NHS research going on in Wrightington Hospital Wigan, which is due for completion next month. In this study Dr Perrin’s diagnostic procedure is being compared with the standard NHS procedure.
If you suffer from CFS/ME or you know someone who does, please check out the fatigue pages on our website, where there is more information about M.E. and the treatments we offer.
For further information or to make an appointment please call 01234 409538.
Sorrel Pindar, Registered Osteopath