DIAGNOSTIC TESTING FOR CHRONIC FATIGUE AND FIBROMYALGIA
With Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia, there are various different possibilities of what might be causing the symptoms. After our initial consult and assessment, some tests may be recommended to narrow down the root cause of the symptoms, here are some of the tests we may suggest:
Blood testing CBC Analysis to rule anemia, lupus and leukemia. Sedimentation rate is also checked for inflammation, infection and collagen vascular disorders.
Blood ⁄ Hair and Urine chemistry – Essential nutrient elements are needed by many body tissues to generate and function properly. Exposure to toxins from the environment, especially in combination with key nutrient shortages, can be an insidious source of chronic fatigue. There is growing interest in the potential importance of calcium and magnesium in fibromyalgia.
Elemental analysis of patients with fibromyalgia revealed higher than normal levels of calcium and magnesium, indicating the possibility that these elements were not being properly absorbed in the body. Selenium is a critical nutrient that can help protect the body from toxic heavy metals and decrease oxidative stress. Researchers recently reported that average serum levels of selenium were significantly lower in a large group of patients (n = 68) with fibromyalgia than in controls.
Exposure to heavy metal toxins may also play an important role in triggering or exacerbating chronic symptoms of fibromyalgia. Many key symptoms of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue resemble classic signs of heavy metal toxicity, including fatigue, neuromuscular pain, depression/anxiety, and sleep disturbances. This has led some investigators to explore the role of toxic heavy metal exposure might play in the condition. One preliminary study speculates that exposure to toxic mercury (via amalgam tooth fillings) may in part precipitate symptoms of primary fibromyalgia.
Importantly, patients with fibromyalgia appear to be much more sensitive to the physiological effects of heavy metal exposure for toxic metals such as aluminum, lead, platinum, cadmium, and silicon than other individuals.
Elemental Analysis (Hair, Urine, or Erythrocytes) determines levels of toxic and nutritional elements in the body using a hair, blood, or urine sample. Each specimen type provides a unique window on element status. A hair sample, for example, will reflect chronic toxic exposure and long-term nutritional deficiencies, while blood and urine assessment will gauge the effects of more recent imbalances.
The Cellular Energy Profile measures a special grouping of organic acids, including malic acid. These metabolites reflect carbohydrate metabolism and mitochondrial function. The profile is particularly relevant for the chronically "unwell" patient, who may be experiencing multiple chemical sensitivities, fibromyalgia, fatigue, malaise, hypotonia (loss of muscle tone), acid-base imbalance, low exercise tolerance, muscle/joint pain, or headache.
Thyroid hormones are essential and primary regulators of the body's metabolism. Some patients with fibromyalgia – including many resistant to conventional treatments for the condition – show clinical signs of thyroid dysfunction. The Comprehensive Thyroid Assessment is a detailed analysis of thyroid hormone metabolism, including central thyroid gland regulation and activity, thyroid production and secretion, peripheral thyroid conversion, and thyroid autoimmunity. This test can provide important clinical clues for treating patients with treatment–resistant fibromyalgia ⁄ cronic fatigue which may be partly caused by thyroid dysfunction. An imbalance of other reproductive hormones such as estrogen and progesterone may also cause fatigue and fibromylagia - type symptoms. If suspected, hormone testing may be suggested.
Fatigue and allergic sensitivity often go hand-in hand, with a multitude of possible allergenic substances hidden in the food we eat. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has been closely tied to immune system dysfunctions that trigger hypersensitivity to food and environmental allergens. In fact, studies have found that simply having a history of allergy ⁄ asthma significantly increases the likelihood that individual will eventually develop chronic fatigue.
A hidden sensitivity to foods or inhalants could set off an inflammatory immune cascade that leads to many classic symptoms of fibromyalgia also. Because symptoms may not show up for hours or even days after exposure to an allergen, it is extremely difficult to identify the offending substance(s) without proper testing. With accurate identification, however, allergic sensitivities that cause fatigue can often be treated very effectively.
The Comprehensive Antibody Assessment identifies both immediate (IgE) and delayed hypersensitivities (IgG) to over 120 commonly encountered food and environmental substances.
The adrenal glands produce the hormones cortisol and DHEA – key components involved in the body's physical reaction to stress. Cortisol prolongs the "flight or fight" response — helping the body rise to the challenge at hand by promoting a sustained "rush" of energy.
Over time, oversecretion of cortisol — triggered by daily stress from work, family, or other sources — can wear the internal system down and cause fatigue. Chronically high or low levels of powerful adrenal hormones can wear the body down and produce feelings of exhaustion/ fatigue. Fibromyalgia, as well has been closely linked with stress-induced imbalances that disrupt the healthy regulation of the body's hormonal and nervous systems. The Adrenocortex Stress Profile measures the activity of cortisol over a 24 hr cycle, and includes an assay of DHEA, revealing adrenal imbalances that may be significantly affecting energy levels.
Fatigue is often triggered by malabsorption of important nutrients, along with the overgrowth of intestinal yeasts such as Candida albicans. Estimates suggest that anywhere from 30% to 70% of patients with fibromyalgia also suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a chronic condition characterized by indigestion, irregularity, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea.
The following gastrointestinal assessments are important clinical tools to accurately assess and treat digestive dysfunctions that can underlie IBS:
- The Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis (CDSA) evaluates digestion, absorption, intestinal function and microbial flora, possibly revealing fundamental causes and contributing factors involved in gastrointestinal distress accompanying fibromyalgia
- The Lactose Intolerance Breath Test can detect a very common cause of irritable bowel syndrome-lactose intolerance due to lactase deficiency, which is estimated to affect over 50 million Americans
- Bacterial Overgrowth of the Small Intestine Breath Test pinpoints one of the leading causes of unexplained intestinal symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome