Saturday, February 12, 2011

Basic Tests to Ask Doctor for

I found this page listing basic tests someone with fibromyalgia/CFS should have done by a doctor. I am thinking of going to my doctor and asking for the following tests at a bare minimum. These tests were probably all done on me initially, but I didn't know as much then as I know now, so I never asked for the results. I just can't kick this darned fatigue :/

4 -- Iron, TIBC (total iron binding capacity), percent saturation and ferritin levels. These tests check for iron deficiency and excess. Both of these are critical to detect. If the iron is high, it is very easy to treat (donate blood) but can cripple and kill you if it is missed. Iron deficiency will often be present even if the blood tests are technically normal. This is because the blood test's normal range is based on preventing anemia from severe iron deficiency. More moderate levels of iron deficiency, however, can cause fatigue, brain fog, cold intolerance, restless leg syndrome, immune dysfunction, and infertility. Because of this, I usually recommend treating with iron if the percent saturation is less than 22 percent OR the ferritin level is less than 40. I recheck each four months until the blood tests come above these levels.

5 -- Vitamin B12 level. Although normal is anything under 209, evidence suggests that significant B12 deficiency occurs at much higher levels even in healthy people. Other evidence suggests that very high levels may be needed to maintain optimum health in CFS/FMS patients. I recommend that anybody with a level under 540 be treated with B12 shots. A good argument can be made for treating everybody with CFS/FMS with B12 shots regardless of the blood level.


  1. Very interesting, well-organized blog to which I want to return.
    Best wishes

  2. I know it might sound strange, but testing for lyme disease is a good idea too, for those that are newly diagnosed. I had a friend who had enough symptoms to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, but ended up having lyme disease (was passed to her from her mother, who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia).

  3. Tricia - YES!! Thank you so much for this EXCELLENT reminder (thanks to fibrofog my mind totally forgot about the Fibro/Lyme similarities!)

    DEFINITELY a Lyme test(s) is a MUST when facing fibro symptoms and/or diagnosis. In fact my first diagnosis by my rheumy was Lyme Disease, and he put me on antibiotics, I got really sick, which I realize now after research was probably "herxing" and my body kicking the Lyme Disease out. Despite that my symptoms still persisted, so a month later he changed my diagnosis to Fibro. Some studies say an infection, like Lyme, can trigger fibro.

    I am still confused about Lyme and FIbro. I found it very hard to find a doctor who would treat Lyme (and not charge THOUSANDS.) I hope science and research is able to figure more of this out in the coming years :/

    Thank you again Tricia for the reminder of Lyme, very important to check for as well.

  4. Ah, yeah, Lyme. That disease is why I stopped seeing my GP and had to go to a rheumatologist while I was away at school to get diagnosed. I got Lyme in the seventh grade, and had to take icky antibiotics and stuff, but we got it taken care of. However, my GP got it into her head that I couldn't possibly have Fibro, and the Lyme must not have been as thoroughly taken care of as we thought it was. All the tests for Lyme came back negative, every friggin year, and she still refused to test me for fibro. All this despite knowing how to diagnose and treat a patient with fibro (as she's been my mother's doctor for as long as I can remember). I could have been diagnosed at 15 instead of 19 if she'd just taken me seriously. :\