Diagnosis – Importance of Early and Accurate


In this free leaflet we explain the importance of an early and accurate diagnosis, what the diagnostic procedure should be, the characteristic symptoms of M.E. and other related topics.


ME/CFS is a complex multisystem disease that has a population
prevalence of at least 0.2% to 0.4% (i.e. it affects up to 2 to 4 per 1,000 of the population and up to 26500 people in the UK).

Many people in the UK experience a long delay in obtaining a diagnosis. A
2016 MEA website survey found that only 18 % were diagnosed within six
months of onset of symptoms; 62% waited a year or more.

Chronic fatigue is common and some people are being misdiagnosed with
ME/CFS when they have another, sometimes perfectly treatable, explanation.

In this free leaflet we explain the importance of an early and accurate diagnosis. You might like to show it to your GP.

We also discuss the following topics:

  • Why an early and accurate diagnosis is so important
  • Taking a medical history
  • Characteristic symptoms
  • Clinical examination
  • Baseline investigations
  • Further investigations
  • Diagnostic timescale
  • Children and adolescents
  • Referral to NHS ME/CFS Specialist Services

The ME Association telephone helpline – ME Connect – is available every day of the year, during the hours of 10am-12noon, 2pm-4pm and 7pm-9pm. Please phone: 0344 576 5326 if you have any questions or would simply like to talk to someone who is there to listen.

Please note this is a download. You can read it on-screen and save to your computer, phone or other device and can attach it to any email you might need to send. But you will need access to a printer if you wish it printed.

If you prefer you can download the leaflet here without registering via the website shop.


0344 576 5326

Available every day of the week between these times: 10am - 12noon, 2pm - 4pm and 7pm - 9pm.

Calls cost the same as other standard landline numbers (starting 01 or 02). If you have a call package for your landline or mobile phone then calls will normally come out of your inclusive minutes.