UNABLE to get out of bed for more than a year - that is the miserable life Christine Wrightson has been left with after being struck down with a mystery condition.

Now Christine, 60, from Huntington, says she has finally found the root of her illness after taking a private test, when NHS treatment did not discover anything wrong.

She said: "I'm angry that I've been left on a bed for more than 12 months, with no help coming from anywhere - no diagnosis, and no sympathy.

"You just hope that there's a light at the end of the tunnel and that you're going to get better."

Christine, who also suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, said her latest problems started about two years ago. She described how she was struck with an "overwhelming fatigue", her lymph glands became sore and swollen, and her heart started beating at a frightening rate.

Within less than a year, Christine's fatigue got so bad she was forced into bed permanently, unable to get up except for the most basic functions.

She paid privately for scans to discover what was wrong, and last April went to York Hospital for a "synacthen test". This is done to check how well a patient's adrenal glands, the part of the body which produces adrenaline, are working.

When the test results were returned, they showed nothing was wrong.

Christine said she continued to get weaker and weaker, at one point ending up in hospital seriously ill.

It was only months later that she tried a new route to get her condition diagnosed: a private saliva test done over 24 hours. This tested for cortisol - a stress hormone that helps regulate blood pressure.

These results gave her a very different answer: she was suffering from "adrenal exhaustion".

Now Christine is taking special tablets, which she pays for herself, and said she was finally starting to improve.

She is angry with York Hospital, saying if her original test had been performed over 24 hours - rather than as a one-off - it would have discovered what was wrong with her far sooner.

Professor Malcolm Hooper, a professor of medicinal chemistry at Sunderland University and a leading expert on ME, backed up Christine's claim, saying: "The tests can't be done as a single measurement - they've got to be done over 24 hours. The test was not done as efficiently as it should have been."

But York Hospital has denied it did anything wrong.

A spokesman said: "The trust does not accept Mrs Wrightson's criticism of the care she received at York Hospital or the interpretation of the tests results undertaken on Mrs Wrightson ordered by non-medical practitioners outside the NHS.

"We are pleased however that Mrs Wrightson is feeling better and wish her all the best for the future."

Dr Peter Hammond, a hormone specialist at Harrogate Hospital, backed his colleagues in York, saying synacthen and saliva tests were different types of examination which checked for different things - and therefore the results were not necessarily contradictory.

He said it was entirely normal for a synacthen test to be performed as it had been by York Hospital.