Why do I have Chronic Fatigue?
“People often come to doctors because of chronic tiredness. It is one of the most common complaints that bring them to the doctor”, says J. Fred Ralston Jr., MD, an internist practicing in western Tennessee and past president of the American College of Physicians. Ralston adds that there are different ways in which it is explained – too tired, fatigued, or just not able to do anything they need to do.
If a person is troubled by exhaustion, it might be caused by an underlying medical condition. One of the most common causes of exhaustion is the modern lifestyle, which includes being overweight, fast foods, and lack of exercise. There are three important changes in one's lifestyle that can improve an individual's energy levels.
Some tips to improve your energy include:
Healthy diet – Avoid caffeine and sugar when feeling exhausted because the changes in blood sugar levels may leave you more fatigued. A healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein will help you to feel better. Eating healthy will help to control weight. This is important because obesity is one of the major causes for feeling fatigued.
Sleep – Many people get only a few days of adequate sleep in a week. Allowing your sleep to be more restful would help to boost energy levels. Remember to avoid caffeine and alcohol before going to bed.
Exercise – The best prescription for a proper restful sleep is regular exercise. Complete the exercise three hours before sleep time, and enjoy some restful sleep. Although there is a general feeling that exercise boosts energy, many studies have shown that sedentary people who started exercising feel much less tired, when compared to those who remain on the couch. The best routine, suggested by Ralston, is moderate activity for 40 minutes at least four times per week. This should be continued for a month to feel the benefits, and continuing it for three to six months will help to feel the difference significantly.
“If a person has been exercising for over a month, and has been getting enough sleep but still feels tired, one has to consider other causes”, says Ralston. This is because chronic exhaustion is caused by a number of medical conditions. According to Sandra Fryhofer, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta and a past president of the American College of Physicians, feels that she understands some of the conditions that can be causing excessive fatigue.
The top suspects Fryhofer believes cause fatigue include:
Anemia – This is one of the most common causes of fatigue, and can be checked easily with a blood test. This is very common among women, especially those who have heavy menstrual periods. Diets rich in iron, and dark, leafy greens can help to maintain anemia. If an individual has a chronic iron deficiency, supplements are the best choice.
Nutrient deficiency – Potassium deficiency is another cause for chronic fatigue.
Thyroid problems – Overactive and deficient thyroid also results in fatigue. It is always better to evaluate the functioning of the thyroid glands.
Diabetes – People with uncontrollable diabetes also feel chronic tiredness. This is usually associated with other symptoms, like frequent urination and blurred vision.
Depression – If the feeling of tiredness is accompanied by a lack of appetite and sadness, you may be experiencing depression, especially if you don’t enjoy the things you used to.
Obstructive sleep apnea – If you get up every morning unrefreshed and you have morning headaches, you might be having obstructive sleep apnea. Ask your partner whether you snore during the night.
Undiagnosed heart disease – Tiredness may also warn about a heart disease, especially in women. If you have trouble with exercise or start feeling worse when you exercise, it could be a warning sign relating heart trouble.