To Your Health
October, 2010 (Vol. 04, Issue 10)
Get a Systems Check
Fatigue may be a sign of an underlying medical issue. If you still have symptoms of fatigue despite improving your lifestyle, it is highly recommended that you get a complete physical from your doctor. In fact, it's a good idea even if you aren't fatigued, particularly if you haven't had one in awhile.
Don't try to self-diagnose your condition. Make an appointment to see a trained health care professional. Conditions that may cause fatigue include hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), adrenal fatigue, chronic fatigue syndrome, anemia, heart disease, food intolerances (allergies), and other serious illnesses.
So often, we take feeling tired and fatigued for granted as being a normal part of our lives; however, it can be a cry for help from your body. Chronic fatigue is not a normal state for the body. Your body craves homeostasis, a state of normalcy and well-being. It will do whatever it has to in order to maintain that level of function, even sacrificing optimum function.
If you haven't had one in a while (or ever), it is recommended that you get a complete blood panel screening and have your hormone system evaluated for balance. Hormones are the chemical messengers of your body. A delicate balance exists between hormones; if there is too much of some and not enough of others, your health will be affected.
While these are some great ways to fight fatigue, they're not the only ones; you also may want to review a few smaller lifestyle issues to see if they are contributing to your fatigue. For example, if you are taking medications, fatigue could be a side effect. If so, ask your doctor if there is an alternative medication (or better yet, a nutritional supplement, herb or even a lifestyle modification) that would be just as helpful. For example, many people take diabetes medication, but diet and exercise are powerful ways to keep diabetes under control - in most cases without requiring medication.
Also consider the amount of time you are taking for yourself each day. Do you have any "me" time at all? A life of serving and worrying about others without caring for your own needs is extremely draining. Constant stress can also wear you down. This is a common problem for anyone who feels overwhelmed caring for their family, work, friends, and handling all their other responsibilities.
Finally, consider carefully the people you surround yourself with on a daily basis. Is someone dragging you down? Is there a stressful relationship that drains your energy more than restores it? If so, it is in your best interest to change your circumstances, distance yourself from the stress or find ways to make the situation better.
Life today can feel overwhelming, so much so that you may see no end in sight. However, by implementing some simple techniques, you can gain control over your body and mind, and ultimately your fatigue. The secret to gaining more energy and fighting fatigue is to consider every aspect of your current lifestyle and change whatever is necessary to bring a more peaceful, balanced sense to your daily routine. Don't try to tackle it all at once. Start with small actions and work your way toward a more relaxed lifestyle. An energetic life awaits you - now go get it! You deserve it.
So, what exactly is fatigue? Quite simply, it is physical or mental weariness resulting from exertion. There is a decreased capacity or inability of your body to function normally because of excessive stimulation. Fatigue accumulates from pushing your mental and physical boundaries to the point that they have difficulty recovering. As a result, your body begins to function at a suboptimal level. The first part of recovery is recognizing the factors that may be contributing to your fatigue and then changing habits, circumstances, etc., to get that energy back.
Perry Nickelston, DC, is clinical director of the Pain Laser Center in Ramsey, N.J., where he focuses on performance enhancement, corrective exercise and metabolic fitness nutrition To learn more about Dr. Nickelston, visit www.painlasercenter.com/Our_Practice.html.