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Last Updated on July 27, 2018

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Your Fatigue Symptom (& How to Boost Energy)

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Your Fatigue Symptom (& How to Boost Energy)

Adulting is hard, there’s so much to do and so little time. Juggling between work appointments and personal commitments, commuting through traffic, paying bills – our days are marked by a series of endless tasks.

Feeling tired after a hectic day is quite normal – nothing that a warm shower and a good night’s rest cannot cure.

However, if the bouts of fatigue occur more often and last longer, you might have a problem. Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t ignore fatigue as a passing phase.

Warning signs of fatigue

Feeling tired all the time? You’re not alone my friend. Scientific studies show how fatigue has affected the productivity of people irrespective of their age and gender.

You cannot just take a relaxing vacation or a couple of days off work and expect the exhaustion and restlessness to disappear.

So, the next time you find yourself wondering “why am I so tired all the time?”, don’t blow it off. Here are a few red flags that one should look out for:

  • Lack of sleep and excessive snoring
  • Sudden weight gain or weight loss
  • Irregular bowel movements
  • Yellow colored urine
  • Panic attacks, palpitations, anxiety
  • Severe headaches and body pain
  • Weak immunity
  • The onset of allergies and itchiness
  • Cracked lips, acne breakouts
  • Sudden and excessive hair loss

Note: Victoria (Australia) state government’s BetterHealth portal offers a more detailed list of symptoms related to fatigue.

[1]

Why you shouldn’t take the fatigue lying down

We’ve all had those days when you’re so weary, tiredness no longer remains just a condition, it becomes an emotion.

The reason behind this exhaustion can be both physical and psychological. Physical fatigue affects your bodily function (hand limb coordination, blinking frequently etc), psychological fatigue affects the cognitive function of your brain (i.e. feeling dizzy, “brain fog” etc).

Fatigue can be an early sign of depression or anxiety. And there’s no escape, not until you get professional help.

People who have chronic fatigue may become depressed and experience extreme bouts of sadness along with the muscle cramps, joint pain and headaches – an unfortunate combination that affects mostly young to middle-aged adults.

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Proper sleep and an orderly life might be helpful in controlling the sudden bouts of dizziness and acute fatigue you feel all day. In fact, it would come as a surprise to many that chronic fatigue actually keeps one awake at night.

There’s nothing worse than being bone-tired but unable to fall asleep. Making a few changes in your routine cannot magically cure psychological issues such as depression or physical problems like high blood pressure. You need to see a doctor for that.

Do not dismiss your exhaustion, especially if it’s affecting your daily life and productivity.

Chronic fatigue vs Feeling tired – What’s the difference?

Imagine feeling so exhausted that the simplest of tasks seem impossible. Now combine that physical exhaustion with severe headaches, joint pains and nausea. Finally, imagine telling this to a close friend only to have him/her roll their eyes in disbelief.

These hypothetical scenarios are part and parcel of someone suffering from chronic fatigue. Fatigue is a daily struggle while tiredness is just a temporary incontinence.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) is a legit medical condition and means a lot more than just your body feeling tired.

In severe cases, the symptoms can last for up to 6 months or longer. A report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists has revealed how one in five people suffer from or show signs of chronic fatigue.[2]

Underlying medical conditions triggering your fatigue symptoms

Most people blame the hectic lifestyle for their lethargy. And while that’s true to some extent, it’s not the only reason behind your exhaustion.

Fatigue can be a sign of some serious disease or medical condition. It could be a symptom of the following kinds of ailments.

Anemia

Anemia is a condition that affects your RBC count and blood supply to the brain, the heart and tissues. Women are more susceptible to feeling weak and tired because of blood loss during menstruation, or later in their pregnancy and breastfeeding stages.

Anemia is not a disease, but rather a sign of some other unresolved issue in your body that needs thorough diagnosis and fixing. It might be because of an iron or vitamin deficiency and other conditions like kidney failure, arthritis, and even cancer.

Fatigue is a common symptom in anemic people, along with other signs like chest pains, breathing problems, insomnia and headaches.

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To combat anemia, increase your intake of Vitamin C, consume yogurt and turmeric, eat a lot of green vegetables, include sesame seeds in your salads and smoothies.

Diabetes

Many people with diabetes describe themselves as feeling unbearably tired or lethargic at times.

High sugar levels disrupt the blood circulation, the cells don’t get enough oxygen or nutrients to function properly.

The RBCs are inflated due to excessive glucose, causing an increase in the production of monocytes in the brain that make you feel inactive and lethargic.

Low blood-sugar, on the other hand, can cause fatigue among other ailments as there is not enough fuel to power the cells.

Proper medication, a balanced diet and plenty of exercises would keep diabetes and your fatigue in check. Bring home a reliable blood sugar/glucose meters.

Blood pressure issues

Given that so many signs are associated with fatigue, it is no surprise that blood pressure goes unnoticed.

Almost every adult is struggling with a high or low blood-pressure problem. There are no prominent signs of hypertension and maybe that’s why it’s so difficult to diagnose. It is only when your arteries and other organs are at significant risk that we understand that all is not well with our body.

Some uncommon symptoms include chest pains, headache, frequent bouts of dizziness, vision problems and fatigue.

The physical exhaustion can also be a side-effect of the medication prescribed for blood-pressure fluctuations.

To control your blood pressure, focus on reducing extra flab from your body, exercise regularly, quit smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, reduce the amount of sodium in your food, avoid caffeine, and try yoga to de-stress.

Also, use a credible blood sugar monitoring device.

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Sleeping disorders

Feeling tired and run down during the waking hours is something we all struggle with. The ever-piling work pressure jam-packed schedules and chaotic lifestyle disrupt our body’s natural clock. And as you don’t get a proper shut-eye at night, you’re disoriented, confused and cranky in the morning.

Chronic fatigue has often been associated with sleeping disorders. Sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome are a few common sleeping disorders that people with chronic fatigue are susceptible to.

Researchers from Stockholm University showcased how sleep deprivation could negatively impact your social appeal.[3] Don’t worry, some medications, sleeping aids and a good rest are all you need to overcome the exhaustion.

Adopt a regular sleeping schedule, don’t eat heavy dinners, don’t drink alcohol or coffee before sleeping, and make your room’s lighting and air quality congenial for a good sleep.

Also, as a potent short term solution, use a handy cleansing device along with your favourite cleansers to make your skin look better. Use some safe and useful skincare devices to combat the negative signs of sleep issues on your face.

Thyroid problems

Tiredness is a common sign of hormonal imbalances in the body. And when your thyroid hormones are out of whack, chances are that your body would tire easily.

The thyroid gland, located in the front of the neck, is responsible for controlling metabolic activity. An excessive production of the thyroid hormone (aka hyperthyroidism) speeds up the metabolism, while a deficiency of the hormone (aka hypothyroidism) slows the metabolic process of the body.

Hyperthyroidism causes fatigue, muscle sprains (especially around the thighs), sudden weight loss, excessive sweating and an irregular menstrual cycle in women.

Heart disease

People having cardiac problems might have trouble performing everyday tasks like climbing stairs, carrying some weight or even walking for a long time.

Fatigue, excessive sweating and intolerance to exercise are a few common symptoms of heart diseases. The arteries in the heart are blocked by cholesterol, blocking the blood flow to the other parts of the body.

As a result, you become more prone to breathing problems, high-pressure and even diabetes.

Fatigue can also occur due to dehydration – the toxic wastes aren’t flushed out, it accumulates in the organs and weakens the body from within.

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Menopause

A few symptoms of chronic fatigue also overlap with menopause.

Joint pain, headaches, anxiety, sleeping disorders, muscle cramps- they’re all part of menopause induced fatigue.

Hot flashes, excessive sweating, vaginal dryness and physical exhaustion can be your body’s way of coping with the hormonal changes when the menstrual cycle stops.

Almost every woman in her late 40s-50s has to go through this phase. However, if your symptoms are severe and extend over a long period, you should get it checked with a good gynecologist.

How to boost your energy

These days, we’re so used to luxury that even the most basic physical activity can tire us out. So, if you find yourself out of breath after climbing a few stairs, you need to stop and ask yourself – “Am I treating my body right?”.

Staying up late all night binge-watching movies and hogging on pizza is exactly the kind of lifestyle that would get your body in trouble.

Some fundamental lifestyle changes can go a long way toward increasing your life expectancy.

Here are a few easy and natural tips to boost your energy levels and stay fresh and active all day long:

  • Get more sleep. This is easier said than done, but there are sleeping aids and meds available over the counter that help you sleep better. Learn to hack your sleep cycle or try out Sleep Cycle app; it analyzes your sleep and wakes you up during the light sleep hours, ensuring you’re well rested before waking. It’s been positively reviewed by CNN, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Wired.
  • Regular exercise. Not just hitting the gym, but also yoga and meditation that keeps you mentally and physically fit. Try this guided meditation or try out Headspace, the most popular guided meditation apps of its times.
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol. Any drug addiction can cause weight gain, breathing problems, sleep apnoea and other physical problems. If you find quitting smoking a herculean task, try replacements such as V2 Standard Starter Kit and V2 Pro Series 3 e-cigarettes, that cut down significantly on the nicotine intake.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink a lot of organic fruit juices and water at regular intervals.
  • Eat healthily. Include fresh fruits, veggies and proteins in your diet, do away with the calories. Eat a nutrient-rich, balanced diet. Find a healthy eating plan that suits you.

When to make an appointment with your doctor?

Chronic fatigue has recently been recognized as a disease by the medical community. Today, doctors are acknowledging fatigue as a problem that doesn’t just imply lack of sleep, but a host of other medical issues that might be hidden underneath the apparent exhaustion.

Unfortunately, the layman still sees fatigue as a blanket term used to define lethargy, laziness, complacent behavior and a bad hangover.

Make an appointment with your doctor if your fatigue is accompanied by depression, severe anxiety, chest pains, breathing problems, dizziness, abdominal cramps, rectal bleeding, vomiting and migraines. It might lead to some fatal consequences if left unchecked for long.

Summing it up

Chronic fatigue is tough to deal with, more so when people around you aren’t aware of your daily struggles to fight the exhaustion off.

Acknowledge the problem and get help – that’s the only way to deal with it.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

[1]Victoria (Australia) state government’s BetterHealth: Fatigue
[2]Royal College of Psychiatrists: Sleep and tiredness: key facts from the Royal College of Psychiatrists
[3]Stockholm University: Negative effects of restricted sleep on facial appearance and social appeal

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Last Updated on October 15, 2018

Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Extremely Tired And How to Fix It

Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Extremely Tired And How to Fix It

“Why am I so tired?” is a question that people ask themselves pretty frequently. Everyone gets tired at one point or another, particularly after something like an illness, a long night up with a sick child, or a busy week at work. When tiredness is persistent, however — when you feel tired as soon as you wake up in morning or when sleep doesn’t seem to help, no matter how much rest you get— it may often indicate a deeper, underlying problem.

While there are a lot of possible reasons for tiredness, here’re some of the most common causes of fatigue:

1. Dehydration

If you want to boost your energy levels, first check whether you are dehydrated. The human brain is 85% water, and needs to maintain this level in order to perform its essential functions.

If you fail to drink enough water, the brain extracts fluids from your blood to compensate for the deficit. As a result, the oxygen levels in your blood drop, reducing the amount of energising oxygen available to your organs and tissues. Fatigue and sleepiness set in rapidly, leaving you more vulnerable to the 2 pm post-lunch crash that many of us experience.

You cannot cure this crash with caffeine – the only long-term, effective solution is to drink hydrating fluids throughout the day.

2. Lack Of Exercise

A workout will surely leave you feeling even more tired, right? Wrong! As counterintuitive as it may sound, physical activities have an energizing effect. Moving your body releases endorphins, increases your heart rate, and boosts your concentration.

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Try to fit in at least 30 minutes of medium-intensity exercise every day. It’s easiest if you can make this part of our everyday routine, either as soon as you wake up or right after work.

3. A Poor Diet

The food you eat has a direct impact on sleep quality and the amount of rest you get every night. For maximum energy, stick to protein, slow-release carbohydrates, and a moderate amount of healthy (unsaturated) fats. The majority of your food should be plant-based, high in fiber, and low in sugar. These choices will prevent blood sugar fluctuations, which can leave you feeling exhausted.

An easy way to make sure you stick to a good diet is through meal preparation. It’s easy to just get take-out when you’re tired after work, but if you have a meal ready for you in the fridge, you’ll be less tempted by pizza or cheese.

Find out more about healthy meal prep here: 10 Meal Planning Apps You Need To Have To Get Healthier Easily

4. Skipping Breakfast

Physician Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan advises that eating breakfast is key to maintaining a good level of energy throughout the day. When you eat breakfast, you are sending calming signals to the areas of the brain responsible for avoiding danger, along with those that instruct the body to conserve as much energy as possible.

Ingesting food signals to your brain that there is enough food available to ensure our survival. This encourages it to stay relaxed, which in turn, promotes restful sleep.

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Some great ideas for a healthy, filling, and make-ahead breakfasts include overnight oats, smoothies, and freezer-friendly breakfast burritos.

Or if meal-prepping isn’t your think, stock up on easy but healthy breakfast foods like multigrain cereal, yogurt, and fruit: 20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

5. Poor Quality Of Sleep

We all know that it’s important to wind down a couple of hours before bed. But did you know that it’s what you do throughout the day that promotes good-quality sleep? It’s not just about the number of hours you sleep, but how restful and deep that sleep is.

TO feel rested, try to regulate your everyday routine to make your sleep deeper and better. Get up at a regular time in the morning to ensure that you get regular sunlight.

Eat nutritious foods in moderate amounts, and make sure you stay hydrated. Go to bed at the same time. And before bedtime, avoid screens that can give off harmful blue light and also keep you stimulated when you need to prepare for a restful night.

Read more about how to develop a routine that will get you better sleep: Poor Sleep Quality Comes from All the Things You Do Since Morning

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6. Sleep Apnea (A Person’s Airways Get Blocked off While They Are Asleep)

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder where a person’s airways get blocked off while they are asleep, causing their oxygen levels to drop while they are asleep. This often causes people to stop breathing at night and then to jerk themselves awake (this can happen over 30 times an hour).

Because of this, people with sleep apnea can feel short of breath and have low energy levels. Mouthpieces and other devices to aid in breathing as well as the use of a special breathing machine to keep oxygen levels in a safe zone.

If you feel tired all the time and think you might have sleep apnea, consulting with a doctor is important. Do a sleep study, as this can often reveal if there is an underlying problem causing your tiredness — and once a diagnosis is made, treatment to help you get your energy back begins.

7. Depression

Depression is the most common mental health disorder in the United States (and in many other countries of the world as well). It is marked by persistent feelings of sadness or unhappiness but has physical symptoms, too. Apart from fatigue, people may also experience changes in sleeping and eating habits and difficulty concentrating.

Treatment can often center on anti-depressants, counselling and lifestyle changes like stress management to help manage this condition. You can take a look at these 15 Ways To Overcome Depression And Sadness.

Many people also benefit from activities like yoga and meditation, which help regulate both the body and mind.

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8. Hypothyroidism

If a person has hypothyroidism, their thyroid gland does not produce adequate levels of these important hormones— and the result can be a persistent and unrelenting fatigue, even if someone is getting enough sleep. Other common symptoms of this disorder include mood swings, weight gain and feeling cold all the time.

Fortunately, simple blood work can reveal if there is a problem and it can be treated with artificial thyroid hormone pills like Synthroid. Check here for signs of having a thyroid problem. If you suspect that you might have hypothyroidism, talk to your doctor.

9. Anemia

People with anemia are not able to make enough red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout the their bodies. This is often due to a lack of nutrients like iron or B-12 and can be caused by problems such as heavy periods, bleeding in the digestive tract or pregnancy (due to the increased demands of the growing baby).

However, in most cases, this can be resolved with treatments like changes in diet, iron supplements or B-12 shots.

While here are some drinks you can try to relieve symptoms of Anemia, it’s best to do a blood test and consult your doctor in case of any hidden medical conditions.

10. Cancer

While you shouldn’t be freaking out about cancer just because you are tired, it is a fact that fatigue is one of the symptoms of cancer. Other common symptoms can include unexplained weight loss and the presence of palpable lumps or growths. This disease is marked by the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells that can do damage to surround tissues and possibly spread to other parts of the body.

Diagnosis is usually by biopsy and treatment often focusses on radiation, chemotherapy or surgery— and generally when a diagnosis is made early, the outcomes for the patient are better.

Featured photo credit: Lily Banse via unsplash.com

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