How Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Diagnosed
Right now, there’s no test to tell if someone has chronic fatigue syndrome. Doctors ask a lot of questions . They also will do a thorough physical exam.
Doctors also usually order blood, urine , or other tests to check for conditions that cause similar symptoms. They may send a person to see other specialists to help with the diagnosis.
A doctor may suggest meeting with a psychologist or a therapist who can see whether mental health disorders might contribute to or mask CFS.
Stress Causes Fatigue By Inducing A Leaky Brain Barrier
Our brain comes built with a sort of filter thats designed to make sure that substances which shouldnt get into the brain stay out of the brain. The problem is that chronic stress can cause certain types of immune cells in the brain to release histamine and various inflammatory compounds. Over time, these chemicals can increase permeability in the brain barrier.
This basically means that substances which would normally be prevented from getting into the brain are now getting in, which leads to inflammation in the brain.
In turn, inflammation in the brain can wreak havoc on all sorts of brain areas that impact on health and energy. Its related to depression and other mood problems, numerous brain diseases, and of course, fatigue.
Food Allergies Food Intolerance And Fatigue
Symptoms: Fatigue, sleepiness, continued exhaustion
Although food is supposed to give you energy, medical research suggests that hidden food intolerances or allergies can do the opposite. In fact, fatigue may be an early warning sign of food intolerance or food allergy. Celiac disease, which happens when you cant digest gluten, may also cause fatigue.
Ask your doctor about the elimination diet. This is a diet in which you cut out certain foods linked to a variety of symptoms, including sleepiness within 10 to 30 minutes of eating them, for a certain period of time to see if that makes a difference. You can also talk to your doctor about a food allergy test or invest in a home test such as ALCAT which may help you identify the offending foods.
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How Stress Affects Sleep
This infographic from Insider Living shows how stress affects sleep.
- 26% of women report trouble sleeping at least once a week compared to only 16% of men.
- 19% of individuals ages 25-64 admit to losing sleep due to stress a few nights per week.
- 54% say that stress or anxiety increased their anxiety about falling asleep at night.
- 52% of men and 42% of women reported that stress affected their ability to remain focused the next day.
How Stress Affects Your Body
Another infographic from Healthline shows the effects of stress on your body.
Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to life experiences. Everyone expresses stress from time to time. Anything from everyday responsibilities like work and family to serious life events such as a new diagnosis, war, or the death of a loved one can trigger stress. For immediate, short-term situations, stress can be beneficial to your health. It can help you cope with potentially serious situations. Your body responds to stress by releasing hormones that increase your heart and breathing rates and ready your muscles to respond.
Yet if your stress response doesnt stop firing, and these stress levels stay elevated far longer than is necessary for survival, it can take a toll on your health. Chronic stress can cause a variety of symptoms and affect your overall well-being. Symptoms of chronic stress include:
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As If Stress Werent Bad Enough On Its Own It Can Both Trigger And Worsen Headaches
Modern life is stressful and, unfortunately, that doesnt seem likely to change any time soon. From the moment your alarm clock jolts you out of bed until youre finally done for the day, you are likely to experience some amount of stress. This can be in the form of anxiety or other psychological pressures, or physical stress such as eye and neck strain from sitting at a computer. While a little stress is tolerable, too much can have damaging effects on your health.i Many symptoms can be attributed to the mental and physiological pressures were under. These can range from fatigue to stomach upset to sleep problems. Top of the list? That nagging headache.ii
Are Your Allergies Making You Tired
For many of us, environmental allergens like pollen, mold or dander trigger an allergic response, especially during peak seasons when their counts are at their highest. During an allergic reaction, inflammation often develops especially in your eyes, lungs, sinuses and throat. Inflammation can trigger other allergy symptoms including coughing, sneezing or headaches, and can prevent you from getting a good nights rest. The combination of a lack of sleep and congestion often leads to allergy-induced fatigue. If inflammation develops in your ears, they may not be able to drain properly, leading to fluid build-up. Fluid in your middle ear can make you feel dizzy, similar to having your head underwater. The longer you experience allergy symptoms, the more tired you will become, making school, work and other daily activities increasingly difficult.
The first step to managing your allergies is to identify which allergen affect you. Once you have determined the cause, an allergist can help you develop a treatment plan that will limit your exposure to the allergen and alleviate your symptoms.
If you experience allergy-induced brain fog or other allergy symptoms, you can try:
Your allergist can help you to determine which medications, including antihistamines*, may be best for you. Antihistamine medications can help to combat feelings of fatigue by temporarily reducing the amount of swelling in your nasal cavity.
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Stress Causes Fatigue By Flushing Out Beneficial Minerals
Chronic stress and HPA activation will also impact on mineral retention by the kidneys. We end up getting rid of more potassium and magnesium and hanging on to more sodium. , This is especially problematic because most of us are already eat diets deficient in potassium and magnesium.
We need potassium to:
- Regulate electrical activity of nerves and cells throughout the body
- Regulate activity of the heart
- Build proteins
- Break down and use carbohydrates
- Build muscle
- Control the acid-base balance
- Regulating electrical activity in the brain, heart, and muscles.
So it is easy to see why depleting these vital minerals can lead to all sorts of problems, including fatigue.
When To See Your Doctor
Although many allergies can be controlled with judicial use of OTC medications, its always wise to consult with your doctor. If allergies are negatively impacting your quality of life or interfering with your daily activities, its in your best interests to explore treatment options with your doctor.
Your doctor might recommend that you see an allergist. This is a physician specializing in diagnosing and treating allergic conditions, such as asthma and eczema. An allergist might offer you a number of suggestions for treatment, including:
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How To Overcome Stress By Doing Re
Learning to operate your brain optimally centers around building Re-Charge Rituals into your life.
What are Re-Charge Rituals? They are predetermined periods of the day where you engage in consciously cultivating the kinds of brain performance habits you want.
You cant expect your brain to know how to overcome stress, be good at relaxation, happiness, being in a state of high energy, focus, laughter/play, and gratitude if you arent consciously building those brain pathways.
Or worse, if youre unconsciously building the opposite brain pathways, as most people are. If your daily practice is running around like a chicken with its head cut off, always running from one thing to the next, getting distracted with every email and text on your phone, using caffeine to get yourself going, feeling stressed and irritated, then guess what your brain will eventually learn to get good at? Yup, being in stress mode.
Building Re-Charge Rituals into your life is the way out of that mess. There are three critical types of Re-Charge Rituals you want to implement:
- Morning Ritual
- Brief Rituals Interspersed Throughout The Day
Why these 3 times? The bookends of the day program your brain how to behave!
If you want to have great energy levels, you better be doing the latter of those two options!
Here is a list of the most powerful strategies on how to overcome stress by using these in your Re-Charge Rituals:
- Improves cognitive performance , ,
- Literally re-shapes your brain in powerful , ,
Stress Causes Fatigue By Lowering Your Intelligence
One of the other ways of stress causes fatigue is because it can indirectly harm energy levels is that it can quite literally make you dumber. It can actually shut down the centers of the brain involved in higher thought processes. According to Amsten et al, Prefrontal cortical areas, which serve as the brains executive command centers, normally hold our emotions in check by sending signals to tone down activity in primitive brain systems. Under even everyday stresses, the prefrontal cortex can shut down, allowing the amygdala, a locus for regulating emotional activity, to take over, inducing mental paralysis and panic.
The reason this happens is that the kind of stresses our nervous system evolved for are not the same type of stresses we deal with today. If we had to run from a bear or from a rival tribe, we want the fear circuits to activate and switch on primitive survival physiology to help us get out of that physical danger.
To make matters worse, its actually shutting down our self-control and higher-thinking centers, which makes it hard for us to even become aware of our self-sabotage behaviors and get ourselves back on track. In short, stress makes you act like youre a lot less intelligent than you really are. And because poor lifestyle decisions impact your energy, this is another way stress causes fatigue.
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Orthostatic Intolerance And Orthostatic Hypotension
Although most medical textbooks discuss orthostatic intolerance and orthostatic hypotension in relationship to specific patient populations such as the elderly or patients with Parkinsons Disease or Diabetes, OI and OH are extremely common among the general population as well.
The medical definition of OH is a decrease of systolic blood pressure of at least 20 mm Hg or diastolic blood pressure of at least 10 mm Hg within 3 minutes of standing up. This basically means that when you stand up, your body cannot maintain normal levels of blood pressure in the upper half of your body because of the pull of gravity and your blood pressure reading declines.
Some patients have symptoms suggestive of OH but will not have as great of a drop in blood pressure as noted above. These patients are often referred to as having orthostatic intolerance and not full blown OH. The general initial treatment approach I use for patients with OI is the same as patients with OH.
How Long Does A Tension
That depends. A tension-type headache may last for 30 minutes or months. In general, episodic tension headache symptoms tend to come on slowly and end sooner. They often happen in the middle of the day. Episodic headaches usually dont last longer than a week.
People with chronic tension-type headaches can have symptoms that last for months at a time. Pain may stay at the same level of discomfort for days. While uncommon, these headaches can take a toll on your quality of life.
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Stress Causes Fatigue By Causing Chronic Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is now being linked as a causal factor in hundreds of diseases.
Despite that, the truth is that inflammation isnt all bad. Its actually an important natural biological response to many threatening agents such as microscopic invaders . Its also part of our bodys response to wounds, infections and many disease processes. The main purpose it serves is to eliminate dead and damaged cells, which is a critical process to repair those tissues back to normal. So, inflammation is a very important and beneficial thing in our bodies. Indeed, we could not live without it.
But chronic inflammation is another story altogether. In normal healthy circumstances, the inflammation response happens rapidly and then goes away when no longer needed, after a few hours or a few days. But when it does not go away, that is when things get bad
Mood problems, fatigue, fat gain, weird symptoms popping up.
With chronic inflammation, all sorts of things go wrong with our body. And chronic stress is a major cause of chronic inflammation.
If you know anything about the physiology of stress, it might seem counterintuitive that stress increases inflammation, because it is known that cortisol is actually anti-inflammatory. But with chronic stress, the body loses the ability to regulate inflammation properly and the situation changes dramatically
And it has a very clear and direct impact on our energy levels by shutting down orexin levels. .
The Relationship Between Fatigue And Headaches
Fatigue is a common symptom in many diseases such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, multiple sclerosis, HIV, depression, thyroid disease, and sleep apnea.
It’s also common for people who get frequent headaches. As researchers have looked into the connection between fatigue and headaches, they’ve uncovered a definite relationship.
One study found fatigue in 70% of people with headaches, and another study found fatigue in 84% of those with chronic migraine.
People with chronic fatigue syndrome, a medical condition characterized by fatigue lasting at least six months plus flu-like symptoms and cognitive dysfunction, also have a higher prevalence of migraine, with and without aura.
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What May Cause Headache And Fatigue
Fatigue and headache are shared symptoms of many conditions. Not all of these conditions are considered serious. However, some may require lifestyle changes or ongoing treatment.
As you consider the reasons why you may be experiencing headache and fatigue, make sure to think about your lifestyle, including your sleeping patterns, diet, and any medications youre currently taking.
Here are 16 conditions and other factors that could cause both headache and fatigue:
What Are Some Triggers That May Bring On Tension
You may be more likely to have tension headaches if you have:
- Eye strain, such as from staring at a computer screen for a long time.
- Pain in other parts of your head and neck caused by problems such as temporomandibular disorders.
- Problems sleeping, such as insomnia.
- Stress related to family, work or life challenges, such as starting or losing a job or juggling too many commitments.
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Recurrent Or Chronic Headaches And Fatigue
Many patients with symptoms of lightheadedness, recurrent or chronic headaches or chronic fatigue are often suffering from inadequate blood flow to the brain that results in inadequate brain oxygen levels. Many of these patients have been evaluated by their primary care physician, neurologists or cardiologists without any specific diagnosis being made.
These symptoms can also be accompanied by neck stiffness, heartburn, chronic indigestion, abdominal cramping, and frequent urination. All of these symptoms represent dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system and are frequently treated as individual symptoms. In essence, many physicians are not seeing the forest because of the trees. A good review of the autonomic nervous system and some of the symptoms associated with autonomic dysfunction can be found here.
Youre Lacking In Vitamin D
If youve got a job that keeps you indoors most of the day, chances are you may be part of the 42 percent of Americans with a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is created by your body when sunlight hits the skin and is found in fatty fishes like salmon and tuna, eggs, and mushrooms.
Most people associate low vitamin D with wintertime and seasonal depression, but it can hit at any time of year. A thorough review of studies analyzing depression and vitamin D concluded that lower vitamin D levels were found in people with depression compared to controls.
Scientists also found that when depressed individuals received vitamin D supplementation for one year, they had significant improvements in symptoms of depression compared with depressed people taking a placebo. The area of the brain associated with depression is also a site of vitamin D receptors, posing one possible explanation for the link between the two.
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Can Allergies Cause Fatigue And Dizziness
Another frequently overlooked potential symptom of allergies is that of dizziness. Your nasal passageways and middle ear are connected via a tube called the Eustachian tube, which plays a role in providing you with balance. When your allergies start acting up, your Eustachian tube may be affected, causing dizziness and even vertigo.
How To Overcome Stress By Lowering Your Sensory Load
Most of us living in the modern world are now constantly bombarded by flickering lights, rapidly changing sights and sounds, social media, text, phone, email, TVs, phones, music, games, movies. And all of that is on top of the hectic lives we live. These things are all foreign to our biology and tax our brain on a level that it has never been taxed before in human history.
To cope, the brain is constantly trying to figure out how to overcome stress and find a way to calm itself down. It does this primarily through trying to increase the inhibitory neurotransmitters, serotonin and GABA. But when these systems are constantly taxed in this way, its a losing battle and you eventually wear out the system and start to create neurotransmitter imbalances.
So think about the following activities you may be doing:
- Always being on the go doing things without taking breaks to recharge.
- Listening to loud aggressive music while driving or exercising.
- Getting involved in exciting, fast-moving or violent movies before going to bed
- Staring at a computer monitor for most of your workday. .
- Staring at the TV for hours.
- Listening to overly stimulating background music .
- Being indoors under artificial light for most of the day. .
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