Medical Causes Of Fatigue
Certain medical conditions and chronic diseases may also cause fatigue in the elderly. Some of these conditions include:
Anemia. This occurs when you have a low red blood cell count, making your body have to work harder in order to get your cells the oxygen they need. This can result in fatigue due to the extra strain on your body.
Sleep disorders. Sleep disorders like sleep apnea interfere with sleep cycles and can create disturbances throughout the night that prevents the sufferer from achieving meaningful rest. This lack of proper sleep over a period of time may lead to fatigue.
Thyroid issues. Hypothyroidism is more common with age and is characterized by lower thyroid function than normal. Those with hypothyroidism may experience fatigue along with weight gain, constipation, and hair loss.
Inflammatory disorders. Issues tied to inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, can cause fatigue, as well as joint stiffness and pain.
Cancer. Cancer cells grow and spread rapidly, which can use a lot of an individuals energy resources and leave them feeling fatigued.
Chronic fatigue syndrome. Chronic fatigue syndrome does not have a known trigger but can cause someone to experience fatigue persistently over the course of many months and years.
Chronic Infection. Chronic infections such as tuberculosis and HIV can cause significant fatigue in patients.
What Can I Do About Fatigue
Recognise that the fatigue is real and be kind to yourself. Explain to your family, friends, and colleagues at work the impact the fatigue is having. Because fatigue is invisible, sometimes it is not properly understood. Until it is experienced it can be hard to understand the impact of fatigue and how debilitating it can be.
Get a good nights sleep. Fatigue feels much worse if your sleep pattern is also disturbed. Try to improve your sleep pattern by reading the sleeping well section.
Try relaxation techniques. These can help with fatigue as they promote a good sleep pattern, and can help reduce stress. Consider trying techniques such as mindful meditation, aromatherapy, yoga, tai chi, and other activities you find relaxing, such as reading or having a long shower or bath.
Plan, prioritise and delegate.
Eat well. A healthy diet can help. See the section on eating well.
The Most Common Causes Of Fatigue In My Practice
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Physical Causes Of Tiredness
The NHS recommends that you see your GP if youve been feeling constantly tired for more than four weeks. Physical causes can include a wide range of conditions not always illness-related. Possible causes include:
- Anaemia . Treated by taking iron tablets.
- Underactive thyroid. Usually treated by taking daily hormone tablets.
- Diabetes. Treatable with insulin and/or dietary changes.
- Pregnancy. Particularly in the first 12 weeks.
- Weight. Being overweight or underweight can affect your energy levels.
Youre Overdoing It On Sugar And Refined Carbs
When you eat things that are sugary or high in refined carbs , it causes your blood sugar to spike, explains Jessica Cording, MS, RD, author of The Little Book of Game-Changers. In the moment, that can make you feel kinda hyper. But, unfortunately, all of that sugar and carbs will lead to an inevitable crash. That can leave you feeling tired, Cording says.
If you continue overloading on a ton of sugar and refined carbs, you can also cause something known as insulin resistance in your body, Dr. Khan adds, which is when your body cant use glucose as well as it should. The result: You feel tired a lot.
How to fix it: Try to cut back on how much sugar and refined carbs youre having on a regular basis, Cording says. FWIW, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends limiting your intake of added sugars to less than 10 percent of your total daily calories.
When youre going to have sugary or carb-filled foods, try to balance out the meal with some protein and fat, like adding nut butter atop your crackers. This can help lower the odds youll have an energy crash afterward, Cording notes.
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Fact: Caffeine Provides A Mild Boost
Whether in the form of coffee, soft drinks, or gum, caffeine can briefly increase alertness. Keep in mind that the effect takes about 30 minutes to kick in, so you may want to pull over and rest until you perk up. This temporary fix has its limits — caffeine canât overcome severe fatigue and may have little impact on regular coffee drinkers.
Second Group: Cereals Starchy Foods & Pastries
Cereals and starchy foods are completely misunderstood.
Due to their higher carbohydrate content, they tend to be on the list of forbidden foods for many well-known diets.
However, even these the most fattening foods have a reason to exist in a healthy nutrition program.
Cereals offer a wealth of fibre as well as valuable nutrients.
They significantly help the organisms digestive process, promote a healthy body weight and help to lose extra pounds & points.
They lower bad cholesterol levels and control blood pressure levels.
In addition extremely beneficial for people with extra weight they help to effectively control the appetite and create the conditions for a healthy and balanced diet.
The same, of course, applies to so-called starchy foods. They are foods rich in valuable nutrients, trace elements, vitamins and antioxidants. All you need is to consume them in moderation so that you receive all the benefits without risking your body weight.
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Fatigue Cause No : Hypothyroidism
The thyroid is a small gland at the base of your neck. It controls your metabolism, the speed at which your body converts fuel into energy. When the gland is underactive and the metabolism functions too slowly, you may feel sluggish and put on weight.
Fix: If a blood test confirms your thyroid hormones are low, synthetic hormones can bring you up to speed.
Rheumatoid Arthritis And Fatigue
Symptoms: Fatigue, morning stiffness, joint pain, inflamed joints
Rheumatoid arthritis , a type of inflammatory arthritis, is another cause of excessive fatigue. Because joint damage can result in disability, early and aggressive treatment is the best approach for rheumatoid arthritis.
Medications that may be used early in mild RA include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs
Other drugs used in more serious forms of RA include the anti-cytokine therapies , as well as shots and other forms of treatment.
Other autoimmune disorders, such as lupus and Sjogren’s disease, may also cause fatigue.
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Fatigue Cause No : Caffeine Overload
Caffeine can improve alertness and concentration in moderate doses. But too much can increase heart rate, blood pressure, and jitteriness. And research indicates too much actually causes fatigue in some people.
Fix: Gradually cut back on coffee, tea, chocolate, soft drinks, and any medications that contain caffeine. Stopping suddenly can cause caffeine withdrawal and more fatigue.
When To See A Doctor About Being Tired All The Time
While making certain lifestyle tweaks could help with your fatigue, its unlikely to do much if youre struggling with an underlying health condition. In those situations, youll need to seek help from a medical professional.
Of course, that can be tricky to detect on your own. So, when should you seek medical attention? If fatigue is persistent, and it is disrupting daily tasks, work productivity, or limiting your participation in enjoyable activities, it may be time to speak to your doctor, Dr. Waters says.
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Fatigue Cause No 1: Food Allergies
Some doctors believe hidden food allergies can make you sleepy. If your fatigue intensifies after meals, you could have a mild intolerance to something you’re eating — not enough to cause itching or hives, just enough to make you tired.
Fix: Try eliminating foods one at a time to see if your fatigue improves. You can also ask your doctor about a food allergy test.
Shortness Of Breath And Fatigue Are Side Effects Associated With
Potassium-sparing Diuretics: Diuretics increase urination to relieve fluid retention. They are used to treat many conditions including heart conditions and premenstrual syndrome . Potassium-sparing diuretics, such as Amiloride, Spironolactone, and Triamterene, help the body retain potassium while expelling fluid, and can have side effects that include shortness of breath, skin rashes, and itching.
Indera: Indera is a beta blocker used to treat tremors, high blood pressure, chest pain, heart rhythm disorders, migraines and to prevent heart attack. Side effects can include shortness of breath, fatigue, depression, impotence, memory loss, and slow heart rate.
Lopressor: Lopressor is another beta blocker. It is used to treat chest pain and high blood pressure and to prevent high blood pressure. Metoprolol can have side effects that include fatigue, shortness of breath, impotence, inability to achieve orgasm, fainting, depression, swelling of the ankles and feet, and cold hands and feet.
Digoxin: Digoxin is widely used in the treatment of various heart conditions, namely atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter and sometimes heart failure. It decreases the conduction of electrical impulses through the AV node and increases the force of contraction of the heart. However, Digoxin is very dose-sensitive, as was demonstrated by the many victims in pending digoxin lawsuits over the recalled brand Digitek.
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First Group: Fruits And Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are the pillars of a healthy diet. Low in caloric value, extremely high in nutritional value and rich in valuable dietary fibre, they contribute to the strengthening of the organisms immune system, the proper functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, the mental and physical wellness of the individual, as well as its beauty.
Fruits & vegetables are a group of foods that in addition to being low in calories are also low in fat.
Experts recommend that each meal have as a base a portion of fruit or vegetables.
It is the main source for the organism to receive vitamins and nutrients and is rich in valuable trace elements, phytochemicals, antioxidants and surely valuable fibre.
Furthermore, both fruits and vegetables being rich in water are an excellent means of hydrating the organism from morning to night, not charging the stomach and being the most suitable snack for the entire day.
Another important element we must mention for this category of food is the protection offered to the heart.
Due to a substance contained in most fruits and vegetables , they manage to reduce a dangerous substance which significantly reduces the elasticity of blood vessels and impedes normal blood circulation, dramatically.
To name all the benefits provided by fruits and vegetables, we would need a high number of pages.
Suffice to say that, a nutrient such as fruits & vegetables should not be absent from any of your meals, from morning to night.
You Have A Thyroid Issue
Your thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your throat that produces hormones that control the way your body uses energy. When it doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone, it causes a condition known as hypothyroidism, which can mess with or slow down many of your body’s functions, according to Medline Plus.
Thyroid hormones have receptors on essentially every organ of human body and their deficiency can cause fatigue by excessively slowing the metabolic pathways, Dr. Khan says.
How to fix it: The treatment for hypothyroidism is medication to replace the hormone that your own thyroid can no longer make. Just know this: It could take a little while for you to feel better. As a result, your doctor may need to adjust your medication until you reach the optimal level.
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Some Illnesses Cause Fatigue
Sometimes, fatigue can be the first sign that something is wrong in your body. For example, people with rheumatoid arthritis, a painful condition that affects the joints, often complain of fatigue. People with cancer may feel fatigued from the disease, treatments, or both.
Many medical problems and treatments can add to fatigue. These include:
- Taking certain medications, such as antidepressants, antihistamines, and medicines for nausea and pain
- Having medical treatments, like chemotherapy and radiation, or recovering from major surgery
- Chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, thyroid disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Untreated pain and diseases like fibromyalgia
- Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders
Managing a health problem may make the fatigue go away. Your doctor can help.
When Is Being Too Tired A Problem
Let’s face it: We aren’twhat we used to be as we get on up there. Aging has many wonderful aspects, butone of the many problems is that we do not have the stamina and energy we didwhen younger. That is a normal part of aging and just something that comes withthe territory. However, being excessively tired or listless can be termedfatigue.
Factors That Affect Energy Levels
Before we focus on the reasons for waking up with no energy, its important to address an important subject factors that influence your energy levels during the day. You see, energy fuels your body and allows you to perform basic functions. But its levels dont remain the same during the day, they fluctuate, go up and down and change under certain circumstances. The key factors that may influence energy levels include:
- Nutrition The most important factor that influences the levels of energy in the body is your diet. Foods you eat can either boost your energy or impair it
- Physical activity What you do with energy intake matters a lot in how energetic you are during the day
- Hormonal balance Hormones regulate a wide array of processes in our body, so it comes as no wonder imbalances of a certain hormone or more of them can affect our energy. Good examples here are thyroid hormones and testosterone, or estrogen in cases of why am I so tired lately female questions
- Sleep How much you sleep directly influences your energy levels. Sleep is when you recharge your batteries, relax, and get ready for the next day. For that reason, sleep deprivation can deplete your energy levels and cause fatigue
- Other factors Besides the abovementioned, other factors that affect your daily energy levels include water intake, stress, medications, oxygen uptake, general health, and wellbeing. Menopause could be behind low energy levels in females, for example
Wrong Foods At The Wrong Time
Now we are moving out of the health and nutrition causes for womens low energy, and were moving into some lifestyle elements. First up, food!
Women lead busy lives. Sometimes one of the first things a woman will let go of is eating a meal. When youre rushing to get out the door on time, breakfast may be the last thing on your mind. Or if youre trying to finish a deadline, you may forego the actual lunch part of lunch hour.
Thats all a big mistake for your energy levels.
What times are you feeling the most sluggish throughout the day? 2 or 3? Youre probably either skipping lunch or youre not choosing filling protein-rich or fiber-rich items. Does late morning force you to have a third cup of coffee ? Then youre probably not getting enough at breakfast.
The goal is to eat regularly and to choose foods that will sustain your energy instead of giving you a sugar crash.
That bowl of cereal may taste delicious at 7am, but how does it make you feel at 10:30am? Probably starving and mentally crashed.
How to Fix It: Eat! Take some extra time to plan out your breakfasts and lunches before the week begins, so busyness doesnt take over. Then choose foods with lots of protein, fiber, and healthy fat for breakfast and lunch. Here are some of my favorite breakfast ideas:
- Berry, spinach, and protein powder smoothie
- Avocado toast with a handful of nuts
- Veggie omelet
- Quinoa salad with a zesty chicken breast
- Black bean burger and side salad
- Dinner leftovers
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