I know, I said we'd be looking at SuperFoods, but the more I looked at
the time of year, and how chaotic so many of our schedules are, this
topic really spoke to me! We'll have eight posts to this series, and
I think you'll love it!
Many people are walking around, driving, going to work and living their lives
in a permanent state of fatigue. Sometimes people are tired for unexplained
health reasons, but often there are very typical reasons for fatigue which include
- lack of regular sleep
- poor diet
- and not getting enough exercise.
Fatigue can be very frustrating and even disabling due to feeling as if you cannot
get things done or enjoy your downtime.
In this blog series, we’re going to look at different ways to combat and
overcome fatigue so that you can get your life back. There is no reason to be
tired all the time. It’s not a normal state of being in healthy you guys! If you use all
these ideas there is no doubt that you’re going to be on your way to not just
getting over fatigue, but also becoming an energetic, happy, recharged individual
who can accomplish more than you ever thought you could.
Why You Feel Exhausted Even on Your Best Days
Before we get into the meat of getting recharged, let’s address the fact that
sometimes medical issues will play an important role in your energy levels.
These can drag you down no matter how well you do on any given day.
If you are suffering from unexplained exhaustion, it’s important that you seek
medical answers first. Go to your doctor and ask him/her to give you a complete
blood work-up to check all your vitamin and hormone levels, plus test you for
common diseases that cause exhaustion like sleep apnea.
Alternatively, you may be taking medication for an illness and one of the
side effects is tiredness. If you feel tired after taking the medication for two weeks,
ask your doctor if there are alternatives.
The following conditions can easily be tested for and acknowledged by your primary
care doctor or better yet, your functional medicine practitioner through typical blood tests.
This medical condition is characterized by paleness, fatigue, racing heart,
and sometimes even upper left quadrant abdominal pain. If a person has anemia their
red blood cell count (known as hemoglobin) is too low. If hemoglobin gets too low,
it can cause severe fatigue and other problems as well. For men, hemoglobin levels
less than 13.5 grams per 100 ml and for women, hemoglobin less than 12.0 grams
per 100 ml is too low.
Other Vitamin Deficiencies
Besides low iron, if you are short on vitamins D3 or B12 you may feel severely fatigued
and even anxious, which can cause you to lose sleep - thus making you feel even
more tired all day long. Even though you can buy D3 and B12 (with folate) to help
with this issue, it is still best to get a blood test to rule out anything serious before starting
with treatment. You can also have too much vitamin D, so knowing your levels is key!
Whether you’re hypothyroid (slow) or hyperthyroid (fast), you will suffer from fatigue.
Having said that, hypothyroidism tends to cause you to feel tired, sluggish, and even
depressed, while hyperthyroidism tends to make people feel anxious, restless, irritable
and then contribute to fatigue due to lack of sleep. If you are feeling tired even if you
have bursts of energy, ask your doctor to test your thyroid levels to be on the safe side.
Remember, you know your body! Sometimes these tests can come back normal, so
make sure your physician is checking for all the hormones and doing a complete
thyroid panel. I highly recommend every woman gets a DUTCH test at least once per
One of the biggest first indications of diabetes is fatigue. Even though most people
think diabetes only affects overweight people, many people who appear healthy
still wind up with type II diabetes.
If you already know you have diabetes since birth and are often tired, talk to your
doctor about this. Today, even older people are being diagnosed with type I diabetes,
so the old rules don’t fit anymore. You can feel fatigued whether your blood sugar i
s high or low; if it’s off you will feel the effects. That’s why it’s so important to talk to
your doctor to try to manage your disease through medication, diet, exercise, and regular sleep.
One of my favorite people to assist with type II diabetes is Dr. Krista Ellow. She is helping
people with diabetes learn to eat properly and get off medication. Check out her website
by clicking the image below.
Depression and Anxiety
While there can be underlying causes of depression and anxiety such as anemia
and other vitamin and mineral deficiencies, sometimes people have these conditions
for other or even unknown reasons. If you’ve checked everything and nothing shows up,
talk to a professional about whether you suffer from depression or anxiety (or both).
Anxiety causes fatigue by preventing a good night’s rest, and depression sometimes
has the effect of making you want to sleep away your problems regardless of how much sleep you get.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Another illness that can cause fatigue is CFS. It’s right in the name. There could be many
causes for CFS that we don’t know yet. But it is a real medical condition that is often
characterized by fever, body aches, and protracted exhaustion. This condition sometimes
occurs after you think you’re recovered from another viral infection. It’s very difficult to
diagnose and is only given after a complete work-up to discount other possibilities.
But, it is a real illness that can be managed and treated.
An almost epidemic problem today, sleep apnea is caused by either an obstruction
due to the way you sleep, or because the brain isn’t signaling your muscles to
breathe properly even if your airway isn’t blocked (known as central sleep apnea).
Both types of apnea are very dangerous and can lead to sudden death while sleeping.
However, most often what it leads to is a low quality of life due to experiencing
To diagnose this issue, you’ll be sent to a sleep center overnight to do a sleep study.
There are many ways to get help with this problem. Even if no one has mentioned
that you snore, this is a great test to get to ensure that you are sleeping well.
I personally use an OURA RING to track not only my sleep, but my heart rate, heart
rate variability (which tells me how my body recovers), body temperature and
If you have any type of illness where you’ve been given medications, they may be
causing your problems. They might make you tired, or they may make it hard for
you to sleep - thus causing daytime fatigue. Sometimes you still must take the medication,
but often there are other options that you can use so that you can find a medication
that doesn’t cause you as many problems. Other times, there are additional medications
that you can take to combat the problem if it’s interfering with your ability to live your life fully.
So, now that we have talked about potential medical issues that cause fatigue,
we can move on to talk about other issues that may cause fatigue and how you can overcome it.
After all, the entire point is to find ways to recharge your body and take control of your life.
Whether that is via medical intervention or something else is less important than doing
something to make a difference. And you know I am all about lifestyle changes that can and
will affect our quality of life!
Stay tuned next week as we dig into how mental exhaustion affects the whole body!
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