Do you constantly feel tired and/or weak? Could it be chronic fatigue?
Fatigue can be felt physically, mentally or a combination of both. What really separates fatigue from just feeling ‘tired’ is that fatigue is either felt constantly or in ‘waves’ that aren’t necessarily associated with our activity levels.
Feeling tired with no real reason should sound the alarm bells! Chronic fatigue can be debilitating and make our work and personal life so difficult. We are designed to be physically active most of the day and wake in the morning feeling refreshed, ready to take on the day.
So, when this isn’t happening, we need to ask ourselves the big question
WHY am I so fatigued?!
What is Chronic Fatigue?
Chronic fatigue, is intense or prolonged tiredness/ exhaustion which can make it hard to cope with everyday life. Being fatigued make us moody and easily overwhelmed, effecting our tolerance and responses to others. No matter what anyone says – fatigue greatly affects our wellbeing and our lives!
Some Common Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue include:
- Fatigue not relieved by sleep
- Difficulty getting up in the morning
- Craving for salt or salty foods
- Lethargy (lack of energy)
- Increased effort to do everyday tasks
- Feeling easily overwhelmed
- Decreased sex drive
- Decreased ability to handle stress
- Increased time to recover from illness, injury or trauma
- Lightheaded when standing up quickly
- Mild depression
- Less enjoyment or happiness with life
- Thoughts less focused and more fuzzy
- Memory less accurate
- Feeling rundown
- Difficulty recovering from illness
- Don’t feel awake till after 10am
- Afternoon low between 3 and 4 pm
- Needs caffeine
- Thyroid issues under or overactive
Why am I Fatigued?
Chronic fatigue can be due to a range of reasons and often there’s a combination of factors! Finding the cause of your fatigue should take a holistic approach; this means we need to look at ALL the areas of your life including your nutrition, lifestyle, sleep quality and environment. It is also our top priority to rule out any underlying medical conditions and or nutrient deficiencies/ insufficiencies which may be fueling your fatigue.
Let’s take a look at some factors which can contribute to chronic fatigue:
- Lack of quality sleep (of course!)
- Consistently going to bed after 11pm, sleeping with electronics in the bedroom, eating before bed – check out our blog on sleep hygiene
- Using electronics for long hours, especially before bed
- Sleep apnoea
- Lack of exercise, or too much!
- Vitamin B12 insufficiency/deficiency
- Iron insufficiency/deficiency
- Folate insufficiency/deficiency
- Vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency
- Insufficiency of other nutrients (such as magnesium)
- Psychological stress, anxiety and worry
- Food intolerances
- Digestive issues such as constipation or diarrhea
- Autoimmune conditions
- Excessive sugar consumption– white refined products (bread/pasta/cakes/biscuits etc), soft drinks, even overdoing natural sources as this may effect blood sugars levels
- Chemicals exposure such as those found in cleaning products, hygiene products, makeup
- Recreational drug use
- Too much or too little cortisol – This is a big one!
Do any of these sound like you? Do you even know what is happening with your biochemistry, basic pathology testing is generally not extensive enough to pick up these possible causes.
Let’s Talk About Cortisol
Cortisol, also known as our ‘stress hormone’, is naturally released by our body to help control many processes in our body, such as: blood sugar levels, metabolism, immune response, blood pressure, central nervous system function and many more. Cortisol is important for our health but being known as our ‘stress hormone’ is no mistake! When we are stressed (physically or mentally or biochemically) our cortisol levels begin to rise.
Healthy cortisol levels fluctuate during the day but especially peak in the morning, allowing us to spring out of bed and start our day! If our cortisol levels raise too high, or for long periods of time, our cortisol production goes a bit out of whack. Because of this, the first sign of cortisol issues may often be waking up un-refreshed!
If You Are Fatigued, Where Do You Start?
The first place to start if you’re fatigued is going through our list of contributing factors (listed above) and see if you tick any of these boxes!
If this foundational work hasn’t helped, then it’s time to dig deeper to find the cause. You might need a hand and our practitioners can lead you in the right direction; sometimes blood testing for markers such as cortisol, inflammation, liver function and certain nutrients can reveal a lot! In clinic we interpret these tests not only for disease, but for ideal ranges specific to YOU.
Fatigue can be debilitating but there is hope!
Do you need help figuring out your fatigue? Contact our friendly reception on (08) 8332 2271 or book here to work with one of our practitioners!