Fatigue

summary fatigue

Fatigue, also called asthenia, is one of the frequent symptoms found in today’s society. It is “normal” when it occurs after a period of intense work, stress or short nights and a good night’s rest or a well-deserved vacation is enough to get rid of the fatigue. However, when fatigue sets in, even though efforts have been made to stop suffering from this affliction, it is good to reflect on the causes of the latter. Often considered banal, however it can be a symptom of an underlying, more serious illness: infection, depression , cancer, etc.

However, most of the time fatigue is caused by bad lifestyle habits such as overwork, household and family chores, lack of sleep, poor diet, etc.

The symptoms most often described in cases of chronic fatigue are muscle fatigue, as well as headaches, bad mood and great tiredness. The slightest effort causes severe fatigue. Fatigue symptoms are described in the fatigue illness symptoms topic . It is advisable to consult a doctor when chronic fatigue sets in or when hygiene and dietary measures have been unsuccessful.

When an underlying illness causes the fatigue, which may be detected by the doctor as anemia or hypothyroidism, it is the cause itself that needs to be treated. To find these causes, the doctor may use additional analysis by performing a blood test or ordering x-rays. In cases where no cause can be found, the doctor recommends taking tonics and plenty of rest. Different fortifiers and dietary supplements are described in the fatigue treatment section .

But to avoid fatigue it is essential to listen to your body, like getting enough sleep, going to places of rest and tranquility, away from daily stress. It is also important to eat properly to avoid deficiencies such as vitamins and trace elements. Read more advice at Fatigue Therapy & Prevention Advice

To conclude this summary, we can say that fatigue is a common symptom. It can hide a more serious illness. Therefore, we must be careful and talk to a doctor.

Read: 12 Food Tips to Knock Out Fatigue – 5 Medical Causes of Persistent Fatigue

Definition

Fatigue is not a disease itself, but is almost always a symptom of an underlying disease or disorder.

Temporary fatigue affects everyone at some point in life, such as after a bad night’s sleep, or after very intense work. Certain people also feel very tired when they haven’t slept enough, it is in the latter case that we speak of fatigue.

These people affected by fatigue should consult a doctor who will look for the cause and help treat this disease.

Fatigue can be both physical and psychological. It is often noted that physical fatigue is most pronounced at night, emotional fatigue is most pronounced in the morning and lessens somewhat during the day.

Chronic fatigue (chronic fatigue syndrome)

We talk about chronic fatigue or chronic fatigue syndrome when the fatigue lasts for more than six months. The causes are not clearly known and the treatments are not specific.

According to a study published in February 2015 in the journal Sciences Advances, chronic fatigue syndrome (also called myalgic encephalomyelitis) is a biological illness, not a psychological one. According to the researchers, it is possible to identify the disease with markers (mainly cytokines) in the blood.

The researchers tested the levels of 51 immune system markers in the plasma of 298 sick and 348 healthy people. They found that the blood of patients with the disease for three years or less contained higher levels of molecules called cytokines. However, the blood of patients with the disease for more than three years does not show this level of cytokines. “The binding appears exceptionally strong with a cytokine called interferon gamma, linked to fatigue after many viral infections,” according to the study.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is characterized by extreme fatigue, headaches, difficulty concentrating, and muscle aches.

Read:  Infectious origin of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome confirmed

Causes

The causes of fatigue are numerous, here are the main reasons that can lead to fatigue:

– Anemia (often due to a lack of iron) is the case in certain women who suffer from menstrual disorders, with heavy bleeding or in women who have recently given birth;

– Hypothyroidism (thyroid disorder);

– An infectious disease such as mononucleosis , herpes , the flu , a cold , sinusitis , AIDS ….

– Psychic disorders or difficulties such as depression , stress , overload, anxiety , burnout,…

– Hormonal disorders in women: menopause , premenstrual syndrome;

– Pregnancy;

– A metabolic disease such as diabetes ;

– Taking certain medications that cause drowsiness (drugs against coughs, muscle relaxants, tranquilizers,…);

– Various rheumatic diseases (including fibromyalgia );

– Hypertension or hypotension ;

– A cancer;

– Sleep apnea ;

– An allergy (to a food, to pollens,…);

– Sleep disorders;

– Poor absorption of certain essential nutrients such as vitamins, trace elements or minerals (one of the main sources of fatigue);

– Excessive consumption of caffeine or drinks rich in caffeine (coke, coffee, iced tea,…).

In fact, caffeine has a stimulating effect and allows you to combat fatigue, but paradoxically an excessive consumption of caffeine can also lead to fatigue, as there is a tolerance that is installed in the substance and an increasing amount of caffeine ends up being necessary to fight against fatigue, that is, there is installation of a vicious circle.

Advice: Decrease or stop your caffeine intake.

– An infection of the urinary tract (disease treated and diagnosed);

– Heart problems like heart attack. Fatigue can be a sign of a heart attack, especially in women, fatigue can be present for months before the heart attack.

– Autoimmune diseases ( lupus ,…);

– Muscle diseases;

– Poor diet (e.g. fast food);

– Dehydration;

– Very hot house or place;

– Alcoholism

Read: 5 medical causes of persistent fatigue

chronic fatigue

Chronic fatigue (duration > 6 months), often known as chronic fatigue syndrome, does not have a defined cause, studies show that it may be related to a previous infection, immune system problems, central nervous system problems, problems psychiatric disorders, muscular problems and allergic problems, but no studies were conclusive.

Note: sometimes it is difficult to find the cause, fatigue can therefore be a complex disease with numerous causes (known or unknown) and parameters.

Chronic fatigue syndrome and the microbiome

A study published on June 23, 2016 in the journal  Microbiome showed that the gut microbiome bacteria in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) were not considered normal. Scientists at Cornell University in New York State (USA) have observed a decrease in the number of bacterial species and fewer bacterial species known to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the microbiome compared to healthy people. The researchers were also able to identify biological markers of CFS in the blood. This study is further evidence that the origin of this syndrome is not psychological.
Read more:  Cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Could Be in the Gut, Not the Head

Groups of risk

People can suffer from fatigue are as follows:

– people suffering from anemia

– women with heavy or long periods

– pregnant women

– people suffering from hypothyroidism

– people suffering from cancer

– people suffering from sleep disorders

– people suffering from digestive diseases, preventing proper absorption of food

– people suffering from various infections, including mononucleosis

– people suffering from malnutrition

– stressed people and perfectionists

– people who suffer from anxiety , depression , burnout

– people taking medication with side effects such as fatigue, drowsiness (read the leaflet, talk to your pharmacist)

– people suffering from COPD ( chronic obstructive pulmonary disease )

– people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis

– people suffering from fibromyalgia

– the diabetics

– people suffering from dehydration (such as the elderly, who often do not drink enough and who are the first victims when there are hot flashes)

Note that risk factors often coexist. For example, a woman may suffer from anemia due to heavy menstruation. Anxiety, depression or burnout can lead to sleep disturbances. All resulting in fatigue.

Symptoms

Symptoms of fatigue can be:

– You often feel tired even though you’ve slept well and have trouble getting up in the morning

– Decreased overall energy

– A small effort causes intense fatigue

– Very sad moods (in cases of depression) and variable moods (anger)

– Difficulty concentrating, memory loss, frequent forgetfulness

– Difficulty performing daily tasks

– Lack of interest in activities previously considered interesting. Less enthusiasm to enjoy life.

– Loser attitude, resignation. It is not described by a pessimistic person (a character trait), but the change in attitude of a fatigued person no longer recognizes his behavior.

– Anxiety , agony

– headaches

– Muscle aches

– Fatigued people may get sick more often because their immune system is often weak.

A person suffering from fatigue may have one or more symptoms.

We are talking about chronic fatigue, when fatigue and its symptoms are present for more than 6 months.

It is also possible that chronic fatigue causes the sick person to fall into a vicious circle, putting them on the fringes of society. Because of this, it will be more difficult for people to stay motivated to move forward. You can easily sink into depression, for example.

Diagnosis

During a consultation due to fatigue, the doctor will understand the symptoms described by the patient.

The doctor can, through questions, relate to some diseases, or in another way, request additional analyzes.

It will address, in particular:

– the moment when fatigue began. Is it if it lasts longer than 6 months or less?

– the symptoms associated with fatigue (headache, muscle pain, memory difficulties or reduced concentration power,…)

– the measures already taken by the patient (healthy lifestyle, diet, stress in daily life).

– whether sleep is restorative or not? Number of hours of sleep.

– the medications that are being taken by the patient. In fact, drowsiness and fatigue are common side effects of many medications. The doctor may decide to reduce the dose of the suspected drug or change the drug, opting for a molecule that has fewer side effects but is just as effective.

If necessary, the doctor may order other complementary tests, such as blood tests or X-rays. These tests can show an affection, a disease that can cause fatigue or not.

It can also provide treatment for the conditions that cause fatigue. We can then think of mononucleosis or the flu. In the case of mononucleosis , mainly the symptoms are treated and I recommend a lot of rest and patience.

In the case of the flu , the doctor can prescribe medication that relieves the symptoms, if necessary, and an antibiotic to prevent bacterial complications.

If, during the medical consultation, the doctor rules out any biological (eg cancer) or mental illness (nervous breakdown, stress), the doctor will recommend rest and tonics.

Complications

One might think that fatigue is not serious in itself and that a few hours of sleep or a good vacation are enough to stop the malaise.

However, fatigue can be a symptom of a more serious condition, such as cancer. In this case, it is absolutely necessary to identify the disease in time and treat it accordingly. It may seem like an exaggeration to immediately think of cancer, but we can think of any other disease, such as mononucleosis, an infection with the potential to be contagious that must be treated, or fibromyalgia, just to name a few diseases.

Being able to put a name to a troubling symptom is usually pretty good. Knowing what we have, and then stop worrying.

In addition, “normal” fatigue should be reduced when proper dietary and lifestyle measures are taken, such as:

– get enough sleep (not too much, not too little)

– sleep at fixed times, wake up at fixed times (even on weekends)

– eat healthily (enough, without too much fat, not too salty, not too sweet)

– drink or enough

– engage in daily physical activity (at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day)

– eliminate stress from your life (or at least reduce it)

It is possible that fatigue is a side effect of some medications. If you realize this, talk to your doctor, it can improve your quality of life.

Finally, fatigue can lead to loneliness. Enforced solitude can lead to depression, as the person may become socially excluded.

Thus, fatigue may seem banal at first, but it can do a lot of damage to the sufferer if it is not taken seriously enough, if nothing is done to stop it or improve everyday life.

When to consult?

It is advisable to consult your doctor if:

– fatigue lasts for more than six months

– measures have been tried without success (sleeping, eating, sports, stress reduction)

– there are associated symptoms such as pain (muscle, headache, etc.), lack of energy, appetite, etc.

– the person feels depressed mood.

In general, one should in principle persist for 3 to 4 weeks, when trying dietary and lifestyle measures. If indeed there are no visible results then it is advisable to consult your doctor to see if there is not a cause, an underlying illness. These diseases can be of an organic nature, such as cancer, or mental, such as stress, depression. It is also possible that the immune system is weakened.

Similarly, when taking fortifiers through self-medication (whether in natural, herbal, amino acid or other forms), it is necessary to take them for at least two weeks before judging them to be effective or not. If after two weeks, tiredness persists, make an appointment with your GP.

So, when fatigue sets in, it’s always good to question your lifestyle, trying to improve and if it still doesn’t work, see your doctor to help you eradicate it or to find and treat the real cause of fatigue.

Treatments

The treatment of fatigue is mainly the cause sought. For example, if the fatigue is caused by hypothyroidism, a treatment based on thyroid hormones will be proposed by the doctor and the fatigue will stop.

However, if the doctor considers that the cause is not related to an underlying disease or a temporary or permanent infection ( AIDS ), it is possible that the fatigue is caused by a lack or poor absorption of vitamins or trace elements.

The doctor may then prescribe or advise the consumption of tonics such as:

 vitamins: for example vitamin C or B

– trace elements: for example manganese
When fatigue is due to a weakened immune system, it is recommended to take the following mixture of trace elements: Copper-Gold-Silver. This mixture is generally recommended in autumn to strengthen the immune system, before entering the winter period. However, in cases of fatigue related to the immune system, this mixture can be used in other seasons.

– minerals: such as magnesium or potassium

– amino acids (for example based on arginine aspartate ).

In the case of chronic fatigue syndrome, as its cause is unknown, its treatment aims at improving the symptoms and not the cure itself, therefore the treatment depends a lot on the patient’s symptoms.

Antidepressants, anti-inflammatories and analgesics are widely used. As well as psychological treatment and exercise.

Herbal medicine

The following medicinal plants have been shown to be effective in fighting fatigue:

Adaptogenic plant (that adapts to the patient)

– ginseng , to be consumed in the form of capsules, pills or ampoules (drinkable solution) (the most recommended plant in case of fatigue)

Stimulant plants (almost always high in caffeine)

Note: in certain cases, a very high consumption of caffeine (from plants or soft drinks) can lead to a vicious circle and generate fatigue. Therefore, these should preferably be consumed under the advice of a doctor who will be able to indicate what is best to fight your fatigue problem.

– coffee , to be taken in the form of drinks, tablets or capsules

– mate , to be taken in the form of drinks, tablets or capsules.

– black tea , to be taken as a drink (tea)

– green tea , to be taken as a drink (tea)

– guarana , to be taken in capsule form, energy drink.

tonic plant

– angelica , an interesting tonic plant

Tips

– In cases of fatigue, it is necessary, first of all, to question your lifestyle. Are professional and leisure activities well balanced? Or are the activities too much? Am I overestimating my energy too? While leisure activities are fun and it’s nice to play sports or go out to see friends, these activities should be done according to your body and the messages it sends. Fatigue is indeed a warning symptom. You have to be attentive.

– I think about it, it is possible to reduce fatigue by paying attention to lifestyle and food rules:

> Sleep at fixed times (sleep at specific times, get up at fixed times, even on weekends). Contrary to conventional wisdom, waking up early on the weekend allows the body to regulate itself. Sleeping too much can make you more tired!

> A healthy diet, avoiding excess fat, calories and salt. This avoids overloading your body, which has to work harder to eliminate surpluses. It is advisable to eat bananas to help fight fatigue, they are rich in sugars and therefore provide a lot of energy. In fact, bananas contain 3 different sugars: glucose, fructose and sucrose.

> Drink plenty. You should ideally drink 1.5 to 2 liters of liquid a day, which can be water, fruit juice, broths. Coffee, however, dehydrates. Water helps hydrate the body’s cells, which allows them to perform better, but also allows for better elimination of toxins.

> Do regular physical activity. It is advisable to perform at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. Cleaning, washing dishes or gardening are included in the 30 minutes of physical activity. It is also recommended, twice a week, a cardiovascular activity of 1h30min.

– The most important thing is to seek out the cause of your fatigue with your doctor and remedy it.

– Take food supplements rich in vitamins, minerals and trace elements.

– Have a healthy diet, with the intake of foods rich in fruits and vegetables (which contain essential nutrients)

– Try to get out more, if possible in nature or in a park, to replenish energy.

– Quit smoking, smoking can increase fatigue.

Prevention

– Do not consume too many products or medicines rich in caffeine (see causes of fatigue to understand the explanation of this advice).

 Taking a short nap in the afternoon can be useful, but be careful, not for more than 20 minutes (so as not to enter the sleep cycle).

 Try to sleep as well as possible, with quality.

– Playing sports regularly can improve your general condition and fight fatigue.

 Have a healthy diet , with the intake of foods rich in fruits and vegetables (which contain essential nutrients)

 Take care of your life balance, balancing work and personal life. Psychological problems can lead to fatigue.

– It is also necessary to carefully balance your leisure, which should not impede necessary rest.

News

– 5 medical causes of persistent fatigue
– The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome could be in the gut and not the head
– Infectious origin of chronic fatigue syndrome confirmed

 

Jeanne Kenney
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I’m a stylist trainer, a content creator, and an entrepreneur passion. Virgo sign and Pisces ascendant, I move easily between my dreams, the crazy world I want, and my feet on the ground to carry out my projects.

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