Fatigue, an extreme feeling of lethargy that typically results from illness, mental exertion or physical exertion, can significantly impact quality of life. Not only can it play a part in diminished mental health and happiness, it can also hinder sufferers from making the nutritional, behavioral and physical changes that might help relieve their symptoms.
What Causes Fatigue?
Because fatigue may be caused by many factors, it is often difficult to pinpoint one specific cause. In general, however, most cases of fatigue are attributable to three key areas: lifestyle, medical issues, and psychological issues.
- Lifestyle factors that may contribute to fatigue include alcohol and substance abuse, excessive physical activity or inactivity, poor nutrition and unhealthy eating habits, use of certain medications, and inadequate sleep.
- Psychological issues that may contribute to fatigue include stress, anxiety, depression and grief.
- Many medical issues may contribute to feelings of fatigue, including anemia, chronic fatigue syndrome, heart disease, obesity, sleep apnea, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and more.
Fatigue may be caused by one or several of these factors, which can make fighting it difficult.
What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CFS is characterized by long-term, chronic fatigue that is not improved by rest, that can get worse after physical or mental exertion, and which is accompanied by other symptoms, such as muscle pain, headaches, and post-exertion malaise.
Despite extensive research, it is not yet known what causes CFS, although there do appear to be certain types of infections that may trigger it. These include Epstein-Barr virus infection, rubella, enterovirus infection, human retrovirus infection, and other infectious disorders. There is also some evidence that allergic diseases and immune deficiencies may have a role in developing CFS.
Can Weight Loss Combat Fatigue?
Although those suffering from fatigue may feel too tired to exercise, regular exercise at safe, sustainable levels can help combat the many underlying issues that cause fatigue, such as obesity, stress and anxiety, poor sleep, and related medical issues.
Studies have shown regular exercise to be effective for not just those suffering from standard fatigue, but for those suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome as well. It is important, however, that those not used to regular exercise start with a small exercise regime, gradually increasing the length and intensity of their workouts to a safe level. For many, shedding weight is not nearly as difficult as maintaining a healthy weight over the long term, which is why making sustainable lifestyle changes is so important.
Other Ways to Fight Fatigue
In addition to regular exercise (and the health benefits that accompany it), there are other steps fatigue sufferers can take to restore energy levels. These include:
- Staying hydrated
- Cutting out caffeine and alcohol
- Eating well and maintaining adequate nutrient levels
- Limiting unnecessary medications (such as tranquilizers and cold medications)
- Maintaining good sleep habits
At Solstice Health, we are committed to harnessing the body’s natural ability to heal itself. To learn more about our nutritional and alternative medical treatments, including medical weight loss, call or visit our office today.