Showing posts with label Chronic Fatigue. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chronic Fatigue. Show all posts

Monday, March 10, 2014

Own Your Health

Going to the doctor is usually a routine experience. You share your symptoms, your doctor offers a knowing nod, and you’re out the door with an answer and a prescription. But what happens when your issue isn’t so simple? Some of us suffer from enigmatic illnesses – like unexplained weight gain, chronic fatigue, and other mysterious maladies – that can be hard to diagnose and treat by even the most experienced medical professional.

While our desire might be to throw up our hands in defeat, we can’t give up. We deserve our best health; at times, we must fight for it. But how do we start? How can you be your best advocate? And how do you find the answers you desperately need when nothing seems to be working?

The first step is to list all of your symptoms and start tracking them. Do you notice that you feel exhausted at three in the afternoon? Do you have sinus issues only when you are at work? Are you wide awake at 2 AM every night? In order for a doctor to understand your needs, they require the whole picture. Plus, it’s often in the little things that you find the most astounding connections.  

Next, do your research. Note: I didn’t say, diagnose via web browser! But it’s worth doing some online seeking to understand the terms surrounding your issues, to explore your symptoms and what they could possibly mean, and to get familiar with the current research. You are up close and personal with your issues, and they are foremost on your mind. But your doctor, especially if you are going to a general practitioner, may not be familiar with all the new techniques and treatments surrounding your health woes.

Find the right doctor. If you already have a general practitioner with whom you share a good relationship, that is the place to start. But if your symptoms don’t match common maladies, you may need to see a specialist. Finding a doctor might not be fun, but it's easier than you might think. Your general practitioner may offer a referral, or you can search on your own. Sites like Vitals and Healthgrades offer patient reviews and ratings. You may also check with your local health food store or health newspaper for suggestions if you want a practitioner with a holistic orientation.

Treat your first appointment like a job interview. You might have found a specialist to work with, but is this the right person? Just like any relationship, the medical relationship depends on mutual respect and trust, and it often comes down to like-minded personalities. So during your first visit, come prepared. Bring the tracker of all your symptoms, copies of any tests you may have had in the last few years, and a list of your questions. Present all of this at your appointment and see what transpires. Afterwards, review whether or not this is someone you feel you can work with. Depending on the severity or complexity of your issues, you might be with this doctor for several years. If you don’t feel confident that this is the right doctor, don’t hesitate to visit another one. You may have to travel some distance to find the right person, but when you do, it will be well worth it.

Mystery illnesses frustrate the sufferer, but there are answers out there for you. Sadly, when we don’t feel well, doing more work may the last thing we want to do, but this is one situation where it may pay off for years to come. Tracking your symptoms, researching your issues, and establishing a solid relationship with a medical professional will get you that much closer to finding a solution and feeling better.

What have you done in the past to find the right doctor? What tips would you offer someone in a similar situation?

Contributing Writer

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tired of Being Tired?

I love my little girl, but for those of you who have babies – you can certainly empathize when I say, “I am tired!”  I used to be able to go, go, go.  I still do a lot, but nap time for her can sometimes means nap time for me.

You always hear people say, “I’m soooooo tired.”

If you find yourself wondering, “Why am I so tired,” you are not alone.  According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, one in five people feel tired and one in 10 is fatigued at any given time. Sometimes we may be able to pinpoint the reason behind our sleepiness – pregnancy or having a baby and getting less sleep, a series of late nights at the office, poor nutrition and nonexistent exercise, or even bouts of insomnia. Other times it is not so easy to find a reason for our exhaustion.

Low energy impacts more than just how you feel physically. Sometimes a lack of energy can impact our mood and how we treat others. You may find yourself yelling at your kids more or picking a fight with your significant other for no good reason. Since we don’t always know what causes tiredness, we may not immediately know how to make ourselves feel better.

What Causes Fatigue and Tiredness?

It is important to realize that the cause of tiredness and fatigue for one person may not be the same trigger for another person.  Some things to watch for:
  • Sleeping patterns, diet (or lack-thereof), and exercise levels can directly impact how tired one feels. 
  • Workplace burnout from work overload or boredom can also contribute to overtiredness according to
  • Medical conditions can also contribute toward chronic tiredness.   Prevention Magazine cites some of the most common medical causes of tiredness and fatigue as anemia, diabetes, thyroid disease, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, sleep apnea, and chronic fatigue.  According to WebMD, undiagnosed heart disease can also be a factor in excessive tiredness.  Some other important medical causes of tiredness include depression tiredness, adrenal fatigue, and thyroid fatigue
Chronic Tiredness Fatigue
What to do When Your Tired of Being Tired!?!?
If you suspect your tiredness is due to a medical condition, or if you rule out the non-medical causes, it may be prudent to schedule a checkup with your family doctor to evaluate you and ensure your condition is nothing serious. You might even benefit from some tiredness treatment whether that comes in the form of medical or vacation type treatment.

What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Another type of fatigue is chronic fatigue syndrome.  According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, this syndrome is characterized by “severe, continued tiredness that is not relieved by rest and is not directly caused by other medical conditions.”  Women between the ages of 30 and 50 face the greatest likelihood of suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome.

What Causes Chronic Fatigue?

Here are a few things that may lead to chronic fatigue :
  • Stress 
  • An overfull schedule 
  • Poor sleep 
  • Alcohol 
  • Lack of exercise 
  • Poor nutrition 
  • Metabolism changes as we age 
  • As well as age, previous illness, genetics and environment (U.S. National Library of Medicine) 
Now that you know some of the extreme fatigue causes, you can watch out for them and work to reverse that overly tired feeling.

Fighting Back – A Few Tips on How to Get Energy

Feeling tired does not have to be a way of life.  As you become more aware of the signs and symptoms of what the causes of fatigue are, it may help you not only prepare for it, but also take the bull by the horns and do something about it.

Tiredness may just be a symptom of your lifestyle.  It may be time to simplify a bit by limiting late nights at the office or socially.

Nutrition and Vitamins Help with Energy

Some people find that a change in diet or even supplementation may help with their fatigue.  Some possible vitamins that are known to help with increased energy levels include:
  • Taking a good multivitamin to make sure you get your core vitamins and minerals 
  • Eating a healthy diet - eating 5 to 6 small meals a day increases metabolism 
  • Getting a good dose of exercise a few times a week outside or in the gym 
  • Vitamins C and B Complex, like a vit b12 energy booster, also neutralize feelings of fatigue 
Other nutrients such as magnesium, bee pollen, NADH (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), and L-Carnitine, are thought by some to fend off energy tiredness as well.  Natural energy boosters, including Gingko biloba, Maca, and especially Siberian ginseng, a potent energy booster are also thought to help when you are tired.  Always talk with your doctor or pharmacist before taking herbal energy supplements and options for chasing away that tired feeling.  It is a good idea to educate yourself before beginning or taking any new supplement.  There are sites that can help you understand what is out there:
Feeling tired all the time is no way to go about life. If you find yourself in this rut day after day, take the initiative to fight your fatigue and get yourself back to that happy, healthy state.

My tired is a happy tired from my sweet little girl and is, hopefully, short lived.  Don’t live tired!

Tell us what you do to fight that tired feeling!

Kate M. D'Imperio
Contributing Writer