Fatigue: Why You Shouldn’t Dismiss It

Do you feel tired all the time? Do you always feel like you’ve worked a whole day when you’ve just exerted yourself for a few hours? Is this exhaustion unrelieved by rest? Perhaps you’ve been dismissing this as having a lazy day, an afternoon slump, or that you’ve just been lacking rest or sleep lately. Maybe so. But beware, you may be having Chronic Fatigue.

Chronic fatigue is characterized by an incessant feeling of being tired physically and mentally that persists for more than six months. It shouldn’t be taken for granted as it can be a symptom of several health conditions that needs immediate medical attention. So if you’ve been suffering from it, observe your body closely. It might be telling you that have any of these:

1. An inflamed thyroid gland. According to studies, out of eight adults may suffer from thyroiditis, an inflammation of the thyroid gland. The thyroid is one of the largest endocrine glands and is found in your neck just below your Adam’s Apple. Hormones produced by the thyroid help the body make energy, among other functions. But if the thyroid is inflamed, it cannot secrete enough hormones to do this. Hence, you lack energy and get exhausted easily.

2. A low blood sugar. Also called Hypoglycemia, this is one of the leading causes of chronic fatigue. Blood sugar or blood glucose is the body’s fuel. It is burned inside your cells to produce energy. Thus, inadequate blood sugar results to low energy. Hypoglycemia occurs for many reasons such as a missed meal, alcohol use, or a more severe condition such as Diabetes. It usually happens in the late mornings and afternoon since blood sugar drops a few hours after a meal.

3. A decreased carbon dioxide in the blood. Hyperventilation or overbreathing may cause you to expel more carbon dioxide than necessary. This happens when you breathe too fast such as when you’re worried, anxious, or nervous. A low amount of carbon dioxide in the blood constricts your arteries reducing blood flow to the different parts of your body. Since blood carries the red blood cells that provide oxygen to your body cells, decreased blood flow then means less oxygen supply to your body parts. Oxygen is needed in producing energy. Therefore, limited amounts of it leads to less energy.

4. A heart problem. If you have a heart disorder such as enlarged ventricles, blocked cardiac arteries, or congenital heart abnormalities, among others, your heart’s ability to pump blood to the various parts of the body is impaired. This results to reduced blood supply to your body organs. As previously explained, this also causes a decrease in the amount of oxygen available for the body to use in generating energy. Lessened blood flow to your muscle tissues, in particular, causes easy fatigability as well as weakness after a physical activity, regardless of the intensity.

5. An attack of the blues. Fatigue and depression are strongly linked. In fact, in the absence of any physical problems, depression is most often the culprit for your frequent feeling of tiredness. If you feel down, you won’t have the zest to do anything. Any work, however easy, will exhaust you. Some experts even say that in a healthy person, it’s the other way around: prolonged fatigue leads to depression. Individuals who are easily tired and remain so for a long time are frustrated by their condition that they become depressed.

6. A virus. There are some viruses that cause chronic fatigue. An example is the Epstein – Barr virus (EBV) which is the pathogen behind Infectious Mononucleosis or “Kissing Disease”. In 2008, another kind of herpes virus linked to fatigue was found by Dr. Kazuhiro Kondo in Tokyo. Called herpes human virus-6 (HHV6), it was identified in people suffering from chronic fatigue. Another virus related to unexplained tiredness is Hepatitis A virus.

These are just few of the possible medical reasons why you often feel tired. You can know the specific cause of your fatigue by vigilantly monitoring if you have other accompanying symptoms, examining your lifestyle, and of course asking your doctor’s help.

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