Wednesday, August 21, 2013

When is Fatigue a Problem?

Today we tend to live life at a faster pace than our ancestors did. This killer pace is often accompanied by tiredness. Sometimes the fatigue lasts for more than two weeks and maybe longer.

There are many reasons for fatigue such as overwork, too many personal demands, the inability to say no, the inability to manage one's time efficiently, and the stress that accompanies all of these. However fatigue can be a symptom of a more serious health problem that requires medical attention.

Some health problems, which cause fatigue, are:
depression, diabetes, hepatitis, iron-deficiency anemia, thyroid disease and sleep deprivation.

Depression is often mis-diagnosed. Also, people often try to hide or deny depression due to shame. Depression is characterized by a feeling of hopelessness, the inability to follow your usual routine, being hyperemotional, tired upon awakening and overwhelmed by tiredness. Depression may be caused by grief, relationship problems, financial problems or many other problems. People with symptoms of depression should not hesitate to seek medical help, as there are many medications available.

Fatigue is a red flag for diabetes but is also accompanied by other symptoms such as more frequent urination, thirst and changes in vision. Physicians can detect diabetes through a blood sugar test. Glucose levels are normal between 70 and 120 mg of glucose per 100 ml of blood. Glucose levels in excess of 300 indicate extreme risk. Although fourteen million Americans have Type II diabetes, fifty percent of them are not aware of this.

Hepatitis also causes fatigue. It is accompanied by loss of appetite, aching muscles and joints, and fever. Hepatitis is often mistaken for flu and while the other symptoms disappear, the fatigue continues.

Iron-deficiency anemia patients are usually pale and often report a craving to chew on ice. Iron-deficiency anemia is easily diagnosed by a simple blood test and easily cured by ingesting daily iron supplements. Iron-deficiency anemia is far more common in women than in men due to the female menstrual cycle.

Sleep deprivation often occurs in people who work rotating shifts. Our bodies have a circadian rhythm with certain times the best for certain activities. Sleep time between 9:00 PM and 9:00 AM is most advantageous for most people. The body needs sleep and will be less efficient if denied proper sleep.

The thyroid gland regulates the body's metabolic system and muscle strength. If the thyroid produces too little hormone, a person has hypothyroidism. Too much hormone production results in hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism is the most common of the two and many people are unaware that they have it. Women, especially those over forty years of age, are much more likely to have hypothyroidism than men. A blood test which measures thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) will immediately identify thyroid problems even if no symptoms are present.

Sleep deprivation, particularly if due to rotating shifts, can often be solved by installing room darkening drapes, reducing noise factors, and arranging for at least seven hours of sleep.

The other medical problems require testing and diagnosis by a health care provider. All are curable by medication.

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