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Fatigue

Do you need help with fatigue?

Fatigue is one of the most common complaints made to primary care doctors. Although state of the art testing and a detailed evaluation are sometimes necessary, for most people, paying attention to the basics can solve the problem.

The Basics.

Sleep. It is very important to sleep at least 8 hours a day. For those whose schedules do not allow for an early bedtime, I often suggest getting to sleep early at least two nights a week. If you are waking up tired, your body is asking for more sleep. If you are waking up exhausted and you snore, an evaluation for sleep apnea may be helpful. There are a variety of natural homeopathic and natural sleep aids that can also be perscribed. In some cases, your sleep cycle can be reset with presciption medications

Exercise. Regular exercise is key to well being. People who exercise regularly feel awful when they miss a workout. In fact regular aerobic exercise is the only intervention proven to work for chronic fatigue syndrome. In fact, on nights that you feel particularly exhausted from the days events, even though you don't want to exercise, those are exactly the nights that you need exercise the most. If you do not exercise, you go into the next day exhausted. If you force a workout, you will usually feel well the next day. For those who can not fit large workouts into their routine, at least try for five minutes of exercise before hitting the shower. Just do as many sit ups, push ups or jumping jacks as you can. The results will speak for themselves. Alternative Holistic treatment of fibromyalgia in Northern Virgnia, No Va

Nutrition. Eating properly to avoid sugar or caffiene highs or lows is important to alleviate fatigue. Eating processed, carbohydrate heavy meals and snacks, usually will make you more tired in a few hours contributing to fatigue. Caffeine has a similar effect on people who consume caffeine more than once a day. Eating multiple small unprocessed natural snacks and meals will help to keep you alert and alleviate fatigue. A detoxifcation diet can also aid your recovery. There are many kinds of detoxification diets, each with different pros and cons.

The Medical Evaluation

A physical examination is the next step. This will give your doctor a chance to talk to you and examine you to look for possible causes of fatigue. Included in most physical examinations is a detailed laboratory evaluation that will look for medical causes of fatigue such as anemia and thyroid disorders. Anemic patients are often tired, pale, and fatigue easily. Patients with an underactive thyroid can complain of dry skin, an intolerance to being cold, weight gain, hair loss, irregular periods, dizziness and fatigue. Fortunately both conditions are easily corrected. Many other potential diagnosis are also tested, from Rheumatoid arthritis, to Lyme disease to Mononucleosis.

Depression is one of the most common causes of fatigue in primary care offices. Many of the symptoms of depression are mild and nonspecific, so a conversation with your doctor is very helpful. Patient with depression are usually either in a bad situation (horrible boss) or have a chemical imbalance in their brain. They break down serotonin too quickly, so their brain serotonin levels are low. Medication which will interfere with the breakdown of serotonin, allows the brain serotonin levels to rise, and consequently the depression will lift. Interestingly the majority of my patients in whom the depression is not strictly situational, have a family history of depression. Although medication is one treatment for depression, sleeping well, eating well and exercising frequently are sometimes successful treatment strategies.

Alternative Approaches

Vitamin testing and replacement. Vitamin defeciency is an increasingly common diagnosis. As most of our food supplies are heavily processed, some of that processing compromises nutrition. For anyone who has ever grown a tomato in their backyard, the taste and texture is quite a bit different than what we can purchase at the local grocery store. Specialized testing is now available that measures the levels of vitamins in the body's cells. There are excellent reference labs that perform this detailed analysis to give a great composite picture of what is necessary to replace. Once this information is obtained, the patient can be sent to a quality vitamin supplement facility or special order custom vitamins can be made. Good results are often noted with this approach.

Advanced Immunological Testing. Many people have a reaction to particular environmental allergans. There are specialized laboratories that test for allergies with different methods that are commonly used in an Allergist's office. Indentifiying these kinds of contant irritations to your immune system is a key component for recovery of chronic Lyme, fatigue or chronic fibromyalgia.

Acupuncture and Homeopathy Allopathic physicians are trained to make a specific diagnosis and then treat it. In Eastern philosphy and treatment, the person is first treated as a whole. The holistic approach can often treat the specific problem. For instance, a child with a painful play ground head injury would not necessarily get any specific treatment for headache. First, the general body is balanced with homeopathic constitutional treatments, as well as acupunture constitutional treatment. Very often the headache will be markedly improved. Then in subsequent treatments more specific headache treatments can be employed.

Conclusion

Fatigue is usually the result of an array of variables. But a good evaluation with attention to the basics can often bring good relief to a chronic problem. The goal is to individualize treatment employing a wide array of modalities to heal your immune system. This is a powerful method to heal, and start the recovery from chronic Lyme disease, or improve the functional status of a patient with fibromyalgia and fatigue.

Copyright Tareq Abedin, MD 2010