If you are sick and tired of feeling tired, you are not alone. According to a National Safety Council survey, almost half of Americans do not get enough sleep to safely perform the duties assigned to them by their employer. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), fatigue is a common occurrence in America where one in five adults say that fatigue interferes with their everyday life.
"I would say it is the number one health challenge I see in my practice, particularly in women," says Dr. Holly Phillips, a board-certified internist with a private practice in Manhattan. Phillips, author of "The Exhaustion Breakthrough," suffered from chronic fatigue for 20 debilitating years until she decided to delve into the cause of her tiredness and regain control of her health and energy.
While lifestyle factors such as not getting enough sleep, eating poorly or drinking too much alcohol, inactivity, and stress can certainly cause fatigue, Dr. Ellen Kamhi, author of "Nature's Medicine Chest," says that certain medical conditions can contribute to the problem:
- Sleep disorders. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 50 and 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders. These can range from insomnia to sleep apnea. "I recommend a product called Insomnitol that contains a wonderful blend of botanicals, nutrients, and neurotransmitters that help promote sleep by calming brain activity," she says.
- Thyroid problems. Having either an underactive or overactive thyroid can cause symptoms of fatigue. Have your levels checked.
- Diabetes. Extreme tiredness is one of the early warning symptoms of type 2 diabetes. "A physician can determine if you have the disease by performing a simple blood test," says Kamhi.
- Anemia. This blood disorder interferes with your body's ability to transport oxygen through the body, leading to fatigue. "Anemia can be caused by a number of conditions, ranging from heavy menstrual periods, vitamin deficiencies and chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or cancer," says Kamhi. Phillips says that some people find that boosting their energy is as simple as getting more iron in their diets. "Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies and a leading cause of anemia in the United States," she says. "And the most common symptom of iron deficiency is fatigue." Iron is found in animal protein and in veggies like kale, spinach, and lentils.
- Depression. Depression can trigger sleeplessness, feelings of sadness, and loss of energy. Seek medical help if you feel your tiredness may have a root cause of depression. According to ConsumerLab.com, a wide variety of natural supplements have shown benefit in reducing depressions and anxiety. Some of these include fish oil, curcumin, saffron, 5-HTP, and others. Log on to read the full reports on these products.
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. As Dr. Phillips learned firsthand, this condition is often misdiagnosed. People with CFS suffer from extreme fatigue that doesn't improve with rest, endure muscle aches, and have difficulty concentrating. It's often diagnosed only when other potential conditions have been ruled out. Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., has created a successful protocol to treat CFS called S.H.I.N.E. that can help.
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