Why am I so tired?

Written by ryan. Posted in Uncategorized


Published on November 16, 2010 with No Comments

Having your own personal energy crisis these days? If so, youíre not alone. ìFatigueî is the second most common general complaint in doctorís offices ñ second only to ìpain.î You may be feeling tired for many reasons. The following are a list of possibilities:

ïYou are not getting enough sleep: Start by ruling out the obvious ñ a lack of sleep.

ìWhile the National Sleep Foundation tells us that there is no universal magic number for sleep hours, we do know that most healthy adults are built for 16 hours of wakefulness and eight hours of sleep,î Cathy Goldschmidt, Porter Hospitalís education department manager, said. If you are consistently tired, try getting to bed earlier as a first step in boosting your energy level.

ïSleep Disorder: If you are still feeling tired, have trouble falling asleep, sleeping through the night or snore loudly, you may actually suffer from a sleep disorder. The National Institutes of Health reports 60 million Americans suffer from some sort of sleep problem, yet sleep disorders often remain undiagnosed.

In fact, nearly half the people with the deadliest sleep disorder ñ sleep apnea ñ remain undiagnosed. Porter Hospitalís Sleep Disorders Institute can help diagnose and treat sleep disorders so you can get the best from your hours of shut-eye. For more information, visit www.Sleep-Disorders-Institute.com, or call 219-764-4567.

ïHypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism ñ an underactive thyroid ñ can also cause fatigue. Up to 2 percent of the population has this condition, which is five to eight times more common in women than men. Other symptoms of hypothyroidism might include cold intolerance, weight gain or constipation, according to Mary Ann Meyer Jones of Physicians for Women.

ìHypothyroidism can be quickly diagnosed with a blood test and easily treated with daily medication,î Meyer Jones said.

ïExercise: Gain energy by using energy? That is right, according to Sue Fingerhoot, Certified Lifestyle Counselor with Porter Hospital.

ìLack of movement and exercise promotes weakness in the boy that greatly encourages fatigue,î she said. ìExercise boosts energy by making the heart stronger and more efficient, improving muscle strength and endurance, improving sleep quality, releasing feel-good chemicals such as serotonin and endorphins, and eliminating wastes that slow us down.î

Fingerhoot recommends starting slowly, but then working toward at least 30 to 45 minutes of exercise most days. She suggests walking as one of the best forms of exercise for all ages.

ìThe key is to be consistent and do something you love,î Fingerhoot said.

ïFuel Shortage: Obviously, eating too little can cause fatigue, but so can eating the wrong things and at the wrong times, according to Janet Levihn, Porter Hospitalís assistant director of food & nutrition services.

ìTo maintain energy, try starting the day with breakfast and maintaining your blood sugar with low-fat, high-fiber choices,î she said. ìAdd protein for staying power as it can raise energy levels by increasing brain chemicals called catecholamines.î

ìWhen youíre looking for an energy boost, look to foods that pack an energy punch, like oatmeal, bananas, almonds, oranges, and beans. And donít forget the water. Dehydration is also a big energy drain,î she added.

ïUndiagnosed Heart Disease: If you find yourself becoming fatigued after activity that used to be easy, it may be time to talk to your doctor about possible heart disease.

ìSerious conditions such as peripheral artery disease (PAD) or cardiomyopathy may go undetected with few symptoms ñ one being fatigue,î Mark Kime, Porter Hospitalís director of cardiology and neurology, said.

Porter Hospital offers Comprehensive Cardiac Screening to detect conditions at their earliest stages.

ìMore than half of the people we screen show some abnormalities. These may be very minor warnings that signal the need for lifestyle changes to problems that may require immediate intervention. Either way, itís better to detect heart problems early,î Kime said. Schedule your screening by calling 219-263-5483.

ïDiabetes: Fatigue can also indicate elevated blood sugar, according to Louann Katzmarek, RN, and one of Porter Hospitalís Diabetes Educators.

ìWhen we become active, we heat up our muscle tissue and it begins to look for a fuel source ñ glucose. When our blood sugar is elevated, our cells are ëlockedí and canít access glucose so we become very tired,î she explained.

Diabetics are not able to ìunlockî their cells without insulin. Katzmarek recommends you see your doctor to rule out diabetes if you are frequently tired or show other symptoms of diabetes, such as excessive thirst, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, blurred vision, irritability or skin problems.

ïAnemia: Anemia is a leading cause of fatigue, particularly in women. It occurs when the body lacks red blood cells to carry enough oxygen to tissues and organs. Anemia is easily diagnosed with a blood test.

Your doctor will prescribe treatment depending on the cause, but common iron-deficiency anemia can be remedied by making iron supplements and eating iron-rich foods, such as lean meat, liver, shellfish, beans and enriched cereal.

For more information, contact Porter Hospital at 219-263-4600, or visit www.porterhealth.com.

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