Those who suffer from chronic fatigue may appear lazy to others as they are constantly tired and low on energy. But what is chronic fatigue? How is it different from normal fatigue? What causes this condition and how can it be treated?
Chronic fatigue: Causes and Symptoms
Do you get up in the morning feeling tired? Feel weak and listless all day? These are some textbook symptoms of chronic fatigue. There are many others including:
- muscle pain
- ulcers and stomach pain
- diarrhoea / constipation
- thyroid problems
- perpetual state of boredom
These are all symptoms that characterize chronic fatigue, a condition that makes it difficult for people to even perform their basic daily activities. They wake up tired, in pain and with little or no energy.
How can chronic fatigue be treated? The first step would be to identify the source of the problem.
The causes of chronic fatigue can be:
- weak constitution
- diseases such as cancer, anaemia, celiac disease, AIDS or hyperthyroidism
- heart attack
- psychological causes such as depression, panic attacks and anxiety
Some other factors that impact chronic fatigue:
- lack of vitamins and minerals
- sleep disorders
- unbalanced life style
- gastric reflux
- alcohol and drug abuse
- eating disorders
- immune disorders
Let’s take a closer look at chronic diseases such as anaemia. I suffer from anaemia and know from my personal experience that it can leave you feeling bone tired, listless and discontented. These symptoms present themselves with conditions like thyroid and diabetes.
In the case of thyroid a hormone called thyroxine is released by the body which leaves you in a state of perpetual exhaustion, aching muscles and weight gain. Same is true for diabetes as well and dramatic fluctuations in blood sugar levels leave you feeling fatigued and uncomfortable.
Sleep disorders also have a major impact on chronic fatigue. Whether you suffer from insomnia, sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome, the afflictions are the same: you wake up tired, listless, sleepy and with little energy.
Psychological afflictions can also be pretty debilitating and anxiety, depression and panic attacks can all leave us feeling helpless, agitated and completely out of energy.
Needless to say, it is important to get medical attention and to determine the cause of chronic fatigue before you can begin a meaningful treatment.
It is no coincidence that it is said that we must eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. This is because our body needs the nutrients present in these fruit and vegetables to be healthy. So we need to ensure that our diet is healthy and varied.
A second trick is to consume foods and herbal teas that purify our body and help our excretory organs to do their jobs. So eating things like chicory, artichokes, nettle, dandelion, asparagus, pineapple, lettuce, watermelon and turmeric would really help.
Also, we need magnesium and potassium to face the day with more energy, improve muscle cramps and mood. Foods rich in these substances include – peas, almonds, nuts, bananas, avocado, pumpkin seeds, soy, beans, cocoa and brown rice.
Certain types of food we need to be avoiding include – fried foods, pre-cooked foods, glutamate, canned foods, desserts, snacks and junk food.
Chronic fatigue: natural remedies
When we start to look at remedies for this condition, the first thing that comes to mind is sleep. People who suffer from chronic fatigue need sleep hygiene, because he who sleeps poorly, wakes up tired and cranky and will certainly not have the energy to face the day.
Some tips to get a good night’s sleep:
- no TV or electronic gizmos in the room; at most you can have a radio and some books
- soft light
- no eating just before bedtime
- maintain a pleasant temperature in the bedroom
- get help from a specialist if you suffer from sleep disorders
- seek help from a psychologist (and then eventually from a psychiatrist)
- take up a sport and spend time outdoors
- take care of yourself and those you love
- find time to regenerate and recharge
- learn to say “no” when you feel like something is wrong or you are overwhelmed
Some more tips to fight chronic fatigue:
- attend relaxation groups and workshops
- maintain a healthy weight
- get a pet; cuddle him and look after him
- take up yoga and meditation
- drink a lot of water
- make a list of the good things in your life
- don’t brood over the past
- declutter your living spaces