Keep stress levels down
Most of us have had a day where we felt like we were "the walking
dead" and could barely keep our eyes open.
And when it's only "now and then" and the cause is clear-cut, a good night's rest is usually all you need to feel chipper again.
But the problem arises when the fatigue becomes constant, severe and affects your everyday functioning--otherwise known as chronic fatigue syndrome.
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complicated disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that can't be explained by any underlying medical condition. The fatigue may worsen with physical or mental activity, but doesn't improve with rest.
The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is unknown, although there are many theories — ranging from viral infections to psychological stress. Some experts believe chronic fatigue syndrome might be triggered by a combination of factors.
There's no single test to confirm a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome. You may have to undergo a variety of medical tests to rule out other health problems that have similar symptoms. Treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome focuses on symptom relief.
The symptoms may include :
In addition to fatigue, other symptoms can include:
Loss of memory or concentration
Enlarged lymph nodes in your neck or armpits
Feeling exhausted even after a full night's sleep
Extreme exhaustion lasting more than 24 hours after physical or mental exertion.
When that is your reality, it's no wonder that people with CFS also often have depression. And since the symptoms can be so debilitating, frequent absences from work or school are common, too.
So that means treatment is strictly aimed at symptomatic relief--as in antidepressants and sleeping pills.
But considering the dangers of these medications and their mile-long list of side effects, it's no wonder that many people feel even WORSE under treatment--not better!
Here are things to consider--see how many may be affecting you:
1) The health of your immune system
CFS is frequently seen along with or immediately following a viral infection. The Epstein-Barr virus and the human herpes virus 6 have been common suspects.
So it only follows that the stronger your immune system is overall, the better able it will be to fight infections and viruses of all kinds.
(2) Gluten intolerance
Gluten intolerance can wear many "hats" and one way it can manifest itself inside of you is to mimic chronic fatigue syndrome.
(3) Chronic stress
People who have chronic fatigue syndrome also sometimes experience abnormal blood levels of hormones produced in the adrenal glands.
Your adrenal hormones are your stress hormones--specifically adrenaline and cortisol. They control your "fight or flight" reactions when you experience physical or mental stress.
If your stresses are temporary and short-lived, these hormones rise and fall as needed and your body is restored to a calm state.
But the problem arises when you have chronic stress--then your adrenal hormones are in a constant state of elevation which can tax your adrenal glands and cause you to stress-eat...
Oh, and play a part in chronic fatigue syndrome too.
One of the classic symptoms of hypothyroidism (low functioning thyroid) is extreme fatigue.
(5) Vitamin B12 deficiency
Vitamin B12 is a necessary "player" in your body's ability to generate energy from the fats and carbohydrates that you ingest.
So when you are low in this nutrient, you can suffer chronic fatigue as a result.
Chronic fatigue can also be the result of these 9 commonly prescribed medications:
1- Blood pressure drugs like lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril) and furosemide (Lasix)
Blood pressure drugs can depress the entire nervous system and deplete your body of the vitamins and nutrients it needs to produce energy--which can be a major trigger of chronic fatigue.
Ah, yes, the list of health problems associated with statins continues to explode. Add to that list their tendency to inhibit muscle growth and the production of energy in your cells.
Over time this can develop into chronic fatigue.
3- Benzodiazepines (anxiety medications)
These drugs "work" by sedating or hypnotizing patients in order to treat conditions like anxiety, depression, insomnia and severe muscle spasms.
What that means is people taking them are walking around in a constant state of drowsiness which can worsen as their tolerance for the drugs increases and they have to take higher and higher doses.
Hello chronic fatigue.
4- Proton pump inhibitors like lansoprazole (Prevacid) and omeprazole (Prilosec)
PPIs can deplete magnesium stores from your body. And magnesium deficiency can lead to a whole slew of severe illnesses, including extreme weakness and fatigue.
5- Antihistamines like loratadine (Claritin) and cetirizine (Zyrtec)
These histamine blockers often induce tiredness and drowsiness in people taking them, which over time can worsen and develop into chronic fatigue.
6- Antipsychotics like aripiprazole (Abilify) and risperidone (Risperdal)
These are the harshest of the harsh--drugs that are used to treat serious conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
In addition to being powerful depressants, they can induce extreme fatigue and overall weakness in many patients.
7- Antidepressants like fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Zoloft)
Here's a "depressing" statistic: At least 30 million Americans now take some type of antidepressant drug to manage depression, as well as to treat chronic pain and a host of other "off label" conditions.
These drugs "work" by inhibiting the normal function of your brain neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine. This can also interrupt other bodily hormone levels, which in turn can lead to chronic fatigue.
The "medical miracle's" dark side continues to darken.
In addition to obliterating your friendly gut flora (where 70% of your immune system resides), antibiotics also often cause extreme fatigue and tiredness.
These are often prescribed instead of, or in addition to, high blood pressure drugs for people with elevated blood pressure.
But in addition to drawing out excess water from the body, they also tend to draw out necessary electrolytes like sodium, potassium and chloride as well, which can lead to severe mineral deficiencies.
And it is these deficiencies that can bring about chronic fatigue, as your body struggles to produce enough energy due to a lack of proper nutrients.
Take control and stop the fatigue before it stops YOU!
If you saw yourself in any of the factors I mentioned above, then it's time to take control of what may be causing fatigue in you.
And do something about it.
Here are some very effective strategies to help fight what may be causing occasional or chronic fatigue for you:
When it comes to having a strong, resilient immune system, in addition to having a healthy diet of real foods (like vegetables, fruits and whole grains), supplementation with a quality PROBIOTIC is the way to go.
If you suspect gluten may be a challenge for you the easiest way to tell is to eliminate it from your diet. You'll see a difference soon enough.
There are numerous stress-reduction strategies out there including counseling, therapy, support groups, exercise, hobbies, sports, prayer, meditation, yoga, deep breathing, acupuncture, Ayurvedic medicine, massage. Reflexology
Don't let stress ruin your health for one more minute--take the measures you need to chill out ASAP.
Get tested for thyroid problems
When assessing someone for thyroid problems, doctors will typically do just a blood test
Boost your B12
Vitamin B12 a very common deficiency--especially with vegetarians, people who use antacids, people who have had gastric surgery and the elderly.
Your doctor can do a simple test to see if you're low in B12. If you are and changes to your diet aren't enough, you may need shots from the Doctor.
Chronic fatigue continues to be a health nightmare and remains very much a mystery.
But once you look at what may be causing or contributing to any level of fatigue in YOU, then you can make a tremendous difference in how you feel...fast!
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a stressful disease. It is important to get emotional support as well as treatment for your symptoms. Studies show that psychological support, including cognitive behavioral therapy, can help treat symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Although there is no cure, symptoms can be treated with medications such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs. Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs help relieve muscle and joint aches. Support groups and stress management techniques can help you cope with the disease.
Nutrition and Supplements
Avoid refined foods, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and saturated fats. Eat more fresh vegetables, legumes, whole grains, protein, and essential fatty acids found in nuts, seeds, and cold water fish.
supplements may help reduce symptoms of CFS.
Ask your doctor before taking a supplement and work with someone knowledgeable in complementary and alternative medicine therapies.Lifestyle
What happens when any form of Stress impacts your life?
Stage 1: Alarm Reaction known as 'fight or flight'. In this stage your body is geared to ward off the impacting stress which could be anything or anyone, including our loved ones, any pressures for our time, money or love and challenges to our identity in any way.
In this stage, the body is alarmed by the stressors and mounts an aggressive anti-stress response to reduce stress levels. Some doctors call this the Early Fatigue stage.
Stage 2: Resistance Response. This is where the stress goes for some days, weeks, even months. In this hyper vigilant state, the body is resisting the ongoing stress but at the expense of the adrenal glands over-pumping the stress hormones.
Stage 3: Exhaustion. When the resistance stage goes on for longer than the body can physically cope with, exhaustion sets in after one or two years. In this stage, people normally start to experience Fibromyalgia, aches/pains, back-ache, muscle tension, severely suppressed immune system and muscle weakness. Many experience sluggishness and weight gain.
Stage 4: Failure. After a couple of years of over-pumping stress hormones daily, eventually, the adrenal glands become totally exhausted. People at this stage have a high chance of cardiovascular collapse, nervous breakdown, and according to Dr. Selye -- total collapse, even death.
To understand how and why Chronic Fatigue happens to us, we need a basic understanding of the functions of the adrenal glands. These are walnut-sized glands located on top of each kidney. Their purpose is to help the body deal with stress and help us to survive.
Adrenals are important control centers for many of the body's hormones. The outer layer of the gland, called the adrenal cortex, produces hormones including cortisol, DHEA, estrogen and testosterone. The centers of the glands produce adrenaline, the hormone named after them.
The basic task of your adrenal glands is to rush all your body's resources into "fight or flight" mode by increasing production of adrenaline and other hormones. When healthy, your adrenals can instantly increase your heart rate and blood pressure, release your energy stores for immediate use, slow your digestion and other secondary functions, and sharpen your senses.
When you are stressed, your adrenal glands produce cortisol in excess. Cortisol is also known as the death hormone, because it is highly toxic and catabolizes (literally tears down) muscle mass for energy, your organs, diminishes your strength and your speed of recovery and makes people unable to cope with daily life. Adrenal FATIGUE also known as Chronic Fatigue occurs when the amount of stress exceeds the capacity of the body to recover from the stressful challenges.
And that list of stressful challenges is endless, including:
* lack of sleep
* a demanding boss
* the threat of losing your job
* financial pressures
* personality conflicts
* yo-yo dieting
* relationship turmoil
* death or illness of a loved one
* skipping meals
* reliance on stimulants like caffeine and starchy carbs
* digestive problems
* illness or infection
* unresolved emotional issues from our past or present
The result is adrenal glands that are constantly on high alert.
These are common symptoms that are directly related to stress
* Weight gain around the waist and inability to lose it.
* Regular bouts of colds/flu and other respiratory ailments.
* Reduced sex drive.
* Poor memory
* Lack of energy in the mornings and also in the afternoon between 3 to 5 pm.
* Need coffee or stimulants to get going in the morning.
* Pain in the upper back or neck with no apparent reasons
* Mild depression
* Food allergies
* Increased effort to perform daily tasks
* Dry and thin skin
* Hypoglycemia – low blood sugar
* Unexplained hair loss
Every challenge to the mind and body creates a demand on the adrenal glands by secreting stress hormones, one of which is cortisol and when the levels are in excess it literally destroys the body.
he destructive effect of high cortisol levels
In its normal function, cortisol helps us meet the stressful challenges, by converting proteins into energy, releasing glycogen and counteracting inflammation. For a short time, that's okay. But at sustained high levels, cortisol gradually tears your body down.
Stress, as noted earlier, raises your cortisol levels and this affects not only your body, but also your whole brain function by reducing your ability to focus/concentrate and remember things, making you somewhat incoherent. If this is not bad enough, cortisol then diminishes your immune system, making you unable to 'turn up' for your life.
In summary, our ability to handle stress, physical or emotional, is a cornerstone to our human survival. Our adrenal glands are equipped to ward off and modulate all stress. When these glands become dysfunctional and/or exhausted, our body's ability to handle stress reduces, and multiple symptoms will arise.
Even though it is always the adrenals that need special attention in the initial recovery process of Chronic Fatigue, for complete recovery it is necessary to identify the emotional or mental stress, acknowledging the impact it has on the mind/body. Balancing the stress allows people to take responsibility for their symptoms and surrender to their own healing process.
WATCH YOUR STRESS LEVELS. It is very easy to get stressed but can be very hard to get off the merry go round.