Chronic Fatigue Kirkland, WA

Man Holding HeadHave you ever had one of those days when you tossed and turned all night, getting up tired and miserable in the morning? We’ve all had those bouts of restless nights, when we’ve felt cheated out of a good night’s sleep, only to wake up cranky the next day.

For that matter, we’ve all experienced feeling overwhelmingly tired from time to time. After all, our body only has a finite amount of energy that needs replenishing at the end of the day. So when we feel stressed, tired or sick, we try to rest it out for a day or two.

Imagine, however, feeling this way all the time, waking up every day and feeling an overwhelming sense of exhaustion. Wouldn’t you wonder if something was incredibly wrong with you? Of course you would! That’s how some people with symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) feel on a daily basis.

What Is CFS?

This disorder is also referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) or systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID). It is a complex medical condition that is mainly characterized by long-term exhaustion. Currently, it has no known cure, and doctors and medical professionals focus on treating its symptoms instead.

Up to 2.5 million Americans suffer from this disorder, according to a 2015 study published by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). The condition occurs in women more often than men and mostly affects individuals from 40 to 60 years old.

Doctors have not been able to pinpoint the exact cause or causes of the syndrome because it could be different per individual. It may be brought about by anything from a genetic disorder to an infectious disease or may be biologically or psychologically linked.

Some Contributing Factors

There are several factors that may contribute to your feelings of fatigue in general. Some of these may have pretty simple fixes, while some may signify a more serious underlying condition:

  • Lack of sleep
    Not getting enough sleep is one of the major reasons most people feel tired or exhausted. According to the U.S. CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one-third of the American population is sleep-deprived. That’s roughly around 40.6 million Americans.

If you find that you often lack sleep, you may want to examine your lifestyle and find out what may be causing it, whether it is an irregular sleep schedule or stress in the workplace or at home. Your sleep deprivation might even be due to sleep apnea, a condition in which your breathing stops and starts several times in a span of an hour while asleep.

  • Not enough food or eating the wrong kinds of food
    Our body needs fuel—the right kind of fuel. Eating a lot of sugary snacks may give you sudden spurts of energy to get you through your day but may be detrimental to your health in the end.

As in all things, a balanced diet is best to keep your energy level on an even keel. Avoiding anything with caffeine a few hours before bedtime is also important. In fact, too much caffeine has been known to cause problems.

  • Anemia
    Anemia occurs when there is a lack of healthy red blood cells in your body. Because of this, your body’s organs may not get the necessary oxygen to function properly. If you are anemic, you will notice that you tire easily and more often. Your doctor may recommend iron supplements in this case.
  • Depression
    This is a serious medical or psychological condition that affects the person’s mood, interests, appetite, and sleep patterns. The symptoms may be mild or severe, causing the person to experience feelings of worthlessness or guilt.

In severe cases, it may also put the individual at risk for suicide. Persons with depression have difficulty sleeping or sleep too much, with sleep quality being poor in both cases.

  • Hypothyroidism
    When your thyroid gland (a butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of the neck) doesn’t produce enough of its hormones, it results in hypothyroidism. One of the major symptoms of this disorder is excessive fatigue. The good news is, it can be managed with the proper medication and lifestyle choices. 
  • Diabetes
    Individuals with diabetes have abnormally high blood sugar levels. But instead of this sugar being converted into energy by the body, it remains in the person’s bloodstream. The result is that even with enough fuel in the body, the person still feels tired all the time.
  • Heart Disease
    In women, heart disease may include symptoms such as nausea, shortness of breath, chest discomfort, and extreme fatigue. In order to properly diagnose heart disease, your doctor may order any of the following tests: ECG, stress test, cardiac catheterization, echocardiogram, CT scan, or MRI scan.

Treating Chronic Fatigue

Now that we’ve explored the possible reasons you may be feeling constantly exhausted, you should know that to be diagnosed with the disease, you should experience fatigue for a lengthy period of time (6 months or more). This kind of fatigue is also not alleviated by bed rest. Sounds like an absolute nightmare, doesn’t it?

There is really no one-size-fits-all way to treat the condition. As mentioned above, your doctor will try to find out if there are underlying factors that may be causing your condition and work on those. The treatment will really be focused on treating its symptoms.

For those who want to do something about their health, the Kirkland Health Institute in Washington can help you make the necessary lifestyle adjustments to treat this condition holistically. Our functional approach to medicine focuses on addressing the underlying cause of the disease. Ask us about your symptoms today!