How do I overcome Fatigue?
One million Americans are known to suffer from chronic fatigue. Unfortunately a large percentage of population with chronic fatigue is undiagnosed. Some of them are misdiagnosed as having thyroid disease and are started on thyroid hormones without any success. Others are treated for depression and anxiety without an understanding for the cause of the underlying problem. Patients are advised to exercise to feel better when they have little energy to work out.
Most of these patients have symptoms other than fatigue. They also have other diagnosis such as obesity, autoimmune diseases, high blood pressure that have a direct connection with the fatigue. The first step is to be able to connect all the symptoms including fatigue, abnormal labs and all diseases that an individual has been diagnosed with. This provides a bigger picture which will help classify the root cause of this specific individual.
Individuals with chronic fatigue can be classified into 6 categories depending on the cause of the fatigue
1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome Associated Fatigue
Digestive Imbalances such as constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, belching, intestinal pain are symptoms indicate that the fatigue could be from underlying bad bacteria, parasites, fungus, leaky gut or inability to absorb nutrients from the gut.
These patients need extensive gut evaluation and treatment of underlying causes. Below is a functional protocol to address gut issues.
2. Metabolic Fatigue
Individuals with chronic fatigue who have blood sugar or insulin related imbalances have metabolic fatigue. These individuals are also overweight or obese and suffer from Diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, kidney disease, swelling of legs, and fatty liver disease.
These individuals need a metabolic assessment to assess the severity of problem and then need treatment accordingly.
3. Infectious Fatigue
Individuals with infectious fatigue have an underlying chronic infection such as Lyme’s disease, reactivation of Mononucleosis, gum or tooth infections etc. The fatigue often comes and goes. They may also have fever, sore throat, joint pains, painful glands and lethargy.
These individuals need to be evaluated for the type of infection and then be treated accordingly.
4. Toxic Fatigue
These individuals have been exposed to either drugs, metallic toxins or organic pollutants which are now present in different organs and making it difficult for the body to perform its functions. These individuals will have fatigue all the time and symptoms are often difficult to explain. The symptoms are often neurological such as numbness, tingling, abnormal sensations etc.
Assessment of toxins and detoxification is key to addressing this type of fatigue
5. Hormonal Fatigue
These individuals have abnormal functioning of their hormones such as Adrenal gland (Cortisol and DHEA), Thyroid (T4 and T3), Estrogen and Progesterone imbalance, growth hormone or testosterone deficiency. Since all hormones work with each other very closely hence, abnormality of one can affect all others. Hormones can be affected by nutritional deficiencies, infections and presence of toxins.
Assessment of hormonal function as well as assessment of the causes of hormonal imbalance can help with identifying the root cause and reversing it to balance the hormones. Below is a blog on an approach to balancing thyroid gland
6. Inflammatory Fatigue
Individuals with inflammatory fatigue have lots of aches, and pains in muscles and joints. They also have positive ANA, and often have an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroid disease, Rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory Bowel Disease. These individuals have high markers of inflammation and often the inflammation is not limited to a single cause but a combination of multiple causes such as Digestive and Metabolic or Metabolic and Toxic.
A Functional Approach to Fatigue
A functional approach to fatigue considers all the symptpms and diagnosis to identify the possible causes followed by an assessment to confirm the root cause. Then the root cause needs to be addressed by personalizing meal plans, mind-body techniques, addition of nutrients, botanicals and other non-invasive natural and healing strategies.