Are you tired all the time?

If you are tired all the time, you’re not alone. Far from it, in fact. It’s one of the com­mon­est rea­sons peo­ple go to see their doc­tor.

Living Now - - Health & Healing - By Robert Verk­erk

Over half the peo­ple pre­sent­ing to their doc­tor as ‘ tired all the time’ can’t be di­ag­nosed with any spe­cific con­di­tion. [1] Doc­tors re­fer to it as TATT for short. In such cases, there are no signs of un­der­ly­ing dis­eases, yet the pa­tient feels most of the time like some­one’s pulled the plug out. One of the prob­lems is that doc­tors’ train­ing in­vari­ably doesn’t cater much for non-spe­cific con­di­tions like TATT. Doc­tors can of­ten suc­cess­fully di­ag­nose cer­tain un­der­ly­ing con­di­tions that might give rise to fa­tigue or malaise, such as iron de­fi­ciency anaemia, heart dis­ease, var­i­ous thy­roid dis­eases, type 2 di­a­betes, kid­ney or liver dis­ease, up­per res­pi­ra­tory tract in­fec­tions, gas­tric or duo­de­nal ul­cers, Lyme dis­ease or pneu­mo­nia. But it’s the more com­mon, non-spe­cific type of fa­tigue that plagues so many that they have more trou­ble with, and about which they aren’t nec­es­sar­ily trained to pro­vide an­swers. For ex­am­ple, test­ing for mi­to­chon­drial func­tion (e.g. ATP pro­file)[2] or of­fer­ing a pro­to­col that might kick­start im­proved mi­to­chon­dria re­serve, is rarely on their pos­si­ble things-to-do list.

When some­one suf­fers from per­sis­tent fa­tigue, many as­pects of their life suf­fer. The qual­ity of their work, the na­ture of their re­la­tion­ships or fam­ily life, their abil­ity to go out, have fun, holiday, ex­er­cise – or even party – are of­ten af­fected dra­mat­i­cally. De­pres­sion and anx­i­ety may be trig­gers for fa­tigue, or they may be causes. The bot­tom line is that all kinds of events in life – ones that any healthy per­son would find man­age­able or even en­joy­able – be­come a mat­ter of trep­i­da­tion. A doc­tor con­fronted with some­one who ex­hibits these non-spe­cific fa­tigue symp­toms, along with symp­toms of de­pres­sion or anx­i­ety, will of­ten pre­scribe SSRI drugs (an­tide­pres­sants). In the US, up to 10% of the pop­u­la­tion is tak­ing an antidepressant at any one time. [3] Things aren’t much dif­fer­ent in most other in­dus­tri­alised coun­tries.

2Fo­cus on get­ting high qual­ity sleep at night in a com­pletely dark­ened room. Any light (e.g., street light, moon­light) in your bed­room will in­ter­fere with your abil­ity to pro­duce me­la­tonin. Main­tain good ‘sleep hy­giene’ prac­tices, in­clud­ing mak­ing sure that you have no elec­tronic de­vices within five me­tres of your bed that are switched on while you sleep, and en­sure you have at least one hour be­fore bed­time that you are en­tirely screen free (also min­imise screen time gen­er­ally as far as you can).

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