FA­TIGUED?

MAYBE IT’S JUST LOW BLOOD PRES­SURE!

Alternative Medicine - - News - BY DOROTHY ADAMIAK, ND

Us­ing her own life ex­pe­ri­ence, Dorothy Adamiak, ND, dis­cov­ers the un­likely cul­prit be­hind her own chronic fa­tigue.

I used to have chronic fa­tigue. Morn­ings were a drag. I was get­ting up half asleep, and af­ter walk­ing around like a zom­bie for a few hours, I’d be back in bed be­fore sun­set. My life was pretty much di­vided be­tween un­pro­duc­tive work and in­sa­tiable sleep.

Ihated win­ter. Jan­uary chilled me to the bone and I could never warm up. Germs must have liked me be­cause I was hit with colds and sore throats reg­u­larly. It seemed I could never emerge vic­to­ri­ous from bat­tle with a virus. I felt I was de­fense­less. Did I even have an im­mune sys­tem? Judg­ing by the amount of an­tibi­otics I was de­vour­ing, thought not.

Doc­tors and pharmacists were kind to me. I was their reg­u­lar, a good cus­tomer, and a non-com­plainer. I was proac­tive, and I al­ways bought some­thing with hopes I would feel bet­ter, whether it was an an­tibi­otic, en­ergy booster, or mir­a­cle herbal tonic.

My blood work was nor­mal. There was no sign of ane­mia, thy­roid dis­or­der, or any other en­er­gydrain­ing pathol­ogy. I was pro­nounced healthy. It was com­fort­ing to know that my health was not in dan­ger, but the di­ag­no­sis of “healthy” did noth­ing to im­prove my sleep­ing hours or re­duce an­tibi­otic doses. Then my doc­tor sug­gested an­tide­pres­sants— maybe they would help?

Did I just hear my doc­tor call me over-sen­si­tive, emo­tion­ally vul­ner­a­ble, and men­tally un­well? I never thought any­body would call me hys­ter­i­cal, thus I re­fused to be di­ag­nosed as such. This was ex­actly the mo­ment I de­cided to take mat­ters into

my own hands. I was go­ing to doc­tor my own body from now on. No, se­ri­ously. That was the plan.

It took many years, but even­tu­ally I hung my doc­tor di­ploma up on the wall. The jour­ney was long, but it was worth ev­ery ef­fort and opened my eyes. Not only did I dis­cover the causes be­hind my own chronic fa­tigue, I also re­al­ized that the ma­jor­ity of “heathy” peo­ple I knew did not re­ally feel that well at all.

We live in a tired so­ci­ety. Ev­ery year, there are 2.5 mil­lion Google searches for “fa­tigue” and half of a mil­lion for “chronic fa­tigue.” We are ex­hausted. Un­for­tu­nately, be­sides Red Bull, su­per­caf­feinated java in the morn­ing, and a cream cake in the af­ter­noon, there don’t seem to be many real so­lu­tions. Even top-notch doc­tors have empty shelves in the en­ergy-boost­ing de­part­ment. Is there any hope left?

While search­ing for the cause of my own chronic fa­tigue, I have done many ex­per­i­ments and made many ob­ser­va­tions on my­self and on my per­se­ver­ing pa­tients. Fol­low­ing my ed­u­cated ex­pec­ta­tions, fa­tigue cor­re­lated with spe­cific nu­tri­tional de­fi­cien­cies, al­co­hol abuse, stress, ex­er­cise habits, as well as gen­eral health. But there were a few dis­cov­er­ies that sur­prised me. The big­gest one was a strong re­la­tion­ship be­tween blood pres­sure and en­ergy lev­els.

There is very lit­tle talk about low blood pres­sure as a cause for fa­tigue, yet it is not hard to see why this cor­re­la­tion ex­ists. The heart pumps blood. Blood car­ries red blood cells which, in turn, carry oxy­gen. Once de­liv­ered to cells, oxy­gen is con­verted to en­ergy—an ex­cel­lent fa­tigue an­ti­dote. The harder the heart pumps, the faster the red blood cells cir­cu­late, and be­cause of that, more oxy­gen is de­liv­ered and more en­ergy is pro­duced. This is why vig­or­ous ex­er­cise is al­ways ac­com­pa­nied by faster heart beats. The heart sim­ply speeds up to ac­com­mo­date ex­tra en­ergy needs dur­ing ex­er­tion.

The op­po­site is true as well. Lower blood pres­sure de­liv­ers less oxy­gen, and the body pro­duces less en­ergy. This has no con­se­quences when blood pres­sure matches the oxy­gen re­quire­ments, but ex­pect a cascade of neg­a­tive ef­fects when the heart lags be­hind its vi­tal work­load.

An un­der-oxy­genated body will try to self-rem­edy the bad sit­u­a­tion. Yawn­ing is a good ex­am­ple. Yawn­ing forces more air into lungs. This is an au­to­matic safety valve in case the body falls into a low oxy­gen zone. But not ev­ery­one has a yawn­ing fa­tigue. Many feel tired, yet are far from fall­ing asleep. If you are one of those, don’t wait for yawn­ing. It may never come. Look for other signs of slug­gish cir­cu­la­tion. Low blood pres­sure is a chameleon. It can dis­guise it­self as a mul­ti­tude of dif­fer­ent symp­toms like: • Ap­par­ent dull­ness: slow think­ing, dif­fi­culty in un­der­stand­ing read­ing ma­te­rial, lack of com­pre­hen­sion • Un­steadi­ness: men­tal haze, woozi­ness,

light-head­ed­ness • Anx­i­ety: lack of zest for life, fear­ful­ness, lack of con­fi­dence, lack of mo­ti­va­tion • Phys­i­cal weak­ness: fa­tigue, dis­like

for ex­er­tion, ap­par­ent lazi­ness • De­pres­sion: hope­less­ness, loss of

in­ter­est, changes in ap­petite • Fre­quent headaches: dull press­ing

headaches, not the throb­bing va­ri­ety • Weird sen­sa­tions in the head: ear

pres­sure and full­ness, hum­ming in ears • Poor cir­cu­la­tion: cold hands and feet,

sen­si­tiv­ity to cold, fun­gal in­fec­tion • Aes­thetic dif­fi­cul­ties: poor hair qual­ity,

hair loss, hair dull­ness, frag­ile nails

How did you score on the self-as­sess­ment? Did you find at least a par­tial sem­blance of your symp­toms there? If yes, chances are you have low blood pres­sure, even if your doc­tor is telling you oth­er­wise. With health prac­ti­tion­ers look­ing out for high rather than low num­bers, hy­poten­sion is fre­quently over­looked. Low num­bers are not life threat­en­ing, so they are usu­ally not men­tioned to a pa­tient as a con­cern. Af­ter all, no­body dies of low blood pres­sure, just high blood pres­sure. Fa­tigue does not kill, just makes you sleep more and live less.

My low blood pres­sure num­bers weren’t dis­cov­ered by my fam­ily doc­tor ei­ther. All I heard was “your blood pres­sure is good,” so I trusted his words. But the re­al­ity was dif­fer­ent. My blood pres­sure num­bers were low-nor­mal at

his of­fice, but low-low at home. I re­al­ized that only af­ter I bought my own blood pres­sure mon­i­tor and started check­ing my­self. My find­ings were sur­pris­ing.

From then on, I made sug­ges­tions to all my pa­tients: Al­ways ask for test re­sults ex­pressed in num­bers, not in opinions. Bet­ter yet, get your own blood pres­sure cuff and check at dif­fer­ent times to dis­cover your own blood pres­sure pat­tern. Yes, blood pres­sure pat­tern, be­cause de­spite pop­u­lar be­lief, good blood pres­sure is never 120/80 mmHg, but swings from hy­per­ten­sive to hy­poten­sive zones when life de­mands it. Healthy blood pres­sure varies and test­ing it once at the doc­tor’s of­fice is in­suf­fi­cient.

There is no need for des­per­a­tion. Your stan­dard blood pres­sure mon­i­tor will be able to as­sist. Just a few ran­dom checks and you will be amazed that your blood pres­sure has a life of its own. Don’t be sur­prised if the num­bers go through waves of gen­tle highs and lows, only to sud­denly shock you with un­ex­pected spikes and dips. Fluc­tu­a­tions are to be ex­pected, but your job is to watch out for fre­quently re­peat­ing low num­bers as they are tied to lower en­ergy.

Dis­cov­er­ing rea­sons be­hind fa­tigue does not have to be a daunt­ing task. Slug­gish cir­cu­la­tion can be mea­sured. Go ahead, play with a blood pres­sure cuff and dis­cover your num­bers for your­self.

Blood pres­sure be­hav­ior is not a ran­dom phe­nom­e­non, but an ex­tremely valu­able health marker. Blood pres­sure pat­terns can re­veal many un­der­ly­ing causes of fa­tigue in­clud­ing adrenal ex­haus­tion, food sen­si­tiv­i­ties, ane­mia, ner­vous sys­tem fail­ure, POTS, hy­po­glycemia, or hard­en­ing of ar­ter­ies. You just need to know the pat­terns to look for.

ALL I HEARD WAS “YOUR BLOOD PRES­SURE IS GOOD,” SO I TRUSTED HIS WORDS. BUT THE RE­AL­ITY WAS DIF­FER­ENT.

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