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Fatigue Treatment in McKinney, TX

What Causes Fatigue, How It Impacts Your Life, and How to Treat It

EVEN THE STRONGEST HAVE THEIR MOMENTS OF FATIGUE

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Misery, Thy Name is Fatigue

More often than not fatigue is used casually to mean lethargy or a fleeting desire to rest and not wanting to work. Let us first explore what Fatigue is NOT and lay down an accurate definition of fatigue.

We often use fatigue and tired interchangeably. However, there is a big difference between them. When you are tired, a small amount of rest or an adequate sleep can reenergize you or make you feel recharged; unlike fatigue which persists even after having sufficient rest. Fatigue is pervasive and profound. It affects not just physical health but also mental health. Fatigue manifests as feeling devoid of energy and feeling depleted in mental, physical, and emotional energy.

Fatigue is not the same as weakness. Weakness is attributed to the deprivation of mental and physical strength to carry out a task. Weakness in the muscle could be as result of pain and may require an additional labor to move the limbs.

Fatigue is not a feeling of drowsiness. Drowsiness arises from the irresistible desire to sleep. However, considering profoundness of fatigue, drowsiness and apathy (an indifference towards the surroundings) can be associated with fatigue (1).

Fatigue can be a normal experience and is usually lasts only a short time if following a strenuous physical activity or distressed emotions. Fatigue is rather an important symptom and often not related to any fatal disease. However, occasionally, it can be associated with a serious disease and needs a thorough evaluation and assessment by a health practitioner. It needs to be brought to the attention of your health care provider when fatigue is prolonged and does not seem to cease following an adequate rest, sleep, elimination of stress, and optimum nutrition.

An exhausted woman leaning back on a chair with her eyes closed and her hand on her forehead

Fatigue manifests as a lack of energy and deprivation of motivation to do physical or mental task. It is an unrelenting feeling of persistent weariness that gradually increases to the extent that it starts corroding the energy levels. It over a period of time drains out the person mentally and physically Fatigue can also be defined in terms of intensity. Everyone experiences some amount of tiredness on routine basis due to overwork. However, Fatigue varies in a way, that the causes is not that apparent and does not immediately respond to rest or sleep.  A recalcitrant fatigue needs to be sorted out with regards to the accurate cause and treated from the origin so as to complete sustainable health.

Fatigue is quite routinely seen in practice. The statistics at the National Institute of Health in America, quote that there is prevalence of severe fatigue in about 20% of Americans significant enough to hamper their day to day activities (2). The physical causes of fatigue summarise about 20% to 60% of fatigue cases whereas in 40% to 80% of cases mental or emotional causes contribute to the development of fatigue.  Fatigue can also be brought on by extreme physical or mental activity or both in normal individuals (2).

“I think good physical conditioning is essential to any occupation.
A man who is physically fit performs better at any job. FATIGUE makes cowards of us all. “

-Vince Lombardi

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Causes of Fatigue and It's Manifestations

Our mental and physical health rests on the indispensable tripod comprising of – the adrenal / hormonal / endocrine system, the gastrointestinal or digestive system, and the detoxification (liver, kidney, cells, etc.) and metabolic system. A derangement in any of the above system results in fatigue, which is manifested as a multitude of symptoms. It is crucial that the cause of fatigue should be thoroughly explored and investigated before commencing any line of treatment. It needs to be understood that the presence of fatigue is just the tip of the iceberg, and one needs to identify the cause before dealing with any medicine. Fatigue is the most common symptom of majority of chronic diseases.

Fatigue is not a disease by itself, but rather a symptom of the disease. Oftenm fatigue is attributed to be a result of an illness, medicine, or medical treatment such as chemotherapy. It is claimed that fatigue is also associated with anxiety or depression (3). The most common causes of fatigue considered by the conventional line of treatment are: thyroid disorder, diabetes, cardiac disease, malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies, stress, over working, sleep disorders leading to inadequate sleep, chronic infections, and anemia. Healing based on these diagnoses address the superficial concerns only, leading to a short-term cure or the disease attacking some other vital organ. However, along with the above, the most basic and common mechanism of fatigue lies in the following:

  • Dysfunction of the endocrine in the form of adrenal fatigue, hormonal imbalance, pain, autoimmune disease and inflammation,
  • Liver or hepatic in the form of defective detoxification, and
  • Gastrointestinal system in the form of leaky gut, food allergies, maldigestion, and malabsorption

To do deal with the above adequately, no medicinal drugs are required.

ADRENAL FATIGUE: Human survival is based on the fact that it is efficient in dealing with stress, physical or emotional. Our body is well equipped with stress modulation systems that are skilled in tackling stress and is controlled by the adrenal glands. The body becomes incapable of handling stress and suffers from frequent infections when the adrenal glands become dysfunctional. Adrenal insufficiency, also conferred as adrenal fatigue, occurs when the adrenal glands bear the brunt of excessive demands placed on it and is unable to cope up with it. These demands can be in the form of erratic working hours, lack of regular physical activity, poor eating habits, inadequate rest, or adapting unhealthy vices in the form of substance abuse. Adrenal insufficiency can arise from internal factors like improper digestion or faulty process of detoxification.

The Sub-optimal functioning of the adrenal gland leads to depletion of energy levels, increased desire to eat sweets, decline in immune function, anxiety and nervousness, aches and pains in the body, a decline in mental function and libido, hypoglycaemia, deranged sleeping patterns, and inability to lose weight.

Adrenal glands secrete the most vital steroid hormones, cortisol and DHEA. They work in perfect harmony and affect the energy levels, maintain the levels of sex hormones and blood sugar levels, and boost the immune function. Any alteration in these levels causes severe morning fatigue that improves by evening and fails to get relieved by rest (4).

DIGESTIVE OR GASTROINTESTINAL MALFUNCTION: As quoted by Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, “All disease begins in the gut.” This holds true in today’s world where a huge amount of research has proved that the gut dysfunction, modern diets and erratic lifestyle, and immunity impact our well-being through the defective digestive system. The modern lifestyle is at the mercy of insatiable competition leading to chronic stress, erratic schedule leading to poor diet choices, toxic overload and bacterial imbalance all of which contribute towards a negative entity called the leaky gut. It is no wonder that the concept of leaky gut is widely discussed as the cause of various cancers and autoimmune diseases. Leaky gut gives rise to increased permeability of the intestinal wall that allows various toxins and bacteria to enter the circulation and spread to the rest of the body. Due to the toxins that enter the circulation cause various food allergies or sensitivities. Leaky gut is also responsible for various autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis ;(symptoms consists of fatigue, depression, nervousness, increased weight), nutritional deficiencies like Vitamin B12, depression, and inflammatory disorders.

The destruction of the normal gut flora by irrational use of antibiotics leads to bacterial imbalance. The microbiome, or the beneficial bacteria that are the natural inhabitants of the gut, form the second immune system and, when deranged, leads to many infections. It is documented that 70% of the immune system exists in the gut.

H.pylori, a bacteria responsible for about 80% of gastric and duodenal ulcers, has been recognized as a carcinogen that if left untreated can progress to stomach cancer. It is also the prime cause of Barrett’s esophagus and autoimmunity. H.pylori is easily ingested through food that is contaminated and almost two thirds of Americans harbor it due to faulty and unhealthy eating habits. H. Pylori can also lead to autoimmune diseases in tissues other than the stomach, such as Type 1 diabetes and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in individuals who are genetically vulnerable.

THE LIVER — THE MYSTICAL DETOXIFYING ORGAN: A quote by the eastern medicine system says, “One should love with the liver, not with the heart.” The liver is credited as one the most indispensable, precious organs that carries about 500 functions, including detoxification, digestion, elimination of various hormones and metabolites, storing glucose and iron, producing proteins and various clotting factors, and many more. It is crucial to take care of the liver, even though it has an enormous ability to regenerate, as a dysfunctional liver can lead to a variety of diseases. Because of various chemicals, toxins, and hormones, the liver bears the brunt and is vulnerable.

The detoxification circuit dysfunction leads to brain fog, constipation, electrolyte imbalances, various aches and pains, fatigue, and the acceleration of autoimmune disorders and food idiosyncrasies.

“Fatigue is the common enemy of us all – so slow down, rest up, replenish and refill.“

-Jeffrey R. Holland

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Taking Care of Fatigue

It is a sad tale of this era when there is an abundance of scientific research available and still many are suffering from chronic diseases like adrenal fatigue, which currently is outside the arena of treatment with conventional medicine.

The effective and accurate healing consists of eradicating the disease or the disorder from its roots and not just eliminating symptoms. Functional medicine aims at identifying the origin of the disease and curing it from its roots and not just treating the symptoms. Functional medicine physicians do not cling on to the common diagnoses recognized by the conventional medicines, but go further in-depth to locate the cause of the dysfunction and physiological imbalance. They seek scientific evidence by conducting numerous tests: Complete Metabolic Blood Test, Adrenal Salivary Index, Hormonal Assays, Stool Testing, Urinalysis, Leaky Gut Testing, Heavy Metal Testing, and Food Sensitivity Testing.

A certified functional medicine practitioner is one that evaluates the patient as a whole and is becoming the most preferred health care provider of the 21st century. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that it considers the human body as an integrated system where there is a harmonious blend of different systems like the endocrine, digestive, and the hepatic (liver) that synchronize with various other systems and organs of the body. It is a patient-centered approach which deals with aligning the dysfunctional system so as to achieve complete health. Unlike western medicine, a certified functional medicine practitioner does not focus only on the symptoms, but also studies in-depth the underlying causes, including external (environmental) and internal (lifestyle) factors. The lasting benefit is attained when the treatment that addresses the right cause is applied. A certified functional medicine practitioner focuses not just on the deranged organ but establishes a connection between the triggers, the mediators, and the core systems which are causing the symptoms experienced by the patient.

When the whole body is evaluated and brought back to a normal functioning state, it offers a safe and effective relief of symptoms. It should be noted that it is not the goal of a functional medicine provider to treat actual diseases, but rather find an underlying cause that brings the body back into homeostasis. The homeostasis then allows the body to heal itself. Thus, adrenal fatigue, arthritis, asthma, allergies, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, anxiety, ADD/Hyperactivity, eating disorders, weight gain, gastrointestinal disorders, hormone imbalances, and many more issues resolve subsequently on their own.

The digestive system in its healthy state is responsible for the optimum functioning of our body. It aids in digestion, absorption of various nutritional substances, and eliminates various toxins and unhealthy detrimental bacteria. So, it is imperative to take care of the digestive system. It begins with noting down the imbalance in the diet, deriving a link between the symptoms and conducting tests to confirm the etiopathology (cause). The modern American diet is full of toxins in the form of predominant carbohydrate diets, inflammatory fats, preservatives-rich chemically-enhanced flavored foods, processed foods, etc. This is the prime cause of the leaky gut that gives rise to faulty permeability, causing unfiltered entry of large food particles, bacteria, yeast, and other pathogens as well as their toxins. These create a vast number of diseases. Hence, the central focus of a certified functional medicine practitioner is to correct the erroneous diet and adapt an anti-inflammatory diet. This also helps in correcting the dysfunction that exists in the systems, whether hormonal, digestive, metabolic, or hepatic.

In functional medicine, the metabolic processes of each individual are studied thoroughly at the cellular level, a connection is also established between the person’s genes and environment. The functional medicine system consists of a distinctive treatment that is focused on reestablishing the harmony between the biochemical pathways. The strategies adapted are correction of erroneous diet, reinforcing the role of nutritious food, detoxifying diets, stress management therapy, emphasis on optimum rest and sleep, and appropriate supplements.

Detoxification of liver is very crucial part of the treatment. The detox program consists of offloading the digestive system and the liver of the burden of toxins and detrimental food. This ascertains its optimal functioning. Reducing the amount of toxins helps boosts the immune system. Thus, detoxification helps in preventing disease at the onset. The toxins if not eliminated efficiently have the potential to adversely affect the digestive system and neuroendocrine systems, thus causing a host of more problems. Appropriate health supplements in the form of vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients enhance the detoxification process. The best foods that act as an anti-inflammatory are garlic, nuts that are rich in essential fatty acids and omega 3 fatty acids like (walnuts, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, etc), avocados, citrus fruits (like pineapples, grapefruit), cabbage, artichokes, foods rich in antioxidants (they combat negative radicals and prevent the oxidation process like green tea, spinach, and turmeric), broccoli, apples, and cauliflower. It is essential to stay away from certain foods that are considered the most inflammatory foods, including wheat, dairy, corn, and soy. It is imperative to avoid sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and other substance abuses. It serves the purpose of detoxification much better if one consumes organic and fresh food and keeps away from processed foods. To enhance the detoxification process certain supplements are incorporated. Milk thistle is used to support the liver. Dandelion root, artichoke, and beet are all additional nutrients that support detoxification. Certified functional medicine practitioners incorporate various natural agents (organic supplements, herbs, and nutraceuticals, nutritional and lifestyle changes, and spiritual / emotional counselling to suit the patient’s requirements and guide the deranged health back to a harmonious state of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

“The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.”

-Thomas Edison

REFERENCES

  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine– MedlinePlus : Fatigue Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003088.htm
  2. eMedicinehealth– Fatigue, Medical Author: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD, Retrieved from https://www.emedicinehealth.com/fatigue/article_em.htm
  3. webMD – Weakness and Fatigue – Topic Overview, Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/tc/weakness-and-fatigue-topic-overview#1
  4. Marek Doyle, 02 Jun 2009 Adrenal Fatigue, Retrieved from http://www.ptonthenet.com/articles/Adrenal-Fatigue-3216

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