Fatigue can be defined as the tiredness that just does not go away and does not have an obvious explanation (such as working out too much the day before, staying up late last night, etc). It is often associated with generalized weakness and what is often described as "a brain fog". The presence of true liability warrants a visit to your physician for a medical assessment to make sure it does not have a pathological cause. The five conditions discussed below are some of the most common explanations of fatigue that doctors diagnose their patients with.
1. Anemia – a condition that occurs when red blood cell concentration drops down below what is considered normal. This can be detected with quick and inexpensive blood tests that measure blood values known as hemoglobin and hematocrit (often part of a more comprehensive test called Complete Blood Count or CBC for short). There may be many different explanations to it, some are common (such as having heavy periods for a female), and some are due to rare medical conditions. In each case, raising your blood count back to normal will result in significant improvement of fatigue.
2. Hypothyroidism . – Thyroid is a small and critical gland in the middle of the neck responsible for producing thyroid hormones. Lack of adequate thyroid hormone production may cause severe fatigue. Thyroid disease is very prevalent in our population and is easily diagnosed with a blood test. Supplementing with either natural or synthetic thyroid hormone can completely reverse the symptoms.
3. Vitamin and Nutrient Deficiencies . Our bodies require innumerable amount of different chemicals to function properly and feel our best. Some shortcomings of those, such as vitamins B and D are readily detectable by a blood test, but there is still no way to detect every possible vital element that one may be short of. It is no secret that the average American diet is lacking in many essential ingredients with omega 3 fatty acids being one of the most common shortages. Although taking multivitamin supplements may appear like an easy solution, this usually does not achieve as much as one would expect. The reason is that the cells in our body do not seem to absorb and incorporate vitamins and minerals as efficiently when they come in a pill form. The scientist is still searching for answers but there appears to be something about biologically derived vitamins and elements that just makes them more acceptable with our body mechanism of nutrient uptake. In order to achieve an optimal nutrition that would combat fatigue one should follow a diet that includes yellow and green vegetables, various fruit, nuts, fish and whole grains and dairy products.
4. Low testosterone . This hormone deficiency is much more common than previously thought. Testosterone level begins to decline as men age and in some men the process occurs faster than in others. In addition, there are some young men who may have low testosterone for a number of reasons. It is important to check not just the total testosterone but the free (biologically active) testosterone as well, which may be reduced in a number of conditions. Testosterone is present in much smaller amount in women but it is still extremely important for their energy level and well being. The most common cause of low testosterone in women is oral contraceptives and menopause. Testosterone deficiency is commonly associated with decreased sexual drive.
5. Viral illness. One of the most common causes for fatigue in young people is mononucleosis caused by Epstein-Barr virus. While the illness itself may be nothing more than a few days of sore throat, the fatigue that comes after may linger for as long as six months. Also, there is a lot of scientific research going on right now into etiology of the condition Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and there are multiple virus suspects that are being evaluated.