Fatigue is a common complaint for most of us from time to time, especially during periods of acute stress or strenuous activity. But fatigue can also be chronic, affecting your routine on a daily or near-daily basis.
Unlike acute fatigue that’s often linked with sleep disturbances or physical exertion, chronic fatigue is often associated with underlying physical or emotional issues. Getting to the root cause of fatigue is the first step toward finding a solution.
As a leading integrative and functional medicine specialist, Rina Kapoor, MD, ABOIM, helps women and men at ARA Integrative and Functional Medicine identify the cause of persistent fatigue, offering patient-centered solutions to help them feel more energized and healthier. In this post, learn the many reasons behind chronic fatigue and how Dr. Kapoor can help.
Why fatigue happens
Fatigue isn’t just about feeling tired. It can take a toll on your quality of life, making it difficult to work, go to school, care for loved ones, and care for yourself. What’s more, fatigue can increase your risk of accidents at work, at home, and on the road, too. In fact, data show driving while drowsy can be just as dangerous as driving when drunk.
Determining the cause of underlying fatigue isn’t always easy, partly because so many issues can be to blame.
Chronic stress from issues at work, at school, at home, or in other areas of your life can interfere with sleep patterns, making it hard to get the restorative sleep your body and brain need to function. When stress interferes with our sleep on a regular basis, it can also affect levels of hormones that help us sleep and maintain our energy level. Plus, stress can exacerbate other medical conditions that can lead to fatigue.
Underlying physical problems
Many people have diagnosed and undiagnosed medical issues that take a toll on sleep or cause symptoms of fatigue despite getting a good night’s sleep. The list of medical problems contributing to fatigue is long, and includes issues like:
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Food sensitivities
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Digestive disorders
- Conditions involving your metabolism
- Breathing problems
Even medications can contribute to fatigue. Allergy medicines, blood pressure medicines, and medicines for depression and anxiety can all lead to fatigue, especially if your dose isn’t optimized for your specific needs. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy can also cause persistent feelings of fatigue.
Since our bodies rely on food for energy, it’s no surprise that our diets can have a major influence over feelings of fatigue. Nutritional deficiencies are surprisingly common among Americans who tend to fill up on “empty” calories instead of nutrient-dense foods. Low levels of key vitamins and minerals can dramatically affect our energy levels, leaving us feeling constantly tired out.
Mental health issues
While most people appreciate the link between chronic stress and low energy levels, other mental and emotional issues can have an effect, too. For instance, depression and anxiety disorders affect millions of Americans, and these problems can quickly lead to persistent fatigue.
Often, the cause of fatigue doesn’t become apparent until medical testing reveals the source.
Treatment begins with a comprehensive evaluation of your symptoms, your lifestyle, your medical history, and your environment, along with a thorough physical exam. Often, Dr. Kapoor prescribes lab testing, like blood work or urinalysis, or she may recommend allergy testing, nutritional studies, or genetic studies, based on your individual risk factors.
Next, she works with you to tailor an individual treatment plan that may include:
- Managed weight loss
- Nutritional support
- Hormone therapy
- Dietary changes
- Stress management activities
- Increased physical activity
As an integrative and functional medicine specialist, Dr. Kapoor is skilled in both conventional and alternative therapies, enabling her to combine treatments for maximum benefits.
Find relief for your fatigue symptoms
Chronic fatigue is uncomfortable, but it can also take a toll on your emotional and physical well-being. To learn how Dr. Kapoor can help you find relief for your fatigue, call 610-358-3300 or book an appointment online at her Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, practice, serving women and men from Glen Mills, the Philadelphia Main Line, Delaware County, Chester County, and the surrounding greater Philadelphia area.