Welcome to April 2012, ladies and gentlemen! This month in our office we are focusing on chronic fatigue and how to battle it for better health and more energy to embrace our true vitality.
Only 2% of the population worldwide has been diagnosed as having chronic fatigue syndrome, however 20% of people report that their fatigue is so serious it interferes with their daily life. What's most shocking? Over 80% of people cite fatigue as the most common reason they visit their doctor. This is serious business and an epidemic in our world today!!!! Fatigue can occur for a variety of reasons including exertion and overwork, high stress levels, auto immune disorders, adrenal fatigue, and even an unbalanced diet.
Do you have up and down patterns of fatigue?
Are you fatigued in the morning and unable to sleep at night?
Uncontrollable cravings for sugar, caffeine, or bread?
Find your appetite ravenous some days and others you have to remind yourself to eat?
Unusual mood swings?
Having trouble regulating your body temperature to your environment?
Having trouble concentrating or focusing on tasks?
Did you answer yes to any of these questions? Then make an appointment with your doctor today!
Here are 10 Common Causes of Fatigue:
1. Stress. If stress is long standing and doesn't give your body a chance to cope or adapt this can result in chemical and hormonal changes that can be long term.
2. Dehydration. I talked about this in last week's blog a bit more but water is VITAL to your body functions and not having enough of it can also lead to fatigue and headaches.
3. Vitamin C deficiency. This nutrient is required for growth and repair of your body and is also a powerful anti-oxidant that can prevent tissue breakdown. A deficiency can result in you feeling fatigued and sore after a simple workout.
4. Magnesium deficiency. This nutrient is responsible for all the muscle activity in your body and is essential in energy production! A deficiency can result in fatigue, muscle cramping and weakness, and even cardiac arrhythmia.
5. Under-active thyroid or adrenal gland. Your thyroid gland is responsible for setting up your body's metabolism and your adrenal gland is responsible for adapting to stress in your environment. Many people who suffer with fatigue may have a combination of dysfunction with both of these glands because they tend to work together. A dysfunctional adrenal gland can also be responsible for keeping you awake at night because it releases hormones that tend to keep us aroused and ready to battle stress.
6. Toxins. Your body (more specifically your liver) helps to filter toxins from our body on a daily basis. However if you've got a lot of toxins in your body and your liver is unable to keep up these toxins can be stored in your cells to help keep them out of the blood stream. These toxins can make you feel sluggish and have a hard time getting going throughout the day. (Toxins in fat cells can prevent them from shrinking and cause you to hit a plateau when trying to lose weight too!)
7. Nervous system dysfunction. Your nervous system is protected by your spine however when the bones of your spine aren't aligned properly after an injury or even from poor posture it can cause irritation or even compression to the nerves that exit at every level of the spine. These nerves bring communication from your brain to supply every organ, tissue, and cell in your body so if they aren't working correctly your organs and muscles may have a hard time working at their 100% optimal function. Chiropractors focus on restoring your nervous system function so that your body can carry out normal functions such as breathing, fighting off infection, and even healing.
8. No schedule. Our bodies and hormones work like clockwork to direct every function and system in our body on a normal basis. However, when we don't eat or sleep around the same time every day it can really affect our chemical and hormone balance that may have long term effects.
9. Minimal to no exercise. Exercise is important to keep your body in shape and your blood and heart pumping strong, however it also plays a vital role in the production of endorphins and neurotransmitters (brain hormones) that are responsible for chemical balance and sleep cycle regulation. Exercise also helps to reduce stress levels and boost your body's stress coping ability.
10. Electronics. Studies have shown that use of electronics less than an hour before bed can not only interfere with normal circadian rhythm (calming bedtime hormone patterns) but can prevent you from sleeping deeply to restore after the day.
So what healthy habits can you bring into your life?
1. Take some time to de-stress every day. Take a walk, meditate, or do some deep breathing to help your body relax. (I personally find cooking is a great stress reliever for me!)
2. Make sure you're getting enough water. The 8 glasses of 8 oz water per day is a great guideline but most of us need more than that especially if its hot outside or if we're active.
3. Make sure you're eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables to not only increase your nutrient intake but also to help rid your body of excess toxins.
4. Take a daily multivitamin! It's nearly impossible to get the right nutrients that our body needs from just our diet. How do you choose a multivitamin? Read how some retail vitamin are dangerous. Read here to find out what you need to know about a multivitamin. Or just ask us at your consultation. You've scheduled one now right? NO?!? What are you waiting for, its free!!
5. Go visit your chiropractor to make sure your nervous system is functioning properly.
6. Get some exercise. Start at 5 minutes a day if you need to.
7. Stick to a schedule for sleep and meals.
8. Relax a bit before bed rather than zoning out with the TV or computer. This might be a great time to do some deep breathing or meditation.