Why Am I Always So Tired?
If you’ve been sleeping in until the last minute before dragging yourself out of bed, you might be wondering, “Why am I always so tired?” Most of us know what it’s like to be tired, especially when we’re hit with a cold, flu, or other viral infection. But what if you’re tired for what feels like no reason? Following are a few common causes of fatigue that could help you figure out what’s going on.
by Greg Montoya
Not being active enough can make you feel worn out. Not only that, there are health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle, including increased risk of some cancers, depression or anxiety, cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, a decrease in skeletal muscle mass, elevated cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. The good news is that performing just 15-40 minutes of moderate exercise a day can fight fatigue.
When healthy food is consumed, the body has the sustenance it needs to perform at its peak. On the contrary, eating unhealthy foods cause us to feel fatigued, contributing to a loss of energy. The added carbs and sugars in junk and processed foods can cause spikes in blood sugar levels, leading to sugar crashes that trigger fatigue.
Excess weight can make normal activities extremely difficult to do, which ends of tiring you out a lot faster. Being overweight increases the risk of fatigue, for a number of reasons, including needing to carry around more weight, increased joint and muscle pain, and being more prone to conditions that commonly trigger fatigue like sleep apnea and diabetes.
Lack of Sleep
Probably the most common reason people feel tired is persistent sleep deprivation. A good night’s sleep can provide you with the energy you need to carry out day-to-day activities. Unfortunately, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep. Chronic pain is one of the leading causes of lack of sleep because sufferers wake up frequently through the night, leaving them feeling exhausted the next morning.
Aside from the causes mentioned above, fatigue can be caused by a multitude of underlying medical conditions. The following sheds light on some of the most common causes.
Even though healthy foods are supposed to provide energy, allergies (food intolerances) will do the opposite. Feeling exhausted is an early warning sign of food intolerances. If you suspect you have a food allergy, talk to your doctor about the elimination diet. This diet helps determine any food allergies you may have by cutting out certain foods that can cause a range of symptoms, including fatigue within 10-30 minutes of consuming them. In addition, you can ask your doctor about food allergy tests, or purchase a home test like ALCAT that can help identify offending foods.
This condition is a common cause of chronic fatigue, however, it can be treated. Your doctor will need to assess your symptoms in order to make a diagnosis. In addition, your physician will take a detailed history and/or testing to determine if your allergies are triggered by insects (dust mites, etc.), mold and mildew, pollens, animal dander, or something else.
The poor blood sugar control (hyperglycemia) associated with diabetes can cause fatigue and other symptoms. The incidences of type 2 diabetes are increasing in both children and adults in the United States. If you or your child are experiencing symptoms of type 2 diabetes, contact your doctor as soon as possible to be tested. Although learning you have diabetes can be distressing, it can be self-managed with guidance from your physician which will include dietary changes and exercise.
Another fairly common cause of low energy and fatigue is hypothyroidism (an underactive or slow thyroid). The thyroid helps set the metabolism rate, the rate at which the body uses energy. According to the American Thyroid Foundation, by the time roughly 17% of women reach the age of 60, they have a thyroid disorder. Unfortunately, the majority won’t know they have the condition. The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disorder that stops the gland from generating enough thyroid hormones to ensure that the body performs the way it should.
Anemia is the most prevalent blood condition in the United States, affecting over 3 million people. Anemia is a common cause of tiredness for females in their childbearing years. This is particularly true for women that have uterine polyps, uterine fibroid tumors or heavy menstrual cycles.
This condition commonly causes musculoskeletal pain and chronic fatigue, especially in women. Chronic fatigue syndrome and Fibromyalgia are viewed as separate but affiliated disorders. The two conditions share a common symptom – chronic fatigue that significantly interferes with patients’ lives.
Depressive disorders are conditions believed to be induced by neurotransmitters, abnormalities in mood-regulating chemicals in the brain. Symptoms of depression include feeling unmotivated and sluggish. People dealing with depression can also have problems with sleep (can’t fall asleep or wake up repeatedly during the night). Some sufferers also sleep too long, having trouble waking up in the morning.
If you’re constantly feeling tired, the first thing you should do is set an appointment with your doctor for a checkup (physical exam and testing). If you’ve been inactive and following poor eating habits, chances are good that getting more exercise and making healthy food choices will make noticeable changes in your energy levels.
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