You eat well. You exercise daily. You get enough sleep each night. So why do you feel so sluggish?
If your energy level is zapped even when you’re doing all you can to stay healthy and strong, it may be time to schedule an appointment with your doctor. An underlying medical condition may be to blame. What could be causing your lack of energy and how can you get the pep back in your step?
Low on Iron
Due to monthly menstruation, women are especially prone to developing an iron deficiency, also known as anemia. Iron carries oxygen throughout the body and helps the muscles use and store oxygen for later use. It’s a vital part of many cell functions. A lack of iron leads to fatigue, weakness, memory impairment, pale skin, shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, or cold extremities.
If these symptoms sound familiar to you, contact a medical professional. A quick blood test will confirm anemia and treatment is as simple as taking iron supplements and eating an iron-rich diet. Great sources of iron include red meat, fish, poultry, and beans. At the same time you’re upping your iron intake, eat plenty of foods high in vitamin C, as this vitamin helps your body absorb iron.
A second culprit for fatigue is a problem with the thyroid. This gland produces hormones that help control your metabolism and energy level. An underactive thyroid, hypothyroidism, occurs when the immune system attacks the thyroid. Symptoms of this condition include fatigue, weight gain, heavy menstrual periods, constipation, feeling cold, dry hair and skin, and slow thinking. A blood test is needed to confirm and the treatment is medication.
An overactive thyroid, hyperthyroidism, is the result of your body’s immune system stimulating the thyroid into overtime. Besides exhaustion, symptoms include nervousness, irritability, feeling hot, rapid heart rate, weight loss, frequent bowel movements, and light menstrual periods. A blood test will confirm diagnosis. Medication and possibly surgery are needed to treat this condition.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
When a woman’s hormones are off balance, she may develop polycystic ovary syndrome. This imbalance leads to fatigue, very irregular periods, male-like characteristics (hair growth or deep voice), acne, or areas of skin darkening. Women with PCOS often have additional health concerns such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. A physical examination and blood test will reveal the presence or absence of this condition. Weight loss will improve symptoms and birth control pills or other medications are prescribed to regulate hormones.
Before developing type 2 diabetes, most people have what is called prediabetes. This is a condition in which blood sugar levels are high, but not high enough to be considered diabetic. You may not even know you have this condition since symptoms come on gradually and include extreme fatigue, thirst, infections, blurred vision, frequent urination, and tingling in extremities.
The good news is that prediabetes can be reversed through lifestyle changes (healthy diet, exercise, and weight loss) or medication if caught in time.
Been feeling sad, angry, or down in the dumps for weeks on end? You may be clinically depressed, a fifth condition that can lead to fatigue. Caused by chemical changes in the brain; related to genetics; and triggered by a stressful event, sleep problems, loneliness, medications, or a medical condition, depression can be overcome through therapy or antidepressant medication. Just don’t use medication to mask an underlying problem that needs medical attention.
Make an Appointment
If you have symptoms of any of the five conditions listed above, call your health care provider and make an appointment. Trying to function with little or no energy isn’t easy, and it can be dangerous. By finding the cause of your fatigue and getting the right treatment, you can get back to an active and healthy life.
If you live in the Gilbert area, treat yourself right by calling or emailing today to get started on an exercise program that will change your life for the best.
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