One of the most common symptoms patients at 25 Again report is fatigue. Many people seek out hormone replacement therapy because they suffer from relentless fatigue. When this happens, primary care providers often report the patient’s blood levels are “normal.” But this understanding of what “normal” means is part of the issue.
I hear this nearly every day in my clinic. Unfortunately, these issues can bring along many other negative thoughts, emotions, and physical issues over time. Feeling constant fatigue affects every aspect of your life and the result can lead to problems such as depression, weight gain, and chronic disease. Fatigue can be related to hormone imbalance as well as lifestyle factors. Many of our members report vast improvements in fatigue when they undergo a Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) program. They even describe an improved ability to make healthier lifestyle choices.
If you are starting to feel the strain of constant fatigue, the sooner you start combating the causes of this problem the more likely you will be to recover before major health concerns begin to occur. Here are some of the top reasons you may be experiencing fatigue:
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck. Although small, it is responsible for your metabolism and the way your body uses energy. Hypothyroidism (or a slow thyroid) is a leading cause of fatigue and is typically diagnosed based on an elevated thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Standard treatment includes Synthroid (or levothyroxine), which is T4 alone. However, thyroid disease can be missed or inadequately treated if only TSH is tested because some individuals have an inability to adequately convert T4 to T3. T3 is our active thyroid hormone and low or suboptimal levels of T3 can lead to fatigue, cold intolerance, muscle and joint pain, depression, brain fog and weight gain. With the addition of T3 to T4 therapy, symptoms typically resolve or improve.
Men and women with low or suboptimal levels of testosterone often suffer from fatigue, lack of motivation, low libido, reduced mental clarity, and depression. Testosterone, when given in safe and effective doses, can drastically improve the quality of life and reduce fatigue. Imagine feeling energized and motivated to exercise!? Feeling improved vitality and motivation encourages us to make healthier lifestyle choices.
Not enough exercise
Regular exercise can improve energy levels by strengthening your heart, improving circulation and increasing lean body mass. It may seem counterintuitive that exercise can improve fatigue as it may be the last thing you feel like doing when you’re tired. However, research demonstrates this as fact. A study published in Psychological Bulletin meta-analyzed more than 70 studies on exercise and fatigue involving over 6,800 participants. 90% of the studies showed an improvement in fatigue with regular exercise compared with control groups. It is recommended to engage in physical activity 3-5 days per week for at least 30 minutes.
Lack of quality sleep
It’s obvious that not getting enough sleep will cause fatigue. Hormones have a significant impact on how well we sleep as does our lifestyle. If you aren’t getting regular, restorative sleep you likely suffer from fatigue. Read this blog to learn some tips for a night of restful sleep.
Poor diet and excess alcohol
Diet plays a big role in our energy levels. After all, we are what we eat! Your diet can either fuel you or fail you. Refined carbohydrates such as pasta, white bread, pastries, and other sweets cause your blood sugar to spike, followed by a drop in your insulin levels which can cause fatigue and weakness. Not eating enough will also cause fatigue. The average adult needs 1,200 to 2,000 calories per day with around 30% of those calories coming from complete protein. I find a lot of my clients don’t consume enough protein and often complain of fatigue and difficulty losing weight. Protein is needed to build and fuel muscle and lose fat mass. Excessive alcohol also causes fatigue as it is a central nervous system depressant. The recommended intake for a female is no more than one alcoholic beverage daily and no more than two alcoholic beverages for men. Alcohol also interferes with sleep quality and your body’s ability to fall into deep stages of sleep.
There are many other potentially serious medical conditions that can cause fatigue. Examples include sleep apnea, diabetes, anemia, vitamin deficiencies, food allergies, autoimmune conditions, and depression. It is important to never ignore physical symptoms as they are your body’s way of telling you something isn’t right. Believe it or not, feeling tired most of the time is not normal!
Seek out a medical professional for a full blood panel and history and physical today if you are concerned about these types of problems impacting your life. Click here to take the survey that is helping thousands of adults find out where to begin.