The Centers for Disease Control estimates that as many as 500,000 Americans suffer from chronic fatigue -- a health issue that affects many right here in our community. I know because many of them seek treatment at our practice, Lehigh Valley Integrated Health, 163 S. Green St.
MedicineNet.com defines chronic fatigue as “a debilitating and complex disorder characterized by profound fatigue of six months or longer duration that is not improved by bed rest and that may be worsened by physical or mental activity.”
Commonly, I will have chronic fatigue patients come to me and say they get sick much more often than normal, they are in a constant mental “fog," they have muscle or joint pains such as of the knees, and/or they are not sleeping well (insomnia). All of this is connected, especially chronic fatigue and insomnia.
The National Sleep Foundation estimated in 2002 that some 200 million Americans suffer from insomnia, which can cause other health problems such as irritability, anxiety, diminished physical performance and, not surprisingly, fatigue.
Many insomniac patients come to me and say they are gaining unwanted weight despite cutting calories and exercising, or they say their sexual libido is non-existent, or they are being wiped out by allergies, asthma or some other respiratory issue.
Through my work of NRT (Nutritional Response Testing) I most commonly find kidney, adrenal and/or thyroid dysfunction at the root of this problem. And when I say, “this problem," I mean chronic fatigue AND insomnia because the two often go together.
On a very basic level I advise patients to:
- If you have diabetes or have a family history of diabetes you need to be actively managing it. Uncontrolled diabetes is devastating on the kidneys, and over-worked kidneys = higher chance of developing chronic fatigue/insomnia.
- Limit your caffeine intake to no more than 2 cups of caffeinated beverage per day, and only before 1 p.m. (it takes your body up to 9.5 hrs. to process caffeine, so that you can relax to fall asleep). Also, remember that coffee, black tea, green tea, chocolate and energy drinks all contain caffeine.
Caffeine mimics the action of adrenaline (produced by your adrenal glands); consuming large amounts of caffeine can disrupt adrenal function and lead to chronic fatigue/insomnia.
- Finally, if you are on medication for your thyroid ask a qualified individual to help you find natural replacements that won’t have the negative side effects that many prescription thyroid medications have. A poorly functioning thyroid may lead to weight management issues and chronic fatigue/insomnia.
If you suffer from chronic fatigue/insomnia or know someone who does, go to www.VitalityLV.com to learn more about Dr. Sack and Lehigh Valley Integrated Health. Additionally, we hold, on an ongoing basis, free public education workshops covering a variety of topics. Call to find out more at (610) 759-0500.