Fatigue – Pushing Yourself to A Halt

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Human beings in general tend to ignore our body speaking to us that there is the need to slow down and press your slow mode button for a while, and then having rested for a while, regained strength, press your restart button.  But no, we just tend to go on a suicide mode, till we eventually grind our entire system to a halt. I have always told those that bother to listen, you have only one life, and there are times, when all the money in the world cannot buy you good health.
Fatigue  is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.
Physical and mental fatigue are different, but they often occur together. Long-term physical exhaustion can also lead to mental fatigue. A lack of sleep can both result from and increase the risk of a number of medical conditions.
Nearly everyone is overtired or overworked from time to time. Such instances of temporary fatigue usually have an identifiable cause and a likely remedy.
Unrelenting exhaustion, on the other hand, lasts longer, is more profound and isn’t relieved by rest. It’s a nearly constant state of weariness that develops over time and reduces your energy, motivation and concentration. Fatigue at this level impacts your emotional and psychological well-being, too.
Fatigue can prevent a person from fulfilling their usual tasks. It can make it hard to get out of bed in the morning. When it affects safety, for example, on the road, it becomes a public health concern.
Fatigue is the state of feeling very tired, weary or sleepy resulting from insufficient sleep, prolonged mental or physical work, or extended periods of stress or anxiety. Boring or repetitive tasks can intensify feelings of fatigue. Fatigue can be described as either acute or chronic.
Acute fatigue results from short-term sleep loss or from short periods of heavy physical or mental work. The effects of acute fatigue are of short duration and usually can be reversed by sleep and relaxation.
Chronic fatigue syndrome is the constant, severe state of tiredness that is not relieved by rest. The symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome are similar to the flu, last longer than six months and interfere with certain activities. The exact cause of this syndrome is still unknown.

There are different types of fatigue
• Physical fatigue: A person finds it physically hard to do the things they normally do or used to do, for example, climbing stairs. It includes muscle weakness. Diagnosis may involve a strength test.
• Mental fatigue It is harder to concentrate on things.The person may feel sleepy, have a decreased level of consciousness, and in some cases show signs similar to that of an intoxicated state.
Sleepiness can happen when a person does not have enough good-quality sleep, or when there is a lack of stimulation. It can also be a symptom of a medical condition. It is more likely to be short term. Sleepiness, or drowsiness, may be solved by getting a good night’s sleep.
Fatigue, especially chronic fatigue, is usually linked to a medical problem. Drowsiness and fatigue can be life-threatening, for example, if it impairs a person when driving a vehicle or operating heavy machinery.
•How much sleep do people need?
It varies, but on average studies say we need at least 7 to 9 hours every day. Studies have reported that most night workers get about 5 to 7 hours less sleep per week than the day shift. (You can accumulate a sleep “debt”, but not a surplus.)
Humans follow an “internal” or “biological clock” cycle of sleep, wakefulness, and alertness. Although these circadian rhythms are influenced by external clues such as the sun setting and rising, it is the brain that sets your pattern. Most cycles are 23-25 hours long and there are natural dips or periods when you feel tired or less alert – even for those who are well-rested.
Most of us need around eight hours of good-quality sleep a night to function properly – but some need more and some less. What matters is that you find out how much sleep you need and then try to achieve it.
As a general rule, if you wake up tired and spend the day longing for a chance to have a nap, it’s likely that you’re not getting enough sleep.
A variety of factors can cause poor sleep, including health conditions such as sleep apnea. But in most cases, it’s due to bad sleeping habits.

How to get a better sleep
There is no one way to get a good sleep – what works for one person may not work for another. In general, suggestions include:
1. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
2. Exercise regularly.
3. Eat at regular intervals and consume a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and protein.
4. Use your bed primarily just for sleeping (e.g., do not watch television, read or do work in bed).
5. If you are not sleepy, do not try to go to bed. Get up and read or do something quiet instead.
6. Avoid caffeine, tobacco or alcohol – especially before bed time.
7. Turn off the telephone ringer and answering machine speaker.
8. Ask family members to be respectful if one person is sleeping. Family members can use headphones for the TV and radio if necessary.
9. Make the room as dark and quiet as possible. Use heavy, dark curtains, blinds, or a sleeping eye mask. Soundproof the room where possible or use ear plugs.
10.    Most people sleep better when the room is cool. Consider using an air conditioner or fan in the summer months.

Here are seven ways in which a good night’s sleep can boost your health:
1. Sleep boosts immunity
If you seem to catch every cold and flu that’s going around, your bedtime could be to blame. Prolonged lack of sleep can disrupt your immune system, so you’re less able to fend off bugs.
2. Sleep can slim you
Sleeping less may mean you put on weight! Studies have shown that people who sleep less than seven hours a day tend to gain more weight and have a higher risk of becoming obese than those who get seven hours of slumber.
3. Sleep boosts mental wellbeing
Given that a single sleepless night can make you irritable and moody the following day,
4. Sleep prevents diabetes
Studies have suggested that people who usually sleep less than five hours a night have an increased risk of having or developing diabetes.
5. Sleep increases sex drive
Men and women who don’t get enough quality sleep have lower libidos and less of an interest in sex, research shows.
6. Sleep wards off heart disease
Long-standing sleep deprivation seems to be associated with increased heart rate, an increase in blood pressure and higher levels of certain chemicals linked with inflammation, which may put extra strain on your heart.
7. Sleep increases fertility

Catching up on sleep
If you don’t get enough sleep, there’s only one way to compensate – getting more sleep.
It won’t happen with a single early night. If you’ve had months of restricted sleep, you’ll have built up a significant sleep debt, so expect recovery to take several weeks.
Starting on a weekend, try to add on an extra hour or two of sleep a night. The way to do this is to go to bed when you’re tired, and allow your body to wake you in the morning (no alarm clocks allowed!).
Expect to sleep for upwards of 10 hours a night at first. After a while, the amount of time you sleep will gradually decrease to a normal level.
Don’t rely on caffeine or energy drinks as a short-term pick-me-up. They may boost your energy and concentration temporarily, but can disrupt your sleep patterns even further in the long term.

Signs and symptoms
The main symptom of fatigue is exhaustion after a physical or mental activity. The patient does not feel refreshed after resting or sleeping. It may be hard to carry out the usual activities. The signs and symptoms of fatigue may be physical, mental, or emotional.

These include
• Body aches can be a sign of fatigue.
• aching or sore muscles
• painful lymph nodes
• apathy and lack of motivation
• persistent tiredness
• difficulty in concentrating
• dizziness
• reduced hand-to-eye coordination
• headache
• impaired judgment and indecisiveness
• irritability and moodiness
• loss of appetite
• weakened immune system
• short-term memory impairment, leading to problems with organizing thoughts and finding the right words to say, known as brain fog
• sleepiness and drowsiness
• slow responses to stimuli and slower reflexes than before
• vision problems, such as blurriness

• In severe cases, the person may experience hallucinations.
•     weariness,
•     tiredness,
•     lack of motivation,
•     depression,
•     giddiness,

Causes of fatigue
Most of the time fatigue can be traced to one or more of your habits or routines, particularly lack of exercise. It’s also commonly related to depression. On occasion, fatigue is a symptom of other underlying conditions that require medical treatment.
• Lifestyle factors
Taking an honest inventory of things that might be responsible for your fatigue is often the first step toward relief. Fatigue may be related to:
1. Use of alcohol or drugs
2. Excess physical activity
3. Jet lag
4. Lack of physical activity
5. Lack of sleep
6. Medications, such as antihistamines, cough medicines
7. Unhealthy eating habits
Fatigue is a symptom of many health conditions.
1) Mental health issues
It can result from stress, bereavement and grief, eating disorders, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, anxiety, moving home, boredom, and divorce. It can occur with clinical depression, either due to the depression itself, or because of associated problems, such as insomnia.
2) Endocrine and metabolic reasons
Conditions such as Cushing’s disease, kidney disease, electrolyte problems, diabetes, hypothyroidism, anemia, kidney disease, and liver disease can all lead to fatigue.
3) Drugs and medications
Some antidepressants, antihypertensives, statins, steroids, antihistamines, medication withdrawal, sedatives, and anti-anxiety drugs can cause drowsiness.
4) Heart and lung conditions
5) Sleep problems
Working late, shift work, jet lag, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, insomnia, and reflux esophagitis can lead to a lack of sleep and fatigue.
6) Chemicals and substances
Vitamin deficiencies, mineral deficiencies, poisoning, and consuming too many caffeinated or alcoholic beverages may make it harder to get to sleep, or stay asleep, especially if these are consumed too close to bedtime.
7) Various diseases, conditions, states, and treatments
Cancer, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia, systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, massive blood loss, and weakened immune systems can all cause fatigue. Fatigue can also be a sign of infection. Some infections that cause tiredness include malaria.
8) Chronic pain
Patients with chronic pain often wake up tired, even after sleeping for a long time, especially if pain disrupts their sleep. The combination of pain and lack of sleep can cause persistent tiredness.
9) Being overweight or underweight
A person who is underweight may tire easily because they have less muscle strength.
10) Too much or too little activity.
A person who feels tired may not exercise, and lack of exercise can cause further fatigue. Lack of exercise may eventually make it harder and more tiring to perform a physical chore.

Diagnosis
Diagnosis can be difficult, because the causes and symptoms are varied and non-specific.

You will be asked to do these assessments
1. evaluate the qualities of the fatigue
2. identify the patterns of their fatigue, for example, times of day when symptoms are worse or better, and whether a nap helps
3. describe the quality of their sleep, their emotional state, sleep patterns and stress levels
4. The patient can help by keeping a record of the total hours slept each day, and how often they awaken during sleep.
5. The physician may carry out a physical examination to check for signs of illnesses and ask the patient which medications they are using. Other factors to consider include present or recent infections, such as glandular fever, and events that may cause fatigue, such as giving birth, having undergone surgery, a bereavement, and so on.
6. The doctor will also ask about lifestyle, including diet, alcohol consumption, sleep habits, and so on.

• Diagnostic tests:
These can help diagnose an underlying cause. They may include urine tests, imaging scans, psychiatric questionnaires, and blood tests, depending on other symptoms.
Tests can help rule out physical causes, such as an infection, hormonal problems, anemia, liver problems, or kidney problems. The physician may order a sleep study to rule out a sleeping disorder.
If an illness is diagnosed, that illness will be treated. Controlling diabetes, for example, may help solve the fatigue problem.
Treatment
To treat fatigue successfully, it is necessary first to find the underlying cause.
This could be:
•anemia or low iron without anemia
•sleep apnea
• poorly controlled blood sugar
• underactive thyroid
• an infection
• obesity
• depression
• Appropriate treatment for the condition can help alleviate fatigue.