Fatigue is probably one of the most common symptoms that patients bring to our attention at the Center. Fatigue compromises quality of life for men and women of all ages. We at the Center are committed to work with each of our patients individually to try to uncover the cause of their fatigue. Energy is a complex phenomenon, with both physical and mental contributions. To maximize our energy and vitality therefore requires a whole-person approach, addressing both biological and psychological depletions.
Some examples of biological causes of fatigue include anemia, nutritional deficiencies (eg. iron, B12), hypothyroidism, adrenal insufficiency and underactive pituitary gland. Many chronic diseases can also cause fatigue – diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune diseases (such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis), fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue syndrome, Celiac disease (gluten allergy), multiple sclerosis and others.
Another important area to explore when addressing the issue of fatigue is quality and quantity of sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation not only leads to fatigue, but also contributes to increase in waistline and higher diabetes risk. It is important to consider possibility of sleep apnea, particularly in patients who snore. In addition to being a disturbance for bed-partners, sleep apnea leads to multiple sleep interruptions and inadequate REM sleep, declines in oxygen level in the blood stream and therefore the brain, leaving patients feeling unrefreshed from their sleep. Untreated sleep apnea has negative consequences such as increased risk of diabetes, hypertension and heart failure. Prompt and appropriate diagnosis and management of sleep apnea is therefore critical.