While it’s normal to experience periods of fatigue due to an acute illness or emotional stress, feeling this way for six months or more can indicate chronic fatigue. Chronic fatigue is a condition in which you experience extreme exhaustion that doesn’t improve with rest or sleep.
Symptoms may also include dizziness or problems with concentration, memory, or focus, which may intensify after any type of physical or mental activity.
Chronic fatigue can occur as a symptom of an ongoing medical condition, a side effect of a medication, or as a result of lifestyle or genetic factors. When ongoing fatigue occurs without other factors, it’s considered a sign of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).
Improving your symptoms of fatigue involves finding the cause so you can get appropriate treatment. Left untreated, fatigue can make it difficult to maintain a job, attend school, or participate in family and social activities.
Fatigue specialist Poonam Malhotra, MD, a board-certified family medicine physician at Central Clinic in Spring Hill, Florida, uses an integrative, allopathic, and holistic approach to treating persistent fatigue. Based on a thorough physical examination, medical history, and diagnostic tests, Dr. Malhotra can determine the cause of your fatigue and manage your treatment.
Based on your medical history and diagnosis, Dr. Malhotra may recommend one or more of the following treatments to improve your symptoms and help you return to a normal lifestyle.
Finding the source of your fatigue may be a lengthy and complicated process. Depending on your medical history, genetics, and current condition, you may need several types of diagnostic tests to identify or exclude specific problems for an accurate diagnosis. The good news is if your fatigue is related to a medical condition, treating the underlying condition can improve your symptoms.
Chronic fatigue may occur as your body’s response to many types of mental and physical conditions. Some common issues are:
Depending on your current lifestyle, you may improve your symptoms of fatigue by making changes that support a healthy body and mind. A lifestyle that includes daily exercise, regular sleep patterns, and a healthy diet can allow your body to perform properly.
Maintaining proper daily hydration, while limiting your use of alcohol and caffeine, can often improve fatigue. Small changes in your diet, such as adding more vegetables and limiting sugar and processed foods, can also affect the way you feel. To make dramatic and meaningful dietary changes, Dr. Malhotra may recommend that you consult with a registered dietitian who can guide you on how food choices affect the body.
Being overweight can cause fatigue because of the physical exertion required to carry more than your normal body weight. The condition also increases your risk of developing sleep apnea and diabetes, two conditions that can cause fatigue. Losing weight may help improve your symptoms.
Participating in a medical weight management program can help you lose weight at a healthy pace with supervision from a weight loss professional. A medical weight management program can help you succeed in losing weight by integrating diet, behavioral, and lifestyle changes.
Whether you’re underweight, overweight, or average weight, you may be experiencing vitamin deficiencies if you don’t eat a well-balanced diet. Insufficient levels of vitamin D, vitamin B-12, iron, magnesium, and/or potassium can also make you feel sluggish and persistently tired.
Dr. Malhotra uses routine blood tests to determine if a patient may benefit from a dietary supplement, and she can recommend appropriate dosages or dietary changes as necessary.
Your chronic fatigue may be related to a side effect of prescribed or over-the-counter medication. Taking one of these medications daily to treat or control a chronic condition can result in ongoing chronic fatigue.
Some of the most common medications associated with fatigue include antihistamines, statins, steroids, and anxiety medications. Drugs used to treat high blood pressure, cancer, muscle pain, and epilepsy can also contribute to fatigue.
Dr. Malhotra can see if changing your medication or adjusting your dosage may improve your symptoms without interfering with its therapeutic benefits.
Low estrogen and testosterone levels can contribute to feelings of fatigue. This often occurs in women who experience inadequate sleep and insomnia during menopause. Having these symptoms as a result of changing hormones can lead to exhaustion.
Research indicates that hormone replacement therapy can improve sleep quality by reducing night awakenings, increasing REM sleep, and helping patients fall asleep faster, all of which can reduce feelings of daytime sleepiness and fatigue.
You don’t have to suffer from the effects of untreated fatigue. Book an appointment online or over the phone with Central Clinic today. For your convenience, we also offer telehealth appointments.