By Peggy Demetriou
ARNP, FNP-BC, Board Certified in Family Practice by the ANCC
Can’t get past that two o’clock slump? Feel wiped out or wake up tired? Sounds like you are one of the many Americans suffering from fatigue. Nearly all people get tired or overworked at some point. This temporary fatigue usually has a cause you can identify and can be resolved. But persistent tiredness lasts longer, is more intense, and is not solved by rest. Over time it reduces your energy, motivation, mood, and ability to concentrate.
33% of patients that see their primary care provider complain of fatigue. In our practice, this statistic tends to be even higher. But how has this impacted society?
The Adverse Effects of Mental Exhaustion
• Fatigue causes 20-30% of all deaths on the road.
• 136 billion dollars in lost work time occurs each year (Journal of Occupational Medicine)
• Being awake for 20 hours is the equivalent of a blood alcohol level of .1. The Florida Legal Limit is .08.
Most of the time fatigue can be traced to one or more lifestyle habits, often diet or inactivity-related. But other times it can be a symptom of an underlying health condition. The common causes overlap amongst different age groups, but it can be helpful to be aware of the most common reasons affecting individuals in their age group.
In young adults, from ages 18-30, dietary reasons lead the way. This is followed by imbalanced lifestyle factors, and finally underlying medical conditions.
• Poor diet: such as high sodium, sugar, and saturated fat
• Skipping meals: causes a drop in blood sugar leading to headaches and fatigue
• Excessive caffeine or alcohol intake: dehydrates the body quickly
• Lack of exercise: the inactivity increases fatigue and weakens the body
• Stress: causes difficulty sleeping and drains energy• Hypothyroidism: not producing enough thyroid hormone
• Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS): affects 8:1000 adults and is not fully understood
As people hit age 30, adult responsibilities dominate and involve even more multitasking. The toll of previously unhealthy habits are now catching up and showing signs.
Common causes of fatigue affecting those 30-50 years of age
• Depression and Anxiety: often from job and family stress
• Sleep apnea: reduced oxygen while you sleep
• Iron Deficiency/Anemia: lack of iron or Vitamin B12
• Circadian Rhythm Disturbances: shift-work, traveling
• Undiagnosed Medical Conditions: Celiac Disease, Hypothyroidism, Liver Disease, Heart Disease, and much more
As a person becomes over 50 years of age, fatigue becomes an even more common complaint. Later in life, we call it anergia. This can affect the physical and cognitive performance of an individual.
Common causes of anergia in this age bracket
• Medical Conditions: Heart Problems, Hormonal Changes, Sleep Apnea, Liver Disease/Hepatitis C, Cancer and more.
• Mental Health Problems: Depression and Anxiety, Psychological Disorders
• Circadian Rhythm Changes: Spending less time in a deep sleep and waking up earlier
• Loss of Muscle Mass: By age 70 there is a 30% reduction leading to decreased strength and increased fatigue
• Decline in Mental Energy: Age-related chemical changes are a cause, and it can also take longer to learn new things
• Lifestyle Factors: Managing doctor’s appointments and medical care, attending to aging parents, overworked and being bored if retired
• Excessive Alcohol, Caffeine, or Substance Abuse
• Chronic Medication Use: Beta Blockers or Diuretics often used for high blood pressure or other heart conditions
At Qvita Health and Wellness, we offer a comprehensive evaluation to help you identify your medical risk factors and causes of fatigue. We take the time needed to listen to each patient’s concerns and then formulate a customized plan. Testing may include lab work, allergy testing, checking for food intolerances, and ruling out other medical conditions.
Once an individualized evaluation is completed, a treatment plan is formulated. The goal is to treat a problem, educate about lifestyle factors that need modifying, and offer medical and alternative options. We work together with each patient to help him or her navigate through the process of healing. Some in-office options that we offer include IV Vitamin Infusions, Vitamin Injections, and our own natural and certified line of supplements as featured on ABC’s Tampa Bay Morning Blend. We also offer a medical weight loss plan with a clinically proven and safe diet. For those in chronic pain with muscle tension from stress, we offer homeopathic trigger point injections that are safe, effective, and FDA approved.
All of the services that we offer are designed to allow the patient to experience a more optimal life and to sustain an energy level on a daily basis to maximize their potential.
Q Vita Health and Wellness
2734 Windguard Circle, Suite 101, Wesley Chapel, FL