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Lack of sleep isn't the only cause of fatigue

How Do You Treat Fatigue? It’s Not Just About Sleep

Tired of feeling fatigued? Fatigue can make every day feel exhausting. If you’re struggling to find motivation, lacking energy, and having trouble sleeping at night, then you might be suffering from fatigue. There are many potential reasons you might be experiencing this, so it’s important to identify and treat the root cause.

Functional medicine is uniquely positioned to help you with fatigue, since functional medicine doctors examine your personal lifestyle and identify underlying causes. Our functional medicine practice is based in Johnson City, Tennessee, and we work with people from all over the Tri-Cities area and beyond . This includes Bristol, Kingsport, Knoxville, Greenville, and Abingdon in Virginia.

If you’ve been feeling excessively tired, unmotivated, or emotionally drained, make an appointment to see us today.

Common Causes of Fatigue

What can you do about your fatigue? Here are some of the most common causes of fatigue and how you can address them.

  • Vitamin Deficiency

One of the most common contributors to fatigue is an iron deficiency, which causes your body to have trouble carrying oxygen to your cells, affecting your energy levels. Deficiencies in vitamin D and B vitamins are also likely to leave you feeling groggy and spent.

What you can do: Ask your doctor to run labs to check if you are below optimal levels in any of these vitamins. You can then take the appropriate supplements and focus on eating foods that contain these nutrients to help address any deficiencies.

  • Poor Diet

Eating foods that are high in trans-fat or saturated fat, processed foods, and foods high in added sugars can all contribute to low energy. The frequency at which you eat can also be a factor. If you have a tendency to skip meals or leave long gaps between meals, you may not be getting the calories you need to keep your energy up throughout the day.

What you can do:  Eat a well-balanced diet that includes protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to maintain consistent energy levels. Try not to skip meals and, if possible, incorporate energy-boosting snacks in between meals if you start to feel sluggish. Healthy snack options include bananas, peanut butter, protein bars, dried fruit, and nuts.

  • Unbalanced Hormones

One significant but often overlooked cause of fatigue is unbalanced hormones. Several hormones can contribute to fatigue, but the thyroid can be especially critical to energy levels. Every cell in your body depends upon the thyroid to regulate energy production. When thyroid hormone levels are less than ideal, your body produces less energy.

What you can do: If you suspect you have a thyroid problem, you should get the right testing done to determine if this is the cause If you’re working with our doctor, he will develop a personalized treatment plan to boost your energy levels and manage your hormones.

  • Prolonged Stress

Experiencing high stress levels over an extended period of time is often associated with fatigue. When the stress hormone cortisol is too high or too low, it can leave you feeling exhausted and irritable.

What you can do: Managing stress is an important part of reducing fatigue. Get active, practice meditation, or do an activity that you enjoy to relieve stress.

  • Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders or disruptions to your body’s natural sleep cycle can put you at risk of sleep deprivation and fatigue.

What you can do: Go to bed earlier, and sleep in a dark, quiet, and comfortable room if possible. Avoid stimulating activities before bed such as watching television or exercising.

  • Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is common in most health problems. It can weaken your body and lead to brain fog and fatigue.

What you can do: Certain herbs and spices, as well as green tea, help soothe inflammation and boost your energy levels.

  • Sedentary Lifestyle

Being sedentary can lead to fatigue in anyone. This is because not getting enough exercise and physical activity causes deconditioning of the body’s musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems and depresses mood, all of which lead to fatigue.

What you can do: Regular exercise can increase energy levels and reduce fatigue. So the next time you think about taking a nap, it might be better to go for a walk instead.

  • Mood Disorders

Mood disorders such as depression and anxiety are strongly associated with fatigue and daytime sleepiness.

What you can do: Talk to your doctor if you suffer from depression or anxiety. They may prescribe an antidepressant or an anti-anxiety medication. You might also benefit from mental health counseling. If you want to discover and treat the root cause of your depression or anxiety rather than masking your symptoms with medications, functional medicine is the way to go.

If any of the above fatigue causes apply to you, watch our free webinars to learn more about these common causes and see how we can help.

Early Warning Signs of Fatigue

Some days are more tiring than others, but fatigue can easily turn into a chronic condition. Look out for the following 10 early warning signs that your body isn’t functioning properly:

  1. Difficulty getting out of bed
  2. Frequent headaches
  3. Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting
  4. Irritability and moodiness
  5. Muscle weakness or joint pain
  6. Forgetfulness
  7. Intense food cravings
  8. Poor concentration
  9. Lack of motivation
  10. Irritable Bowels

You may consider many of these symptoms to be normal. They are not normal. Often these seemingly “normal” symptoms are the early warning signs that your body is fatiguing.

Useful Tips to Fight Fatigue

When it comes to fighting fatigue, it might seem like the answer is simple: sleep. However, it’s not always as easy as that. Here are some tips to help you increase your energy levels long-term:

  1. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
  2. Exercise regularly
  3. Stay hydrated
  4. Avoid caffeine
  5. Limit alcohol consumption
  6. Quit smoking
  7. Eat a balanced diet and don’t skip meals
  8. Stress less with relaxation techniques
  9. Address your mental health
  10. Talk to your doctor

How Functional Medicine Can Help

The symptoms of fatigue can be debilitating and make everyday life feel like an uphill battle. Functional medicine looks at fatigue differently than traditional medicine does. Functional medicine focuses on the prevention and treatment of fatigue by finding the cause of the imbalance or symptom.

Because everything is interconnected, there is usually more than one thing out of balance causing your fatigue. Since there are numerous potential causes for your fatigue, it often requires a lot of investigation to determine the primary driver and to develop a proper treatment plan for addressing this root cause.

Unfortunately, the conventional medical system is not set up for this. Conventional medicine is based more on disease management or symptom suppression, as opposed to identifying the underlying cause of disease, which only places a bandage over the core issue leading to your fatigue in the first place.

This is where a functional medicine approach can be helpful. A functional medicine doctor will help you sort through your various symptoms, run necessary tests, and develop a strategy to address the root cause of your persistent tiredness. Understanding the root cause is the first step to recovery.

If you have been experiencing symptoms of fatigue and are looking for answers, schedule a free discovery call with Tri-Cities Functional Medicine today.

Tri-Cities Functional Medicine is located in Johnson City, Tennessee, and serves patients throughout East Tennessee and into Virginia and North Carolina. These areas include but are not limited to: Washington County, TN, Sullivan County, TN, Carter County, TN, Greene County, TN, Knox County, TN, Bristol, TN, Holston Valley, TN, Tri-Cities, TN, Walnut Hill, TN, Elizabethton, TN, Greeneville, TN, Morristown, TN, Blountville, TN, Bluff City, TN, Kingsport, TN, Jonesborough, TN, Colonial Heights, TN, Limestone, TN, Knoxville, TN, Bristol, VA, and Abingdon, VA.