Exhaustion is a form of physical or mental fatigue that can be triggered by such factors as stress, overwork, medication, or mental or physical disease. Are you exhausted? Medical fatigue is a type of tiredness or exhausted feelings that goes beyond every day complications. This condition is more prolonged and serious. It is characterized by a lack of energy, slowed movements, and muscle weakness. There can additionally be a lack of mental focus and memory loss.
Causes and Symptoms
Environmental causes can result in a person being chronically exhausted. Inadequate rest, poor diet. work and home stressors can be contributing factors. Causal medical conditions include heart disease, low blood pressure, diabetes, narcolepsy and cancer. Acute maladies like viral and bacterial infections can bring about temporary feelings of exhaustion. So can mental conditions like depression.
Diagnosis of exhaustion can be difficult because fatigue is a symptom of several diseases and disorders. Examination by a qualified medical professional is required to eliminate all the possible conditions and come to the conclusion that the problem is extreme exhaustion. Many diagnostic tests may have to be run to eliminate typical physical causes of exhaustion, like blood tests for iron deficiency anemia.
People who are part time exhausted and suffer from symptoms can be helped by caffeine based central nervous stimulants. These stimulants enhance alertness and improve coordination. Caffeine must be used with caution because overuse can lead to sleep disorders like insomnia.
There are several other methods of treating exhaustion. Which one to use depends on what is the direct cause of the problem. The methods include dietary and lifestyle changes, herbal therapy, deep breathing exercises, Chinese medicine, and color therapy. Below is a rundown on each of these methods.
Inadequate diet can lead to signs of exhaustion. To get to the correct energy supply and physical well-being people should have a balanced diet and follow the below nutritional guidelines:
- Drinking water daily is recommended. People should drink 9 to 12 glasses of water daily. This is needed to prevent dehydration that can reduce blood volume. The reduced blood volume can cause fatigue.
- Eating iron rich foods like liver, raisins, spinach, and apricots will aid in blood transporting oxygen through the body’s tissues, organs, and muscles. Reduced oxygenation of the blood can result in fatigue.
- People should limit high fat meals and snacks. High fat content foods are harder for the body to digest. This reduces blood flow to the brain, heart. and the remainder of the body.
- People should eat more unrefined carbohydrates and proteins matched together to create more energy.
- It is desired to limit protein intake to 15-20 grams per meal. Two snacks of 15 grams daily is recommended. However, not consuming enough daily protein can result in exhaustion.
- B complex vitamins like pantothemic acid, polic acid, thiamine. and vitamin B are also recommended. Lack of these type of vitamins can set off fatigue.
- People should eat only when hungry, and attempt to control the size of portions consumed. Overweight people are more likely to experience the symptoms of exhaustion.
Lifestyle behaviors that can lead to fatigue include having a high stress job, erratic work schedules, no family or social support, and bad sleeping patterns. They all can contribute to exhaustion
To combat stress there are relaxation therapies to alleviate tension. They include massage and yoga.
Aromatherapy, which involves using plant-derived essential aromatic oils to induce physical and psychological well-being, can be used to treat exhaustion,
Meditation, the art of using concentration on a sound, object, or visualization to increase the awareness of the present moment to aid in stress reduction, promote relaxation, and increase spiritual growth, can also be a viable treatment.
Guided imagery entails using positive mental imagery to promote relaxation and reduce stress. This form of therapy gives individuals a sense of empowerment and control over combating such ailments as fatigue.
People can benefit from individual or family sessions directed by psychotherapists. The hope is that sessions will allow the patient to work through stress-related exhaustion that comes from family conflicts.
To offset the symptoms of fatigue, herbal remedies may be used. An herbalist may try ginger root, cayenne, bilmuny, damiana, or rosemary as a means of treatment.
The herb is mixed with boiling water, steeping it afterwards. The herb is removed from the infusion before drinking,
Central nervous system stimulants that contain caffeine, like tea and cola, can provide short term results when it comes to treating exhaustion.
Chinese medicine characterizes exhaustion as a misalignment qi, energy flow, that exists within the human body. To get things back in balance herbal methods are sometimes used. Minot Bupleurum has been for 2,000 years used to treat the type of fatigue resulting from having the flu..
Acupuncture, a major form of treatment in the area of Chinese medicine involves the use of sharp needles that are inserted into the body at precise points. The needles are intended to adjust the body’s energy flow into much healthier patterns. Acupuncture is used to treat many health conditions and illnesses.
Deep Breathing Exercises
People under stress have a fast, shallow form of breathing called chest breathing. This can lead to maladies like increased muscle tension, shortness of breath, fatigue, and inadequate blood oxygenation.
To perform deep breathing exercises a person lies flat on the floor, the knees are bent, and the body is relaxed. One hand is placed on the abdomen and the other is on the chest to check the breathing technique. Done the correct way, the abdomen should rise further than the chest. Next the person takes long breaths through the nose. This is done to raise the abdomen and not the chest. Next the air is exhaled through the mouth. The process can be continued for as long as 20 minutes. Then the person checks for body tension and relaxation. Once mastered, the technique can be used at any time.
Color therapy, chromatherapy, is based upon certain colors having healing energies. The colors of the rainbow are used to foster balance and healing in the body and mind.
People with fatigue problems would be wrapped in red cloth to promote energy, empowerment, and stimulation. Also patients can be bathed in light from a color filtered source of light to augment the healing powers of the treatment. Rooms with red walls, furniture, clothing, and even food may be used in treatment for energizing purposes.
Exhaustion related to chronic conditions may last indefinitely, but treatment can manage the situation. Exhaustion related to stressors is dealt with when the stressors are removed. No cure is available for chronic fatigue syndrome, but proper treatment can lessen the symptoms.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome represents a group of dehabilitating medical conditions related to persistent exhaustion. Generally, the condition lasts for six months in adults and around three months for children.
This type of exhaustion does not occur because of exertion, and is not a result of other medical conditions, and is not helped by bed rest.
The condition has been studied from biological, genetic infections, and psychological angles, but the cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is not completely understood, and it may have various causes.
Here are the major exhaustion symptoms of CFS:
- The patient will feel wrong and out of sorts after any type of exertion.
- Sleep becomes unrefreshing for the patient.
- The patient will experience muscle and joint pain.
- There will be sore throat and headaches beyond what the patient has experienced before.
- Additional symptoms that could possibly occur include muscle weakness, sensitivity to light, indigestion problems, depression. cardiac and respiratory problems.
CFS is relatively rare. Estimates are 7 to 3,000 cases happen for every 100,000 adults. The condition is more prevalent among women, and happen less often for children.
There are no classic conditions that make it easy to diagnose CFS. Symptoms of other conditions such as major depression, schizophrenia, bulimia, bipolar disorder, and alcoholism have to be eliminated before a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can be pinpointed.
Many people don’t fully recover from CFC. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Pacing, and exercise therapy have been the most effective in treating the condition.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy has proven to be somewhat effective in treating the exhaustion related condition of CFS. The main thrust of the therapy is to manage the condition’s activity levels, stress, and symptoms. CBT’s goal is to get patients to grasp their individual symptoms and beliefs, and then come up with a plan to impact their day to day functioning. A goal is to help patients eliminate negative illness beliefs that may aid in perpetuating the illness.
Among professionals, there has been controversy on how effective Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be, but a study by the Cochrane Review that involved 1,043 participants came to the conclusion that CBT helped reduce the symptoms of exhaustion. Other studies showed CBT worked better than other therapies by a ratio of 48% to 27%.
Graded Exercise Therapy
GET is a physical activity form of treatment that begins slowly and increases as it moves along. Graded Exercise Therapy typically begins with stretching exercises done for five minutes a day. The idea is to balance the exercise with rest, and then to gradually raise the patient’s activity level according to how they are progressing with the therapy.
Research studies have shown that Gradual Exercise Therapy produced positive results in treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome within a twelve week period.
Those critical of the treatment believe it may help some patients, but they think it is hardly a cure for the condition.
Pacing is a strategy based upon energy management that states that illness symptoms jump following the output of minimal energy.
The idea of pacing exists in two forms, Symptom contingent pacing is based on the patient’s decision to halt and rest due to the potential of exacerbating symptoms. Time contingent pacing is to set a level of exercising that can be completed before triggering an adverse reaction.
The major thrust behind pacing is to avoid over working while the exercise therapy is taking place. Activity can be gradually increased with the idea of resting in mind.
A test trial found the therapy to have limited benefits. Another study found pacing to be more effective than relaxation/flexibility therapy.