Believe it or not, fatigue is NOT the top reason people come into my office… BUT… being tired all the time IS one of the most common symptoms. And unfortunately when you visit your family doc for this symptom, you often end up leaving their office feeling discouraged without any answers.
This is because fatigue can exist for SO MANY reasons and your family doc just doesn’t have the time to investigate them all with you. At least half of the new people that come into my office rate their energy level at no more than 5 out of 10. That’s no way to live!
So, why is everyone so tired all the time?
Let’s go through some of the most common reasons, that you might not be aware of:
I know you all know how important sleep is to your health. The number of hours matter for sure but so does the QUALITY of your sleep. If your sleep is restless or you are waking frequently throughout the night, your morning can definitely have you dragging your feet to the coffee pot.
The length of time it takes you to fall asleep is equally as important. You may go to bed around 10 pm but then it takes you 1-2 hours to fall asleep. If you’re up early to start your day this routine is going to wear on you and not have you feeling your best.
At a naturopathic doctors’ office you will always talk about your sleep…how much you’re getting, how restful it feels, your sleep environment, etc. This helps to determine how you need to be supported to attain a better quality of sleep. Consideration is also given to WHY your sleep might be light or restless or why it’s so hard to shut your brain off at night.
You may think this is an obvious one but, surprisingly, it gets missed quite often. If the whole picture is not fully assessed, anemia can be ruled out BUT you can still be iron deficient. Conventional lab testing will look at your hemoglobin levels which may be within the normal range but your ferritin (stored iron) levels might not.
It is also possible that your levels are within the “normal” range but you are still having symptoms. There’s a difference between the “normal” range and an optimal range. That is why it is so beneficial to work with a naturopathic doctor that can take the time to look at the bigger picture with you.
If your thyroid has become a bit sluggish you can experience fatigue. Blood tests for TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) only reveal a tiny aspect of the hormonal framework. Your TSH may be within the “normal” range but if you are at the low or high end of the range WITH symptoms, it is worth further investigation.
If your TSH lab result is anything above a 2, it means that your thyroid is becoming sluggish. It is no longer responding as well to TSH so your brain is starting to release more hormone in an effort to jumpstart your thyroid.
Your naturopathic doctor can order lab tests that offer a lot more information. A variety of hormone levels can be assessed along with the nutrients necessary to make the proper conversions.
HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) Axis Dysfunction
Fatigue can be a result of your HPA axis responding to increased stress. It isn’t really so much of a dysfunction of the axis as it is an adaptation to the conditions you are functioning under (i.e. overwork, stressful life event, financial worry, etc). The symptoms for HPA axis dysfunction can vary but some common ones are general malaise, exhaustion, restlessness, muscle tension, weight gain, sluggishness or that tired but wired feeling.
Naturopathic doctors can determine where on the spectrum you might be and then work with you to support your body with nutrients and lifestyle changes that will help you understand what your body really needs. Helping you discover your limits is an essential key to getting you out of the HPA dysfunction cycle.
If your gut is inflamed you won’t be able to digest food properly. Your ability to properly absorb the nutrients you need will be compromised. This can leave you feeling run down. Inflammation in the gut can be a result of things as simple as eating on the run, not enough variety in your meals, poor food choices, skipping meals or more complex like chronic constipation, SIBO, IBS, trauma, heartburn, or reflux.
Naturopathic doctors always talk to you about your digestion. Where necessary, there are many useful lab tests that a naturopathic doctor can order to further assess the health of your gut. It is a crucial part of the bigger picture and can be an underlying factor in so many symptoms of ill health.
How does it sound to be like a kid again, with all day energy?
Does your fatigue have you plopping on the couch at the end of your day with zero motivation to do anything else? Are you curious about how naturopathic medicine can support you in transforming your health from a place of surviving to a place of thriving? Schedule your FREE discovery call NOW and let’s chat. I have helped hundreds of people just like you so let’s get started today.
Dr. Kim Gowetor
Naturopath Sherwood Park
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