Diabetes is a chronic disorder where the body’s ability to produce or use insulin is impaired. Insulin is a hormone that helps to regulate the amount of glucose (re: sugar) in the blood. Therefore, if left untreated or poorly managed, diabetes can result in blood sugar levels that are either too high or too low.
If blood sugar levels are too high, the glucose is unable to enter the cells where it is used for energy production. If blood sugar levels are too low, there is not enough glucose in the blood stream to fuel regular cell metabolism. Either of these scenarios can result in fatigue and low energy, among other symptoms.
Diabetes requires proper management through diet, lifestyle, and in some cases, medication. It is important to control blood sugar levels not only to prevent fatigue, but also to reduce risk of heart disease, stroke, loss of kidney function, and nerve damage. Speak with your trusted healthcare professional for more information.
If you’ve ever filled a prescription for medication from your doctor, you know that all medications come with an exhaustive list of potential side effects. Fatigue is often a common one, especially with the following classes of medication: blood pressure medication, birth control pills, antihistamines, oral steroids, anti-depressants, sedatives and sleep aids. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist if you think your medication may be contributing to your low energy, fatigue, or impaired sleep.
Shift work can have a significant impact on sleep, perceived levels of sleepiness, performance, and accident risk, especially if it involves a night shift rotation. It disrupts sleep patterns and impacts normal circadian rhythm. This translates to the body not knowing whether it should be awake or asleep.
If you are a shift worker, unfortunately there is no magic cure for your fatigue, but there are some adjustments you can make to help with the transition back and forth from days to nights.
Day light stimulates your body to make serotonin, a neurochemical that helps you feel alert; and dim light and darkness stimulate melatonin production, the hormone that helps you fall asleep. On your way home after a night shift, wear dark sunglasses to reduce daylight exposure. At home, invest in quality blackout blinds or at the very least, a good eye mask. Make sure your sleep area is free of disruptions and is comfortable to sleep in. It is also important to avoid caffeine or alcohol as these can disrupt production of melatonin as well as a regular sleep cycle.
Whether it be an acute illness, such as the common cold, or chronic infection, such as candida or Epstein-Barr virus, infection can result in feeling energy depleted.
If you struggle from perpetual fatigue with no apparent cause, you may want to speak with your trusted healthcare professional about undergoing investigation for other contributors. A comprehensive health history may be the key in getting to the root cause of your fatigue issues.
Many individuals experience fatigue and low energy as a part of day-to-day life. Circumstances may arise where you are unable to achieve optimal levels of sleep each night; or where significant life stressors have you on edge, juggling too many balls at once. It is important to remember that just like stress, it is normal to feel fatigued every now and again for various reasons. However, when fatigue becomes persistent and unrelenting, when it starts to have significant impacts on your day-to-day life, when it impacts your cognitive and emotional well-being… that is when it is important to make adjustments to care for yourself. This may look like asking a friend or family member to help you out with a favour or two, delegating tasks at work, taking a 5-minute “breather”, taking a vacation, or seeking out professional help for counsel.
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