Why am I always tired

Why am I always tired?

What can I do to improve my energy?

“I feel exhausted, depressed and unable to enjoy life.”

“I have had many tests done and been told there is nothing wrong with me, that it’s all in my head and I need antidepressants.”

“It feels like I have been tired forever. I never feel as though I have enough sleep, I wake unrefreshed.”

Do any of these statements sound like you?

You may have achieved some improvement by focusing on one piece of the puzzle, but often sustained results are only achieved when we see the whole picture and understand the points at which to intervene.

Names that are given to two major chronic, long-term, conditions are Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndromes. 

Fibromyalgia is characterised by a combination of chronic, widespread musculoskeletal pain and tenderness, accompanied by varying degrees of fatigue, sleep disturbance, pain and stiffness, cognitive dysfunction and high levels of distress. Headaches, dizziness, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression are often present also.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a condition characterised by persistent and relapsing fatigue lasting longer than 6 months, often accompanied by a number of symptoms including headache, joint pain, gastrointestinal disturbance, cognitive dysfunction, visual disturbance and a prickling to tingling sensation in the skin. Discomfort after exertion, unrefreshing sleep, impaired memory or concentration, muscle and joint pain, sore throat and tender lymph nodes.

Similar but different - In fibromyalgia, pain is the primary symptom with associated fatigue, mood disorders and nervous system symptoms. In chronic fatigue the key symptom is fatigue, with brain fog, pain and immune dysfunction as secondary. 

For many people, the two conditions may be co-existing and it may be difficult or unnecessary to apply the ‘correct’ label, as naturopathic treatment approaches are similar and individualised based on what is happening for you at the time we see you.

There is a part of every cell, the mitochondria, responsible for producing energy. Damage to these organelles caused by inflammatory triggers, create oxidative damage to critical components, the DNA and the membranes. These are the information and communication centres of the cell which must be in pristine condition to enable the cell to perform its specialised functions.

Oxidative damage is known to damage the DNA, and plays a key role in many chronic diseases. There’s good news and bad news about oxygen - we absolutely need it, however with its unpaired electron it can modify the structure of cell membrane phospholipids, creating crucial changes in receptors and cell markers that can have catastrophic effects on cell to cell communication throughout the body. 

Damage to a nerve cell may mean it is unable to receive the mood regulating signal from serotonin. Damage to a muscle cell may attract the unwanted attention of the immune system, due to the ‘foreign’ appearance of its surface molecules, generating an autoimmune response.

If you would like more information on any of these topics please feel free to email me rahn@aswellas.co.nz

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