When I walk down the street, it alarms me how many people are drinking high caffeine drinks such as Red-bull, is this the new normal? Since the 1990’s cafe coffee culture exploded on to our high streets and now more people than ever have their regular caffeine hits throughout the day. Caffeine and sugar seem to be the drugs of choice to push us through the day when our energy levels dip, but what seems normal to us now, actually is quite alarming when you think about it in the cold light of day. We are taking drugs just to get through our normal daily activites. Pushing our bodies beyond their natural limits for the benefit of others, not our own health, which actually should be the priority if we are going to function meaningfully in our own lives.
Tiredness is difficult to define, since everyone has their own idea of what being tired means. We can all feel tired after a long day, but what is the difference between that, and feeling fatigued, which is a type of chronic tiredness, linked to a whole host of health conditions such as; Chronic fatigue Syndrome, thyroid issues, mental health concerns, metabolic disorders, Infectious diseases, sleep disorders, heart and lung conditions, and effects of medication.
Feeling tired is often a result of 12-14 waking hours spent in physical and mental work plus emotional interactions. This kind of tiredness is relieved by a break from the daily work routine, doing something relaxing such as listening to music and a good night’s sleep. Fatigue on the other hand is a type of chronic tiredness that is not so easily addressed.
Fatigue is a feeling of low physical and/or mental energy and motivation, at times accompanied by sleepiness, such that the patient finds it difficult to perform daily activities. This condition is often described as being tired all the time, lethargy, weariness, exhaustion, malaise, listlessness, lassitude and feeling worn out or run down. Fatigue, as compared to routine tiredness, lasts for a longer duration and does not reduce by physical and mental rest alone.
This led me to question, how can an individual decipher for themselves if they are tired or fatigued? Firstly I would recommend a trip to the doctors to get some simple blood tests, which can easily identify a health condition, such as thyroid abnormalities, which could be causing your tiredness. The doctors, however knowledgeable, don’t always have the answers. Blood tests can often come back normal even when you feel terrible, glandular fever, which is difficult to “catch” in a blood test is a good example of this.
So what else can you do to further investigate your tiredness? In short, look at the obvious things first, and treat it like a process of elimination. What is your sleep routine like, do you sleep well for around 8-9 hours a night? Is your diet well balanced. Are you getting good quality rest periods in the day? Are you drinking enough water? Do you have good mental health? Are you coping with stress effectively.
In the next few weeks we will look at the variable factors that could be contributing to your feelings of tiredness, and what you could do to maximise your bodies ability to replenish and energise itself. We will then move to discuss fatigue management, treatment and recovery, if you fall into the fatigued rather than tired category.
If you do feel consumed by fatigue, fear not, Fran always has a plan for your path out of fatigue and into health. Come down to Spinal Solutions for a health check and chat.
Until next week, have a wonderful time on planet earth.