ARE YOU TIRED AND DON’T KNOW WHY?
Too exhausted to get out of bed to face the day? Most people blame it on insomnia and disrupted sleep,
which may well be the case, but sleeplessness is just one of the many factors that turn you into a grumpy
gnome at the thought of getting started each day.
Sleeplessness could be a sign of stress, sleep apnea and depression, and persistent, relapsing fatigue
after six to eight hours of sleep could indicate an undiagnosed disease such as diabetes, hypothyroidism
(underactive thyroid), cancers, or congestive heart failure, among others.
For most of us, however, the underlying causes triggering chronic tiredness are lifestylerelated and can
be managed, with or without prescription medicines.
Emotional stress and frustration can leave you physically exhausted, reported a study in published online
in the journal Human Factors. The study found that overloading the brain and body simultaneously activates
the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain that controls complex thought and decision-making. Too much
stress on it fatigues you faster.
Under stress, adrenalin peaks and raises heart rate and blood pressure, tenses muscles and makes
breathing rapid and shallow. The hormone cortisol stimulates the release of energy, flooding the body with
glucose, fatty acids and amino acids. Prolonged stress, however, forces the body to cope with this heightened
state of physical stress, making it collapse as soon as your guard drops.
Air pollution can make you lethargic and forgetful and lowers productivity. Apart from irritating the
airways and lungs and causing asthma and lung diseases, PM10 (fine particle matter, dust, soot) and ozone
destroy red blood cells and lower the body’s oxygencarrying capacity, starving the brain, muscles and
organs. The resultant exhaustion is compounded by complex interactions between SO2, CO and NO2,
reported researchers in the International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics, in June.
Among the indoor air pollutants that cause fatigue are secondhand smoke, carbon monoxide, and volatile
organic compounds, which include chemicals found in paints, cleaning agents, pesticides, air
fresheners, and building material.
Fatigue is the most common symptom of anaemia, which occurs when your body does not have enough
haemoglobin — the ironcontaining protein in red blood cells — to carry oxygen from the lungs. Even mild
anaemia makes you tired, sluggish, forgetful and absentminded.
If the deficiency is not acute, an iron-rich diet is enough to push haemoglobin levels over the
recommended 13 gm/dl. Haem iron — from animal sources such as red meat, chicken liver, shrimp, oysters
and eggs — have high bioavailability and are easily absorbed by the body, with 15% to 35% being utilised by
the body as compared to the 2% to 10% from fortified cereals, legumes, leafy vegetables, etc.
Cookin g in an iron pot or pan pushes up iron content in cooked food, while Vitamin C sources — fresh
lemon or citrus fruit juice, for example — raise iron absorption from vegetarian food by making the stomach
more acidic. Tea, coffee, colas and other caffeine drinks lower
Fatigue is a major symptom of depressive disorders. Depressive disorders are usually accompanied by
other emotional disturbances, diminished focus, wordfinding difficulties, and recall problems, reports the
journal Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience. The lethargy is likely to be accompanied by feelings of low self-worth,
nervousness, sleeplessness, overeating or appetite loss and excessive worrying. Depression affects
twice as many women as men and signs usually first appear between the ages of 15 and 30.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, causes overwhelming,
debilitating fatigue from unexplained causes. Suspected triggers include immune system gone awry,
nutritional deficiencies, viral infection and metabolic abnormalities, but there is no agreement on the causes.
Most people with CFS also have recurring headaches, muscles and joint pain and muscular weakness.
A new study released this week reported that people with chronic fatigue have higher levels of visual
stress and experienced discomfort and exhaustion from viewing repetitive striped patterns, such as when
Reading text. The results of the study, which is published in the journal Perception, suggest visual system
abnormalities in people with CFS are an identifiable and easily measurable behavioural marker and can help
in it’s diagnosis.
Source-The Hindustan Times 29.11.15-http://paper.hindustantimes.com/epaper/viewer.aspx