Suffering From Chronic Fatigue?
Sleepless nights spent caring for a newborn or worrying about a big project at work can lead to fatigue. But if you experience extreme fatigue when you wake up in the morning even if you slept well that night or you are not able to carry out normal functions, it could be time to see the doctor.
“Chronic fatigue can be frustrating for patients because there are no lab tests to make a diagnosis,” says Lisa DeStefano, DO, the chair of the department of osteopathic manipulative medicine at the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in East Lansing.
Focusing on preventive care, Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, or DOs, know that chronic fatigue affects every aspect of your life. DOs look beyond your symptoms to consider how environmental and lifestyle factors impact your health. They also partner with their patients to help them get healthy and stay well.
“Definitely talk to your primary care physician. Before the visit, track your sleep habits as well as symptoms like sore throat, headache and pain that accompany your fatigue,” says Dr. DeStefano.
When meeting with your primary care physician, be sure to talk about:
- Any physical issues beyond fatigue.
- Any concerns with your emotional well-being, such as depression or anxiety.
- Your sleep history.
- History of your fatigue.
- Any prior lab tests and their findings.
If your doctor suspects you suffer from chronic fatigue, Dr. DeStefano offers the following tips to help manage your fatigue:
- Pay attention to when your body tells you to rest.
- Pursue mindful practices, like yoga, that turn off the alert systems in the brain.
- Get involved with support groups for chronic fatigue.
- Switch to a clean diet of no processed foods, grain-free, dairy free, lean meats, and fruits and veggies cooked well or eaten raw. “There seems to be a relationship between the immune system and diet,” Dr. DeStefano explains.