Lack of energy is something that seems to plague us all as we become busier with our lives. But there is a fine line between when low energy is a result of being busy, and when it’s a sign of something more serious.
Fatigue and lack of energy are oftentimes reported as symptoms of what later turns out to be a sobering health concern. If you’ve been noticing your energy has taken a nosedive of late, here are some illnesses it could be pointing to.
If you’ve been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you may notice you’re feeling quite low in energy. There are numerous factors as to why people with diabetes feel tired all the time. For starters, when glucose levels are high, the body’s ability to get sugar from the blood to the cells to meet our energy demand fails, which causes fatigue. Another scenario is when glucose levels become too low, leading to low energy.
If you haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes and have noticed a change in your energy, see your doctor to check your glucose levels. And if you do have diabetes, make sure you’re taking the proper steps for regulating your blood sugar to maximize all-day energy.
2. Chronic fatigue syndrome
If you have some days full of energy and others of low to none, you do not have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). But if your low energy has continued every day for quite some time, it’s a sign to get yourself checked. CFS often is hard to diagnose because, as I mentioned, fatigue is a common symptom of many other illnesses. If a patient expresses they’re tired all the time, doctors may run alternative tests to determine other causes.
The Mayo Clinic reports there’s no known cause of CFS, but theories run from viral infections to psychological stress. Some symptoms of CFS, besides fatigue, are enlarged nymph nodes, sore throat, loss of memory or concentration, moving pain within the joints that do not swell or turn red, headaches, and unrefreshing sleep. There is no cure for CFS, but treatment will help to lessen the symptoms. Antidepressants and sleeping pills may be prescribed to ease the mind, as well as cognitive therapy.
3. Iron deficiency
Most commonly found in women – but men are not excluded – an iron deficiency can lead to lack of energy and even anemia. Iron deficiency is when the body has a lack of iron or cannot absorb it effectively. Our bodies require iron for important bodily functions; for example, iron helps carry oxygen from our lungs to the rest of our body.
A simple blood test can tell you whether or not you’re low in iron. If you suspect lack of iron may be causing your fatigue, you may also be feeling weak, become more prone to infections, and your cognitive function may slow down as well.
From a psychological standpoint, people with depression often experience low energy because depression interrupts sleep. Lack of sleep, in itself, causes long-term fatigue and is tied to depression; insomnia only acerbates the fatigue.
Unfortunately, fatigue and depression seem to work hand in hand, according to European research. In one study, researchers noted that although depression and fatigue are separate, they fuel each other, which keeps a person in a chronically depressive, tired state. Because you’re tired and can’t do the things you once loved, you become depressed, which in turn causes further lack of sleep, continuing the viscous cycle over and over again.
Because depression is complicated, getting to the root causes will help with treating it and bringing you back to your energetic self.
Don’t take lack of energy for granted
In today’s hectic world, a lack of energy may seem to be the norm as we take on more tasks and continue to exhaust ourselves. But there comes a point when your low energy is trying to tell you something, and it could be more serious than you think.
Whether you’re experiencing low energy daily or sporadically, and have already tried natural means to boost it – eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep – it may be time to look further into the causes. Don’t you want to get back to those things you love?