Annapolis Integrative Medicine
1819 Bay Ridge Avenue
Annapolis, MD 21403
“I’m So Tired!” – Getting Your Energy Back
Physicians are accustomed to seeing patients for life threatening illnesses and acute emergencies. But what is far more common is hearing patients say, “I am sooo tired, I can barely make it through my day…I need to get my life back…and losing some weight would be really great also!”
Often (but not always) these are men and women in their 40s, 50s or 60s. Often they are people who have gained weight, have chronic sleep issues, and often have diffuse body pain or gastrointestinal complaints.
The first question to ask is when did this begin, and was the onset sudden or gradual? Were you under a lot of stress at the time prior to the onset? What changed in your life? Sometimes the issue is not clear.
Sleep is the next issue to deal with. Regardless of the underlying problem if people are not sleeping, or are dealing with sleep apnea or that of their partners, they will not get well until they are sleeping deeply and soundly.
Then an extended set of lab tests is done to look at hormone status such as thyroid, adrenal, testosterone in both men and women, and menopausal status in women.
Iron, B12 and vitamin D are tested and corrected if not normal.
Evidence of inflammation or infection is then dealt with, including chronic viral and tick borne diseases.
Many patients in this group are dealing with chronic gastrointestinal diseases. The most common issues are gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or IBS (which is largely due to SIBO). To deal with this look at any possible food sensitivities (beginning with an elimination diet or food allergy testing), then have a breath test to detect SIBO, and make sure there is no evidence for pancreatic disease, (which can cause chronic diarrhea, gall bladder problems), or a chronic infection of the intestinal tract, (which can cause all kinds of problems).
Chronic stress is the next concern to deal with. When the fight/flight nervous system is chronically activated, people don’t sleep, the GI system is “confused,” they are more likely to have chronic pain, headaches, palpitations, and all kinds of other issues. Trying to reduce stress, or more importantly to better cope with stress given that stress is a fact of life is key to getting well. Acupuncture, massage, and cognitive behavioral therapy are recommended to address this.
Finally, there are tiny organelles in every cell called mitochondria, which are the energy factories of our bodies. These can malfunction due to toxins, heavy metals, and nutritional deficiencies. Addressing this can make an enormous difference.
Lastly don’t give up, there is an answer – you just have to find it.