7 tips for diagnosing and treating fatigue

October 2, 2015

If you’re eating well and getting enough sleep, there’s no reason for you to be feeling fatigue. If you are feeling tired all of the time, these tips will help you to get to the bottom of your condition and know how to treat it effectively.

7 tips for diagnosing and treating fatigue

1. Depression screening

Feeling fatigued and tired regardless of how much you're sleeping is a primary symptom of depression. Ask your doctor to administer a depression screening test or just answer the following two questions. Studies find they’re as good as longer screenings at predicting depression.

  • Over the past two weeks, have you felt down, depressed, or hopeless?
  • Over the past two weeks, have you felt little interest or pleasure in doing things?

If you answer 'yes' to these questions, see your doctor for a more complete examination.

2. Polypharmy

If you take different medications, gather them together and take the to your doctor for advice. Polypharmy, or taking multiple medications, is a common cause of tiredness. Ask the doctor if this could be the reason you're so low on energy.

3. Get a blood test

Anemia, or low levels of oxygen-carrying red blood cells, is a major cause of fatigue in older people, occurring in about 11 percent of men and 10 percent of women over 65. A simple blood test can indicate if you're anemic, and a course of prescription-strength iron or other medications can improve anemia within a few weeks.

4. Iron supplement for women

One study of 144 women who had chronic fatigue found that most had low iron levels, although not low enough for an anemia diagnosis. After one month, levels of fatigue dropped by 29 percent in women taking iron compared to a 13 percent improvement in the placebo group. The appropriate dosage is about just eight milligrams a day.

5. Roseroot for a herbal solution

Supplements of Rhodiola rosea L, also called Arctic root or roseroot, can improve fatigue. It's considered an adaptogenic herb, meaning it helps strengthen your body systems to better manage stress. The plant is used in traditional medicine to stimulate the nervous system and reduce depression, so it makes sense that it could help with tiredness. Check with your doctor first about any possible interactions with other medications you're taking.

6. Siberian ginseng

Another adaptogen, this herb significantly improved symptoms among 45 people with moderate fatigue as compared to a placebo group.

7. Choose the right antioxidant

One that seems to help people with unexplained chronic fatigue is coenzyme Q10. Certain medications can reduce levels of this important antioxidant in the body. It’s particularly effective for the widely prescribed cholesterol drugs called statins.

8. Take a B vitamin supplement

The older you get, the harder it is to absorb vitamin B12, a key energy vitamin, from food. Talk to your doctor about taking a B-complex supplement. It's best to take your Bs together rather than in single supplements since they have a synergistic effect.

Easy ways to deal with fatigue

Feeling tired all of the time is not normal but can be treated. Follow these steps and you’ll fight your fatigue and feel better in no time.

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