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Physical or mental weariness resulting from exertion.
Persons most commonly affected: All age groups and both sexes.
Organ or part of body involved: The whole body.
Symptoms and indications: Weakness, lack of energy, tiredness, exhaustion, passing out or feeling as if you are going to pass out, palpitations (feeling your heart beating), dizziness, vertigo and shortness of breath.
Causes and risk factors: Fatigue may be the result of one or more environmental causes such as inadequate rest, improper diet, work and home stressors, or poor physical conditioning, or one symptom of a chronic medical condition or disease process in the body. Heart disease, low blood pressure, diabetes, end-stage renal disease, iron-deficiency anemia, narcolepsy, and cancer can cause long-term, ongoing fatigue symptoms. Acute illnesses such as viral and bacterial infections can also trigger temporary feelings of exhaustion. In addition, mental disorders such as depression can also cause fatigue.
Prevention: Inadequate or inappropriate nutritional intake can cause fatigue symptoms. To maintain an adequate energy supply and promote overall physical well-being, individuals should eat a balanced diet and observe the following nutritional guidelines:
Drinking plenty of water: Individuals should try to drink 9 to 12 glasses of water a day. Dehydration can reduce blood volume, which leads to feelings of fatigue.
Eating iron-rich foods (i.e., liver, raisins, spinach, apricots):
Iron enables the blood to transport oxygen throughout the tissues, organs, and muscles, and diminished oxygenation of the blood can result in fatigue.
Avoiding high-fat meals and snacks:
High fat foods take longer to digest, reducing blood flow to the brain, heart, and rest of the body while blood flow is increased to the stomach.
Eating unrefined carbohydrates and proteins together for sustained energy.
Limiting protein to 15-20 grams per meal and two snacks of 15 grams is recommended, but not getting enough protein adds to fatigue. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should get more protein.
Individuals should only eat when they're hungry, and stop when they're full. An overstuffed stomach can cause short-term fatigue, and individuals who are overweight are much more likely to regularly experience fatigue symptoms.
Lifestyle factors such as a high-stress job, erratic work hours, lack of social or family support, or erratic sleep patterns can all cause prolonged fatigue. If stress is an issue, a number of relaxation therapies and techniques are available to help alleviate tension, including massage, yoga, aromatherapy, hydrotherapy, progressive relaxation exercises, meditation, and guided imagery. Some individuals may also benefit from individual or family counseling or psychotherapy sessions to work through stress-related fatigue that is a result of family or social issues. Maintaining healthy sleep patterns is critical to proper rest. Having a set "bedtime" helps to keep sleep on schedule. A calm and restful sleeping environment is also important to healthy sleep. Above all, the bedroom should be quiet and comfortable, away from loud noises and with adequate window treatments to keep sunlight and streetlights out. Removing distractions from the bedroom such as televisions and telephones can also be helpful.