Chronic Fatigue - Unrelenting Exhaustion
Chronic Fatigue is a symptom of an underlying condition. Some possible conditions connected to fatigue include
- Cortisol (stress hormone) dysregulation
- Glandular fever
- Thyroid disorder (blood test may be in range but not optimal)
- Glucose dysregulation (Insulin resistance, pre diabetes, diabetes)
The adrenal glands sit just above the kidneys and they produce a variety of hormones as part of the stress response system.
The stress response system is known as the HPA axis. It is called this because it involves the Hypothalamus, the Pituitary gland, and the Adrenal glands. The hypothalamus is constantly keeping a lookout for danger and is ready to respond at any moment. When it senses danger, the hypothalamus sends a signal to the Pituitary gland which then signals the adrenals to respond. The adrenals then release stress hormones to handle the situation. One of these hormones is cortisol.
Cortisol is a stress hormone and it can be public enemy number one. When your cortisol levels become elevated from stress it can interfere with your body in many ways such as headaches, insomnia, difficulty breathing, pounding heart, aching back, stomach ache, not in the mood (for anything), irregular periods, infertility, low immune system, liver problems and fatigue.
What is even worse is when your cortisol levels are elevated over a long period of time it can cause the above symptoms to become worse and also lead to depression, anxiety and chronic fatigue.
Fatigue can be connected with having had glandular fever in the past. It may take you longer to recover from fatigue than others around you or you may just never feel like you can recover from fatigue. You might keep getting sick all the time and stay sick for a long time. Generally you just don't feel well and haven't since you had glandular fever.
If changes aren't made to your lifestyle it can lead to chronic fatigue, if you experience symptoms of long term (chronic) fatigue where you can barely get out of bed then the chances are pretty high that you have had glandular fever and it is the main cause of this. Generally speaking for most people you would also have a sore throat quite frequently that never eventuates into anything.
When your metabolism slows down you begin to feel a bit sluggish and getting up and moving around is harder than it used to be. Then the fatigue kicks in, weight starts to build up, and you may even get puffiness, brain fog or maybe some gut issues as well. These are all signs of a sluggish metabolism and it is coming from your thyroid.
Don’t tell me, you’ve had your thyroid checked out and everything is fine, but you don’t feel fine or you're on medication and still don't feel any better. I hear this ALL the time in clinic.
This is what Naturopath's call Subclinical hypothyroidism. The blood test results don’t match with how you feel and how you present to me in clinic.
There are many ways hypothyroidism can develop and here is an interesting example.
Liver function slows, preventing the dumping of toxins leading to a decline in gut function, which then leads to an increase in adrenal function which can suppress thyroid hormone conversion. Everything is connected.
Liver is also involved in the conversion of thyroid hormones to their active form, T4 needs to be converted to active T3 and this occurs in many different tissues and organs. Mainly in the liver, the gut, skeletal muscle, brain, and the thyroid gland itself. If your liver is under functioning eg fatty liver, slow detox pathways then there will be an issue with conversion.
When thyroid hormones don't convert one of the major symptoms is fatigue.
Pre diabetes and type 2 diabetes both start with insulin resistance. What is the biggest most obvious symptoms of insulin resistance - FATIGUE. The question then is what is insulin resistance and how do we get it?
It is a condition where the liver, muscle, and fat cells stop responding to instructions from a hormone called insulin to take glucose from the blood and use it for energy. The result is excess levels of glucose stay in the blood causing inflammation and damage. When you can't use the glucose you have you will have no energy.
The most common cause of insulin resistance that is talked about is excess processed carbohydrates/sugar consumption. Yes, food is a big contributing factor BUT there is another to consider.
The stress response system releases the stress hormones from the adrenal glands and this includes cortisol. Over a long period of time of cortisol continuously being released it can reduce the body's sensitivity to insulin. This is insulin resistance and insulin resistance equal FATIGUE.
There is an increase in blood pressure when we are stressed and this increase in blood pressure is further enhanced by insulin resistance making it worse, it becomes like a viscous circle. Stress increasing your blood pressure and causing insulin resistance then the insulin resistance makes the blood pressure go higher all leading to heart issues.
When will it stop? When we correct the underlying causes, gut health, liver health and thyroid health.
Who am I?
I am a Bachelor qualified Naturopath who specialises in improving metabolic processes in the body. Major areas for improvement include gut, thyroid, kidney, skin and liver health. Conditions such as hypothyroidism, fatty liver, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, & irritable bowel conditions. I help my patients by giving them symptomatic relief while working on repairing the underlying causes of metabolic stress and waste accumulation. Patients experience amazing results which are seen in their blood tests with improved thyroid markers, cholesterol, and liver markers. As well as lower blood pressure and see relief from improved gastrointestinal symptoms like the ones that mean you need to know where every single toilet is before you leave the house.
Melissa Callaghan ND, BHSc, BTeach
Appointments can be made for in our clinic as well as through our video chat software. I help people all over the country and post their products out to them. I can help you too.
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- Tags: Adrenals, Blood pressure, brainfog, Cardiovascular disease, Chronic fatigue, Diabetes, fatigue, Gut, Heart, Hormones, hypothyroidism, Inflammation, insulin, Liver, Mental Health, Obesity, Stress, Thyroid, Weight, weight gain