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Why You Feel Tired

Do you ever just feel tired for no reason?

Let’s talk about fatigue.

Fatigue can affect you in several ways. You may have less energy to exercise. You may have trouble concentrating, staying alert, and remembering things. You may anger easily and become more socially isolated.

If fatigue appears suddenly or becomes more frequent, it could be related to several common medical conditions or lifestyle changes. You should consult your doctor to see if you have any of the following issues causing fatigue, thus delaying weight loss:

Anemia. This occurs when your blood has too few red blood cells or those cells have too little hemoglobin, a protein that transports oxygen through the bloodstream. The result is a drop in energy levels. 

Heart disease. Heart disease can cause the heart to pump blood less efficiently and lead to fluid in the lungs. This can cause shortness of breath and reduce the oxygen supply to the heart and lungs, making you tired.

Hypothyroidism. An underactive thyroid gland can cause fatigue along with other symptoms such as weight gain, weakness, dry skin, feeling cold, and constipation. You can have a doctor order blood tests to check this.

Sleep problems. Sleep apnea is characterized by pauses in your breathing, often 

lasting several seconds, or shallow breathing, while you sleep. It is common among older adults and those who are overweight. 

Another sleep-related issue is an overactive bladder or enlarged prostate, which forces repeated nighttime bathroom trips. Either of these can disturb your sleep enough to leave you feeling tired the next day.

Medication. Certain medications can make you feel tired, such as blood pressure drugs, antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and antihistamines. People react to medications differently and they often end up taking more as they get older.

Check with your doctor, especially if you have added a new medication or recently increased your dosage. Sometimes it helps to take certain medicines, which may cause fatigue, at night rather than in the daytime.

Low-grade depression or anxiety. Mental health issues often drain energy levels. You may suffer from depression or anxiety and not even know it, because you are so used to it. If your body is tense, typically your spirit is anxious.

Get a boost!

When normal, everyday fatigue strikes, there are ways to boost your energy levels, For example:

  • Drink a cup of coffee or tea. A little caffeine can jump-start your day, she says. You don't need more than that, but it can offer a mental and physical lift, especially if you have trouble with morning fatigue. Also consider ice water.

  • Go for a 30-minute walk. "If you can't get outside, walk around your house in bouts of 10 to 15 minutes, two to three times a day," says Dr. Salamon.

  • Take a nap. A midday nap can help overcome tiredness later in the day. Keep naps to about 20 to 30 minutes, as studies have suggested that napping for 40 minutes or longer can have the opposite effect and leave you feeling groggy rather than refreshed. Also, don't nap too late in the day.

  • Skip the alcohol. Cut back on your alcohol intake, or even eliminate alcohol for a few weeks.

Many of my clients struggle with migraines, and I have good news for you guys: in May, the FDA approved erenumab (Aimovig), the first medication aimed at preventing these debilitating headaches. Injected once a month, it works by blocking a molecule (calcitonin gene-related peptide) involved in migraine attacks, and compared with other drugs, it appears to have fewer side effects (primarily constipation and injection site reactions). "This drug is for people who have more than four migraines per month, but it won't take migraines away entirely," says Dr. Gad Marshall, a neurologist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital. 

I hope this helps clarify why you may be feeling fatigued! For questions or comments, please contact


Leah Peters

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