By Stephanie Moore, MD
Don’t be one of those women who accept being overly exhausted. Kids, house, work, life—I get it. It is still very unusual to have sheer exhaustion for an extended period of time. The physical complaint of being “worn out” is one of women’s top five health concerns when they visit their doctor. Here is a checklist of seven biggies that cause an overwhelming desire for a spa day (and a well deserved one).
That little gland in the middle of your neck is your energy guru. Either overactive or under active, it can create major fatigue. If it's under-active your energy just cannot get that boost. If it is overactive your energy stores burn out quickly. Thyroid problems are common in women, especially post pregnancy.
Women manifest symptoms of heart disease differently than men. Twice as many women die of stroke or heart disease than any other form of cancer. If you have risk factors such as obesity, diabetes or high blood pressure be sure to have an annual physical.
Vitamin D deficiency has been a large part of growing studies. For women, deficiency in this vitamin can lead to impaired bone strength. A simple blood test can help resolve the question. Reasons why we are deficient? Many women have milk allergies; we have decreased exposure to sun, which promotes vitamin metabolism; many women are vegan or vegetarian. The recommended amount is 600 IU daily for women under 70 and 800iu for women over 70.
Iron deficiency can be a major cause of anemia and fatigue. Once again, following a strict vegan or vegetarian diet can decrease iron rich foods you intake. Folate is also important for red blood cell metabolism—and therefore energy. Also, a female can lose a lot of blood during her period and this can lead to chronic anemia. If you do follow a strict diet, it is worth seeing a nutritionist once to be sure that you have proper vitamin and mineral supplementation to keep your blood count adequate.
This is a major under diagnosed disorder in women. If you snore, please tell your doctor. Sleep apnea is a condition that halts your breathing through the night and your brain wakes you up to restart the flow of breathing. The result... you never get great deep sleep and feel very tired during the day. Treatment can really change your life. If overweight, weight loss will also be recommended.
Depression and fatigue fuel one another, it seems. Biggest advice, talk with your doctor about how you are feeling. Treating depression, even beginning to acknowledge it, will help. Why live with something treatable?
When juggling so very much, women over-burn the midnight oil. I know that after the kids go to bed I often put in another hour of work and then load/empty/reload the dishwasher and the list doesn’t end. One night a week just go to bed and get that full eight hours... trust me, the dishes aren’t going anywhere on their own