Has Your Get Up And Go Got Up And Left?

Vernon Coleman

Has your get up and go got up and left you?

Do you fell washed out? Fatigued? Short of energy? Do you have difficulty in getting through the day without having a rest?

You aren't alone!

On an average sort of day in an average sort of town the average sort of doctor will see at least one patient complaining of feeling tired.

Drug companies and patent medicine manufacturers sell millions of pounds worth of tonics and potions designed to help overcome these symptoms.

Go into your local pharmacy and you'll see row upon row of bottles and packets full of medicines and tablets designed to give you energy.

But buying a bottle of magic "tonic" from your local chemist isn't necessarily the best answer for tiredness.

Nearly half the patients who complain of tiredness are suffering from a specific, genuine physical problem.

And most of the rest have a social or psychological problem.

A bottle of tonic will merely paper over the cracks. It won't deal with the underlying problem.

If you are for ever feeling tired then you really should go and see your doctor and get a check up. A simple physical examination and a few blood tests may well provide the answer - and help your GP solve your problem permanently.

Meanwhile, here is a list of some of the commonest causes of tiredness - together with other symptoms and possible treatments.

1. Sleeplessness
We recharge our batteries when we're asleep. If you're not sleeping properly then you're bound to feel tired. And sleeping pills aren't the answer - if taken for more than a couple of weeks they can cause sleeplessness. Get your doctor to find out why you aren't sleeping. And if you have difficulty sleeping maybe try this simple regime:

* Exercise gently for 10 to 20 minutes. (Do this indoors unless you live in a totally safe neighbourhood.)
* Think through your day's problems. Write down your worries in a notebook.
* Spend 15 minutes in a soothing bath.
* Go to bed with a relaxing book.

2. Poor eating habits
Your blood carries food and oxygen around your body. If your diet doesn't contain enough iron then your blood will be "thin" and won't do its job properly. You can avoid this problem by eating a good, healthy diet which includes plenty of dark green vegetables. But if your think you could be anaemic don't try treating yourself - see your doctor.

3. Post viral fatigue syndrome
After a viral infection - such as 'flu or hepatitis - many people feel tired and washed out. Some people stay washed out for months. They may be suffering from "post viral fatigue syndrome". This is especially common among men and women in their 20s and 30s. It causes mental and physical tiredness. Patients complain that they can't remember things and that they are clumsy and uncoordinated. There is no specific treatment - but patients who rest when they are at their weakest may get better quickest. Get medical advice if you think you could be suffering from this or any other cause of tiredness.

4. Hormonal problems
Two specific hormone problems cause tiredness - diabetes and an underactive thyroid gland. Suspect diabetes if you feel thirsty, need to pass urine often, notice a weight change or suffer frequently from boils - though many other symptoms are possible. Remember diabetes runs in families.

Suspect thyroid problems if your other symptoms include: poor memory, hoarse voice, thin hair, muscle cramps, poor appetite, weight gain, constipation, low sex drive and a hatred of cold weather.

Your doctor will probably be able to treat both these conditions effectively.

5. Overwork
If you work too hard - and constantly push yourself to your limits - then you'll feel tired! The answer is obvious - you need to rest occasionally. And make sure that when you rest you really do rest. Try to get away completely every few months.

Copyright Vernon Coleman 2006