More MS news articles for May 2002

Managing Fatigue

Fatigue is a symptom that challenges doctors. It is hard to define because it can feel different for each individual

Mayo Clinic

ROCHESTER, MINN -- Fatigue is a symptom that challenges doctors. It is hard to define because it can feel different for each individual. According to June's Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource, fatigue is perplexing because it can accompany many different physical ailments, and it can also be related to anxiety, depression, not enough sleep, too much sleep, lack of exercise, too much exercise or stress.

A physician will usually proceed like a detective, getting as much information about your symptoms and medical history as possible, and then following leads and exploring possibilities. The doctor may uncover a medical disorder such as a thyroid imbalance, anemia, depression or diabetes. If no illness is found, your doctor may recommend these approaches to managing your fatigue.

* Exercise gradually but steadily. Start slowly, so you don't increase your fatigue, and try to build up to 20 to 30 minutes of activity per day.

* Learn stress-reduction techniques such as deep breathing or meditation.

* Set a manageable and even pace. Set priorities and manage your time and energy efficiently.

* Practice good sleep habits. Establish a ritual for going to bed. Limit naps, don't take work to bed, don't consume caffeine (from coffee, teas, colas and chocolate) and maintain a firm time for going to bed and waking up.

* Eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water. Don't fill up on high-fat or sugary foods, which tend to make you feel sluggish.

Remember, you weren't always tired all of the time. Whether an underlying medical condition or an overwhelmingly busy life brings on fatigue, practical strategies can eventually improve your energy level.

Shelly Plutowski
507-284-5005 (days)
507-284-2511 (evenings)

Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource is published monthly to help women enjoy healthier, more productive lives. Revenue from subscriptions is used to support medical research at Mayo Clinic. To subscribe, please call 800-351-8963, extension 9PK1.

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