Fatigue: Slowly killing modern man…

Have you ever looked around and realized that the high majority of people around you are tired?

I would bet that fatigue is possibly the most substantial complaint that doctors and other health practitioners get hit with every day. And so what’s the solution ? Most the time nothing in the eyes of the medical system…. Unless blood tests reveal an obvious answer, you will be sent away & told to ‘take it easy’ – easier said than done unfortunately when a high pressure job & family beckon.

So what causes us to feel so lousy?

Well there are obvious disease processes which need to be ruled out….. Metabolic disease (diabetes, hypothyroidism etc), autoimmunity, any of the anaemia’s, sleep apnoea, cancer, infection (inc virus), haemochromatosis, and hypoglycaemia to name a few. But what if your bloods are clear, yet you still feel terrible?

In naturopathy, we spend time analysing the non-pathogenic presentations which result in fatigue; liver insufficiency leading to poor glycogenolysis function and therefore fatigue, post-viral syndrome inc chronic fatigue syndrome, stress induced adrenal fatigue, poor macronutrient ingestion including protein & essential fatty acid deficiency, vitamin & mineral deficiencies, iatrogenic causes (relating to possible pharmaceutical drug causes), poor sleep quality, allergy and many others.

To the defence of our doctors, by the time a person presents to me complaining of fatigue, the blood tests have already been performed & I am able to deduce what i am not dealing with ; its often a process of elimination which gp’s & specialists help me with. Unfortunately when nothing conclusive is found, the patient is sent away with no answers and therefore no direction. This is very frustrating for the patient, and equally for practitioners like myself. The fatigue is at this point often deemed ‘psychosomatic’, and the patient is too often treated with antidepressant therapy or nothing at all.

And so why is fatigue so apparent nowadays?

This is a very interesting question. What is it that has led to fatigue becoming such a pertinent problem? My personal view on this is to do with the fast paced nature of our lives. A simple existence has been replaced with this high pressure / high stress, technology fuelled life which continues to escalate. Only 30 years ago life was very different…

Families had one small car, and a 2-3 bedroom house with a small mortgage. Dad’s income was sufficient in most cases to allow mum to stay home and look after the children, and kids were left to make their own fun in the backyard. 30 years on, and we have both parents working while trying desperately to manage the family, credit card and interest on loans not allowing for a let-up, 2 cars because we couldn’t possibly cope with one, and a need for material instant gratification that means we are always financially on ‘redline’.

And so the stress continues. We have no time for each other anymore, or ourselves, as we are caught in the web of modern day existence. I actually believe that if people were able to just stop and literally smell the roses, we wouldn’t have the global energy struggle. I urge you to consider this thought and take a little time for yourself everyday – you deserve it!




Shannon Brenton
Shannon Brenton

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