Commom Causes of Low Energy Levels
Do you constantly feel tired? Do you wonder why you tire easily? Other questions, which can bug your mind might be: Do I have an undiagnosed disease causing low energy levels? Does my age, poor diet, stress levels (from thinking what could cause your low energy levels) and persistent lack of sleep cause low energy levels? Calm down friend. Let’s address your concerns in this article, shall we?
Fatigue is the sophisticated term used by medical professionals to mean a state of lack of energy and a sense of tiredness. Most of us get tired at some point in our lives, right? What probably concerns us more is the persistence of fatigue despite our best efforts to get rid of it.
The causes of fatigue can be practically divided into two groups:
- fatigue as a result of non-medical factors
- fatigue due to medical factors (illness).
We will touch on some of each so you get an idea what may be causing your low energy.
FATIGUE- NON-MEDICAL FACTORS
1: Not Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep causes fatigue, and can have a negative impact on your overall health and well-being.
Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep every night. Go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time each morning to keep yourself on schedule. Make sure your mattress is comfortable, the room is sufficiently dark and cool, and your cell phone and television is off. If you are still unable to sleep after making changes to your sleep environment, consult a doctor to rule out a sleep disorder.
2: Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.
Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea. Lose weight if you are overweight, quit smoking, and avoid alcohol. Your doctor may also prescribe a CPAP device, which helps keep your airways open while sleeping.
3: Poor diet
If you don’t have enough nutrients and calories in your diet, you can experience low energy levels because your body doesn’t have the tools to keep functioning optimally.
Eat a balanced diet, complete with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein. Avoid or limit junk foods high in sugar and fat.
Iron deficiency anemia is a common cause of fatigue in women. Red blood cells (pictured) carry oxygen throughout the body, and iron is a main component of these cells. Without enough iron, your body may not be getting the oxygen it needs for energy. Women who experience heavy menstrual periods, or are pregnant may be at higher risk for iron deficiency anemia.
If you are anemic due to iron deficiency, you may be able to replenish your body’s iron through diet. Iron-rich foods include meats, beans, tofu, potatoes, broccoli, nuts, iron-enriched cereals, and brown rice. Talk to your doctor if you think you need iron supplements to determine the proper dosage.
Depression causes sadness and anxiety, but it can also cause physical symptoms including fatigue, insomnia, aches and pains.
If you or someone you care about is depressed, seek medical attention. Depression may not resolve without treatment, and there are many treatments including therapy and medications that can help resolve symptoms.
6: Caffeine Overload
Most people take caffeine to help them perk up. In moderation, caffeine does improve alertness and energy. However, too much caffeine can cause jitteriness, increased heart rate or palpitations, high blood pressure, anxiety, and insomnia. In addition, after caffeine wears off, users can ‘crash’ and feel fatigued.
If you drink a lot of coffee, tea, or cola that contains caffeine, or take medications with caffeine, you will need to gradually wean yourself off these drinks, supplements, or medications. You may experience withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly eliminate caffeine entirely, so start slowly. First, start drinking more water and fewer caffeinated beverages every day.
7: Food Allergies
Food allergies can cause fatigue. Certain foods may contribute to chronic fatigue. If you feel sleepy after eating certain foods, it may be intolerance to that food.
The best way to see if you are sensitive or intolerant of a certain food is an elimination diet. Eliminate suspected foods and see if there is an improvement in your energy levels. If you reintroduce the foods and the fatigue returns, the food just may be the cause. Talk to your doctor about the best way to go about an elimination diet.
FATIGUE- MEDICAL FACTORS (ILLNESS)
The thyroid is a gland that regulates the metabolism, or how fast the body converts fuel into energy for your body’s functions. An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) causes fatigue, depression, and weight gain.
A blood test can confirm if a person has hypothyroidism. The good news is that the condition usually responds well to replacement thyroid hormones.
9: Overstaying Foreigners (Chronic Infections)
The word chronic refers to something which persists for a long period of time. These overstaying foreigners can actually last for months or even years. This type of infection can zap away your energy because of the increase in your major stress hormones (cortisol, norepinephrine, epinephrine). The rise in these stress hormones occurs because of an increase in substances called cytokines in your system. Cytokines are chemicals produced by your immune system in response to continued chronic infection. Unless the cause of the chronic infection is addressed, your immune system will continue to produce cytokines. Examples of chronic infections include tuberculosis, hepatitis, gingivitis and Lyme disease.
10: Faulty Waterworks (Kidney Disease)
Low energy levels could be the result of something wrong with your waterworks or kidneys, the organs which produce your pee. Your waterworks produce a substance called erythropoietin (EPO). It tickles (stimulates) your bone marrow (the fatty and yellow stuff inside both ends of your long bones) to produce red blood cells (RBCs). If there’s something wrong with with your waterworks, they may not produce enough EPO. As a consequence, there are insufficient numbers of RBCs to deliver oxygen to your organs. The result? Low energy levels.
This list isn’t by any means a complete list, we have just highlighted some of the common causes of low energy levels. Firstly, try to determine if you’re lack of energy is likely to be due a non-medical factor. These ones may be easily fixed by you. On the other hand, if you identify a medical factor as the cause for your fatigue you will need to seek the help.