Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of many physical and emotional ailments. Everything from the common cold to excess stress, too little sleep to improper nutrition, can cause fatigue. In most cases, fatigue is temporary — it clears up when the underlying problem is corrected. But, when fatigue becomes chronic and persistent, it becomes more than just a symptom; it becomes a problem in itself.
Fatigue As A Symptom
Fatigue is often the first noticeable symptom of many diseases, both minor and serious. If you suffer from fatigue (daytime drowsiness, lack of energy, difficulty concentrating) for more than two weeks, it’s time to see a healthcare professional. If there is no obvious reason for your problem (a cold, “flu,” lack of sleep, etc.) your physician may perform tests to rule out conditions that may be causing your fatigue, such as anemia, low blood sugar, hormone imbalances and depression. Fortunately, these conditions and the fatigue they cause can be corrected with appropriate treatment.
Fatigue As A Problem
Many people continue to suffer from chronic, debilitating fatigue even though their physicians can find no apparent reason for their problem. For these people, new research on the Epstein-Barr virus may offer some hope. The Epstein-Barr virus (which causes mononucleosis) is thought by some researchers to be responsible for a condition called CEBV (Chronic Epstein-Barr Virus) which is characterized by chronic fatigue, low-grade fevers, headaches, memory problems, and a host of minor but persistent ailments. Although it is sometimes called the “diagnosis of the 80’s,” CEBV cannot be tested diagnostically nor can it be treated effectively. Nevertheless, for people who suffer CEBV symptoms, knowing that there may be a legitimate reason for their problems can alleviate the stress associated with thinking that their complaints are “all in their mind.”
What You Can Do
The best thing you can do to ward off fatigue is to get adequate rest, eat nutritiously, exercise regularly, and try to manage stress. If fatigue lasts more than two weeks, see your physician to rule out any underlying medical conditions. Finally, if there is no recognizable reason for your problem, you can find out more about CEBV by asking your doctor and/or contacting the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Society at (503)688~5261.
- BE SURE TO GET ADEQUATE REST
- EAT A WELL-BALANCED DIET
- MAKE REGULAR EXERCISE A HABIT
- BALANCE STRESS WITH RELAXATION