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Laura asked...

I've been experiencing episodes of feeling tired...

Tags: vitamins

Hi, I've been experiencing episodes of feeling really tired for no apparent reason, it seems to come on either in the early afternoon between 12-3pm or in the late afternoon between 5-7pm. Neither caffeine or glucose seem to make a difference. I also get fatigued quite easily if I'm active- even if its just walking- for more than 15 minutes, I'm only 27 so this cant be normal. I've had my blood tested for diabetes/ thyroid/ anaemia/ hormones and everything was normal apart from a slight vit D deficiency which I had supplements for, yet the tiredness still persists. My GP is out of ideas- can you help/ make any suggestions please?

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The answer

I'm sorry that you’re experiencing these symptoms. There can be many causes of tiredness and loss of stamina, and your GP has already screened you for the main causes we would usually look at that. Given that your test results have all been normal possibly some lifestyle and nutrition factors might be contributing in some way. It’s interesting that you are noting the tiredness is worse at certain times of the day; you may find it helpful to keep a food diary over a period of six to eight weeks, or even a month. This would allow you to see if there is a pattern related to foods you have eaten in the two to three hours prior to the fatigue setting in. The reason for this is that the type of fatigue you are describing and the times of day it is happening are often described by people as an energy slump. This can be related to (for example) carbohydrate intake and high GI foods which can contribute to rapid rises and falls in blood sugar producing fatigue. On testing your blood glucose will be normal unless diabetes is present. Aim for a diet high in lean proteins such as chicken and fish and lean meat with plenty of vegetables, fruit, with complex carbohydrates such as oats whole grains pulses and beans. Try to avoid sugary or sweet food, refined products such as white flour, white rice and pasta and sugary drinks, juices and fast food, also caffeine if possible. All these foods can cause slumps in energy after the initial sugar or caffeine intake has worn off. A diary could help you to determine if this is happening in your case. 

You might also like to ensure you are getting good quality sleep, recommendations to aid this include keeping the room cool and dark with no distractions or devices such as mobile phones or laptops whose light can interrupt normal sleeping patterns and depth and avoiding caffeine and alcohol in the run up to bed, herb teas such as camomile are thought to promote restful sleep for example.

In terms of the loss of stamina when you are walking, you don’t mention any accompanying symptoms such as muscle aches or breathlessness with this and possibly as you have been experiencing these bouts of fatigue regularly some of your normal stamina may have been lost.  You might find the following web site helpful, this discusses these issues further and has detailed information on tiredness and lethargy and its symptoms and management: www.nhs.uk/Livewell/tiredness-and-fatigue

 Additionally although your Vitamin D deficiency has been described as slight this can certainly also cause fatigue and loss of stamina in people, it does  take time for the level to return to normal, sometimes up to a year, so do maintain the supplement you have been given. 

However, should you feel that lifestyle and diet is not contributing to your symptoms after keeping a diary to see if there is a pattern such as described above then it would seem worthwhile revisiting your GP to discuss this again in the future.

I wish you the best in resolving this and hope that this information is of some use,

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses  

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