Boosting Energy & Managing Fatigue Archive


Exercise can reduce fatigue in breast cancer patients undergoing radiation

A 2022 study suggests that regular exercise may improve fatigue and physical and emotional well-being among women undergoing radiation treatment for breast cancer.

Unmasking the varied causes of breathlessness and fatigue

Cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) can help diagnose unusual causes of breathlessness, such as pulmonary hypertension or heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. CPET collects information about a person’s heart and lung function to assess how the body responds to exercise. It may also help doctors better understand the lingering fatigue and breathlessness that sometimes occur after a COVID-19 infection.

A leg up on peripheral artery disease

The condition causes leg pain and fatigue that make activity difficult, but lifestyle changes can improve how you feel.

The occasional leg pain or stiffness is often not cause for concern, but if pain or fatigue develops after just a few minutes of walking or climbing stairs, it could be an early sign of peripheral artery disease (PAD).

"PAD not only interferes with an active lifestyle, but also can put you at higher risk for a heart attack and stroke," says Dr. Michael Belkin, chief of the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery with Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital. "You can't cure PAD once it occurs, so you want to take measures to avoid it as much as possible."

Look out for Lyme

Here's how to protect yourself from this growing tick-borne disease.

Summer is the ideal time to enjoy the outdoors, but while you're interacting with nature, you need to look out for ticks that carry Lyme disease, the most common tick-borne disease in the United States.

About 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year, according to the CDC, and new research suggests that number will rise by 20% by mid-century.

Yoga for chronic fatigue syndrome

There are many types of yoga. One of the most popular forms practiced in the United States is known as hatha yoga, a style that focuses on maintaining specific poses. What sets yoga apart from most other exercise programs is that it places as great an emphasis on mental fitness as on physical fitness, what's known as the mind-body connection.

Studies suggest that yoga has benefits for people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraines, low back pain, and many other types of chronic pain conditions. It can also improve mood, which can be helpful to people with CFS who are depressed.

When should you worry about fatigue?

On call

 Image: © thodonal/Getty Images

Q. I have been quite fatigued over the past two weeks. How long should I wait before seeing a doctor?

A. We all go through periods of low energy. Even a week of feeling more tired than usual is not uncommon.

Shorter sleep may cause dehydration

 Image: © miya227/Getty Images

In the journals

Adults who sleep only six hours per night may have a higher chance of being dehydrated, compared with those who sleep longer, according to recent research published online Nov. 5, 2018, by the journal Sleep. The findings suggest that some of the symptoms of inadequate sleep, such as fatigue, fuzzy thinking, and headache in the morning, may be due to dehydration.

Researchers looked at the risk of dehydration in approximately 20,000 U.S. and Chinese adults. In both populations, people who reported sleeping six or fewer hours had up to a 59% higher risk of dehydration compared with those who slept seven to eight hours on a regular basis. The researchers speculated that the finding may reflect the nightly rhythm of a hormone called vasopressin. During sleep, the pituitary gland in the brain uses vasopressin to signal the kidneys to retain fluid in the body rather than excreting it through urine.

Refueling your energy levels

Lost your spark and gusto? These strategies can help you recharge.

Everyone has the occasional low-energy day when you are easily fatigued. Often the feeling passes, and you bounce back to your regular robust self. But if you struggle with a constant lack of energy, you may have a problem deep within your cells.

Mitochondria are the power source inside all your body's cells. These tiny structures fuel the body by producing molecules called adenosine triphosphate or ATP. However, as you grow older, your body has fewer mitochondria.

Is my constant exhaustion normal?

Ask the doctors

Q. I feel like I'm tired all the time. Is this just a normal part of aging?

A. The short answer to your question is, no. Getting older may mean you have less endurance than you used to and you may feel tired sometimes, just like anyone else, but if you are experiencing long-lasting daily fatigue, there could be an underlying medical cause.

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