Feeling exhausted and weak all the time, with no explanation, can feel incredibly disheartening. But don’t give up hope, because functional medicine may have the answers.
Feeling tired is one of the most common symptoms people experience when they’re feeling ill. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is more than feeling worn-down or dealing with normal bouts of exhaustion. It’s a debilitating illness, characterized by extreme fatigue that doesn’t improve with proper rest and cannot be explained by another medical condition.
Have you been struggling with long term fatigue, even if you get a good night’s sleep? Do you feel weak and drained, though you’re otherwise healthy? Contact Dr. Robin Ridinger at Premier Health and Holistic Medicine to learn how to fight fatigue and bring back your zest for life.
If you have ever felt tired down to the very fiber of your being, there is probably good reason! CFS is believed to be caused by disruptions in the mitochondria, the “powerhouse” of cells. These tiny cellular components are primarily responsible for creating energy by generating adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the “fuel” that drives the body’s functions.
When these become malnourished or flooded with toxins and inflammatory mediators the body suffers. The fatigue may become worse when you exert energy in physical or mental activity, and it can flare up during intense or long periods of stress. Stay with us and we’ll explain.
Symptoms of CFS can come on suddenly and vary over time. It has a much more complex presentation than simply feeling fatigued. Some patients describe it as waking up with a flu that never goes away. With its range of symptoms from exhaustion and muscle pain, to mental fogginess and mood swings, CFS can present a huge challenge when it comes to diagnosis and treatment. You can find out more about the symptoms to look for by clicking here.
There is no single laboratory test to accurately diagnose CFS, which can be terribly frustrating for patients and medical professionals alike. The diagnosis is based on an evaluation of a person’s symptoms, in combination with their personal medical history. Dr. Ridinger understands that many of her patients come to her weary of the weariness, as they have exhausted resources without answers. This is why she is dedicated to applying a compassionate, holistic approach so each patient can feel heard, respected, and cared for when dealing with a chronic illness.
CFS can be worsened by infections, liver and kidney congestion, hormone imbalances or environmental factors. When you come into the office, Dr. Ridinger will evaluate your full medical history, including underlying infections that may be affecting health such as:
• Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), mononucleosis
• Tick borne illness, Lyme disease
• Yeast infection
There is also evidence to suggest that environmental factors, such as mold, can sabotage your health and cause symptoms of CFS. In particular, there may be a link between chronic fatigue and mold exposure (mycotoxins). One-quarter of the U.S. population is believed to suffer mycotoxin sensitivity. Exposure to mold spores in homes or buildings can prove dangerous for those whose immune systems may not be able to effectively eliminate mold biotoxins.
Correctly diagnosing and treating CFS requires a thorough physical exam, a detailed history, and potentially comprehensive bloodwork as well. Then, when it comes to treatment, chronic fatigue can be improved through aggressive lifestyle counseling focused on nutrition, physical activity, sleep and stress management. This is a holistic method designed to improve long-term health.
Treatment varies from person to person, but it typically includes:
• Diet and eating plan. Focusing on whole foods, healthy sources of clean, grass-fed animal protein along with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. The diet eliminates high-sugar and processed foods that can spike blood sugar. You can read more here.
• Supplements. These may be prescribed depending on nutrient testing. Common deficiencies that may contribute to fatigue include B12, vitamin D, and iron. Mitochondrial support with CoQ10, Acetyl-L-carnitine and D-ribose can also help to improve energy production.
• Lifestyle and activity levels. While it may be tempting to stay home and be a couch potato, inactivity and isolation can actually exacerbate CFS. Social interaction, mild exercise and spending time outdoors may help increase your energy and overall wellness.
• Sleep. Many CFS patients suffer from insomnia or other sleep disturbances. Talk to your doctor to determine if a sleep study would be beneficial.
• Stress management is a critical component to reducing stress hormones like Cortisol.
Are you ready to say goodbye to the daily exhaustion, pain, and frustration? Dr. Robin Ridinger at Premier Health and Holistic Medicine is Virginia’s first choice for integrative care! Call the office or fill out our contact form to get started on your journey to getting your energy back.