When a person has low energy or fatigue, he might feel weak and tired all the time. It’s also difficult for him to finish simple activities without feeling exhausted or worn out.
Causes of Low Energy
There are several causes why an individual might have low energy or specifically known as chronic fatigue. These include:
- Diet – nutritional deficiencies or poor diet might cause low energy levels. A healthy and balanced diet packed with lots of whole grains, vegetables, and proteins can increase one’s energy levels. Consuming a food that doesn’t contain the essential nutrients or doesn’t have sufficient calories can result in low energy or fatigue. These shortages are prevalent among younger men, especially those that perform weight lifting or exercise a lot, or older men who have an existing malnutrition problem or doesn’t eat enough.
- Insomnia – insomnia, together with other sleep issues, can cause low energy among men. Even if it is more prevalent in older people, insomnia can impact men of all ages. Various causes trigger insomnia, such as psychological, emotional, and physical reasons.
- Exercise patterns – many people usually notice that once their exercise time decreases, their energy levels also lower down. This makes sense because exercising improves energy levels and adrenaline. Over time, the absence of exercise can result in weaker muscles and can cause exhaustion after performing simple tasks. Severe training can also lead to fatigue. This is why it is essential to find the proper balance because the average energy level is vital.
- Sleep apnea – sleep apnea is characterized as a sleep problem where an individual’s breathing is interposed during sleep. The interruption usually lasts for about 10 seconds each time and numerous times every night. Sleep apnea is more prevalent in men compared to women and obese individuals. The primary symptom of sleep apnea is excessive sleepiness in the day.
- Low testosterone – testosterone is the principal male sex hormone. The primary role of this hormone is keeping the balance of physical and mental energy levels. Naturally, the amount of testosterone in the male’s body decreases as they age. Low testosterone levels or male hypogonadism is one cause of low energy levels, depression, and fatigue among men. Typically, male hypogonadism becomes more extreme as he manages.
- Depression – depression is a medical disorder that impacts a considerable number of men. Typically, symptoms of depression in men and women might have slight differences. Men who suffer from depression might feel she is if they have deficient energy. They also tend to lose interest in several aspects of life, including family, work, or hobbies.
- Thyroid disorders – the thyroid gland creates hormones that take the role of controlling the metabolism of the body and many other essential functions. If the thyroid gland stops producing sufficient hormones, it can lead to a disorder called hypothyroidism. It commonly affects women, but men of various ages can also acquire this disorder.
- Anemia – iron-deficiency anemia is a nutritional deficiency caused by insufficient iron. Though it is also common in women, the most prevalent cause of this kind of anemia is bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract among men, like gastritis or ulcer.
- Medical conditions – there are various medical conditions and linked factors that can cause low energy or factor, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain medications.
Diagnosis and Treatment
To diagnose low energy or fatigue, your doctor will look at the patient’s complete medical history and ask him/her questions with regards to the symptoms. The doctor might also ask the following questions to determine the leading cause of the fatigue:
- Does the severity of the fatigue stay constant throughout the day?
- Does fatigue happen regularly?
- Does the fatigue worsen throughout the day, or it starts at the beginning of the day?
- What is the pattern of fatigue?
- What is the patient’s emotional condition?
- Does the patient feel disappointment or unhappiness?
- How much sleep is the patient having?
- How many times does the patient awake at night?
- What is the patient’s diet? Does it include extreme sugar, coffee, or unhealthy foods?
- Does the patient get daily exercise?
After inquiring about the patient’s history, physical tests will be carried out, focusing on the vital signs of the patient, such as the blood pressure, weight, temperature, heart rate, and breathing rate. The health care provider will monitor the patient’s overall appearance, listen to the lungs, heart, and abdomen. The rectal and pelvic exam might also be performed. Aside from this, the doctor might also order other tests varying on the actual cause of low energy.
- Urinalysis gives details that might reveal an infection, liver diseases, or diabetes.
- Blood tests are undertaken to determine signs of anemia, infection, nutritional deficiencies, or blood abnormalities.
- Thyroid function exams determine the condition and performance of thyroid glands and whether the thyroid levels are too low or too high.
- Chem-7 checks the seven common substances that circulate in human blood. These include electrolytes (like potassium, sodium, bicarbonate, and chloride), an energy source for the body’s cells (glucose), and waste products from metabolism that are eliminated by properly functioning kidneys (creatinine and BUN)
- HIV test
- Pregnancy test
- Sedimentation rate exam looks for inflammatory complications or chronic diseases
- chest x-ray dives into the possibility of tumors or infections
- CT scan of the head to check for tumors, stroke, or other disorders
- Electrocardiogram or EKG/ECG refers to the electrical recording that examines the heart function.
The treatment for low energy varies according to the cause. There are treatment options that include vitamins, medications, antibiotics, and exercise. On another note, medical treatment for low energy varies on the cure for its actual cause or causes. Good thing most cases of low heat can be alleviated using medications. Among them are iron supplements intended for anemia, medications to normalize blood sugar, medications to stabilize thyroid function, machines and drugs to improve sleep apnea, antibiotics to cure an infection, as well as dietary changes and ideal exercise program. Take note that treating the real cause is the primary key to cure the symptom of fatigue.
What are the standard conditions?
Low energy levels affect those who are under severe stress, have a poor diet, or are exercising too little or too much. If these are the cause, patients need to make simple lifestyle changes to boost their energy levels. These include:
- Exercise – physical activity boosts hormone levels, such as adrenaline and testosterone, which significantly increases one’s energy levels. You can try gentle exercises like talking a walk, and you can improve from there.
- Diet – eating a lot of processed, high-sugar, or high-fat foods can lead to nutritional deficiencies and low energy. That’s why patients are advised to consume their regular dietary requirements. Consuming balanced, healthy, and energy-packed foods can do wonders in increasing energy levels. These include diets that contain whole grains, lean protein, vegetables, and fruits.
- Water – the body requires a lot of water to remain fuelled throughout the day. Dehydration can result in low energy levels and can cause fatigue. Older men and active young adults tend to suffer from dehydration. That’s why it is essential to carry a water bottle and stay hydrated, most notably during warm weather or during exercise sessions.
- Sleep – most people tend to take rest for granted and don’t get enough of it. To boost energy levels, one should dedicate more time to follow a regular sleeping schedule.
Risk of having Low Energy
Individuals who are suffering from low energy are more likely to develop some of the following conditions if left unresolved:
- Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS
- Multiple chemical sensitivities
- Chronic pelvic pain among women
- Post-concussion syndrome
- Tension headache
- Chronic prostatitis among men
- Interstitial cystitis that results in pain in the pelvis or bladder
- Temporomandibular disorders or TMJ or TMD
There is a possibility that developing these conditions could increase your risk of low energy or fatigue. Or vice versa. As of the present, researchers are still studying the association between low power and these conditions.
When to seek medical attention
You should go to your doctor if you’re suffering from low energy or fatigue and:
- your temperature is way higher than normal
- you can’t find other reason for your fatigue
- you feel extremely sensitive to more moderate temperatures
- you suffer from unintentional weight loss
- you suspect that you might be depressed
- you regularly experience problems staying or falling asleep
If you already made changes to address the common lifestyle reasons of fatigue, like poor eating habits, lack of rest, and stress, and your condition still does not improve and persists for two weeks or more, you should go to your doctor right away.
In some instances, low energy might be caused by severe medical complications. Seek medical attention right away if you suffer from fatigue alongside any of these symptoms:
- vomiting blood
- pain in your chest area
- rectal bleeding
- extreme headache
- shortness of breath
- thoughts of harming another person
- irregular heartbeat
- feelings of faintness
- severe pain in the back, abdominal and pelvic region
- thoughts of self-harm or suicide