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Worn out and weary, women across the country named fatigue among their top five health concerns of in WebMD's annual Year in Health survey the other four were period problems, "super foods" best for nutrition, thyroid conditions, and sex and relationship issues. Here are seven of the biggest reasons you may be dragging, and ways to put the spring back into your step.
The thyroid -- a little butterfly-shaped gland in your neck -- produces the hormones that regulate how your body burns fuel for energy. It can be overactive or underactive, but either way you'll feel sleepy. With an overactive thyroid your engine's on overdrive and you start to burn out," says Sandra Fryhofer, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. Thyroid problems are more common in women, although doctors aren't sure why.
What to do : Tests can reveal whether you need to take a manmade version of thyroid hormone to rev up an underactive thyroid, or antithyroid medicine to calm down an Tired of older women thyroid. In fact, heart disease is a serious threat to women -- more serious than every type of cancer, including breast cancer, even though many women believe cancer is a bigger concern.
According to the American Heart Association, nearly twice as many American women die of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases as from all forms of cancer. When your heart isn't pumping efficiently, it can't get enough blood out to your body, and that can make you tired.
What to do : If you have heart risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, and a family history of heart conditions, you need to have your heart checked out. Measuring your blood pressure and other simple tests such as an electrocardiogram or an echocardiogram can pinpoint whether your heart is the source of your weariness.
Other reasons include having a milk allergy, following a strict vegetarian meal plan, and having darker skin the pigment melanin reduces the skin's ability to make vitamin D from sunlight. For some people, their digestive tract cannot absorb vitamin D well. For others, the kidneys have trouble converting the nutrient to its active form. And being overweight makes vitamin D less available for use in the body. Whatever the reason, too little of this essential vitamin can sap your bone strength, and some research links a deficiency of vitamin D to chronic fatigue syndrome. What to do : A blood test can determine whether you're getting enough of your daily D.
If not, a supplement can get you to the amount you need each day. The Institute of Medicine, which published new guidelines inrecommends that most adults get international units a day. For people 71 and older, the recommended amount climbs to IU. At these amounts, you're getting enough D to benefit your bones without overdoing it and causing kidney problems or other side effects.
When your blood can't carry enough oxygen to your body, you're bound to feel sluggish. It could be a that you're losing too much iron in your blood during your period, or you may be deficient in other vitamins and minerals. What to do: See your doctor for a blood test to find out whether you've got an iron deficiency or other medical problem that's affecting your red blood cell count.
The solution could be as easy as taking an iron or B vitamin supplement. Your husband jokes that you sound like a buzz saw when you sleep, but snoring is no laughing matter. It could be a of sleep apnea, a condition that halts your breathing over and over again throughout the night. Every time your breathing stops, your brain jolts you awake to restart it.
As a result, you end up feeling drained. What to do : Being overweight can put pressure on your airway at night, which is why weight loss is the prescription to help sleep apnea. To help you breathe more easily while sleeping, a continuous positive airway pressure CPAP device will keep air flowing into your airway. Once you get the hang of sleeping with a mask on your face, CPAP can "really change your life," Fryhofer says. While juggling a job, family, and a million other responsibilities, it's hard to squeeze in the full seven to eight hours of sleep you need each night.
What to do : "You want to make sure when you want to go to sleep you can sleep," Fryhofer says. Get into a calming bedtime routine. Turn on soft music. Spray a whiff of lavender on your pillow to help calm your nervous system and encourage relaxation. Sip a cup of chamomile tea, a fragrant flower extract that some health experts believe helps ease anxiety. If you still can't fall asleep, go into another room and read or do another relaxing activity for about 15 minutes, then go back to bed and try it again. Depression and fatigue are both common in women, and the two conditions appear to fuel one another.
People who are depressed are more than four times as likely to be tired, and those who are fatigued are almost three times as likely to be depressed. The Tired of older women and worry that are hallmarks of depression can keep you tossing and turning all night, and if you drag through every day you're bound to feel miserable.
What to do : "Treating the depression will give you more energy," Fryhofer says. Talk to your doctor about how you're feeling. They will want to know when your symptoms began, how long they have lasted, and how severe they are.
Together, you can then determine the best course of treatment, which may include antidepressants, psychotherapy, or both. Women's Health Feature Stories. Thyroid Problems The thyroid -- a little butterfly-shaped gland in your neck -- produces the hormones that regulate how your body burns fuel for energy.
Heart Disease "We think it's just a man's disease, but it's not," says Fryhofer. Vitamin D Deficiency "There's been an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency over the last few decades because we've been avoiding the sun," Volgman says. Iron Deficiency Anemia When your blood can't carry enough oxygen to your body, you're bound to feel sluggish.
Sleep Apnea Your husband jokes that you sound like a buzz saw when you sleep, but snoring is no laughing matter. Lack of Sleep While juggling a job, family, and a million other responsibilities, it's hard to squeeze in the full seven to eight hours of sleep you need each night. Depression Depression and fatigue are both common in women, and the two conditions appear to fuel one another. Could I have CAD? Missing Teeth?Tired of older women
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