This is a question I get from so many “healthy” patients. There is a list of not-so-obvious scenarios that I’ll walk you through. After ruling these out, I use functional medicine testing to assess for Adrenal fatigue.
Fatigue is one of the biggest problems for my patients.
The most natural starting place to discuss root causes of fatigue is the quantity and quality of sleep. If you are getting good quality sleep and sleeping at least 7 hours, then we need to dive deeper. This is where functional medicine is so useful.
Blood sugar abnormalities
Blood sugar spikes in either direction can lead individuals to feel fatigued. This can be diagnosed with functional labwork.
Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause a person to feel tired. This can be diagnosed with functional labwork.
There are obvious infections like Infectious Mononucleosis and not-so-obvious infections like those from the environment, such as toxins from mold. This can be assessed with functional labwork
Depression can manifest as low energy. Oftentimes a lack of meaningful purpose in life can make people feel sluggish.
When I interview a patient with a chief complaint of fatigue, I like to start by asking questions to screen for sleep quality/quantity and depression. From there, I do lab testing to look for the obvious offenders related to fatigue. If at that point there is not an obvious cause, we do a deeper dive. What does that entail? One example is a DUTCH Test. There is a condition that often goes underdiagnosed in the typical medical framework called Adrenal Fatigue. The adrenal glands release a stress hormone called cortisol in response to stressful situations. If you are not actively finding ways to destress, you may have unchecked secretion of cortisol. Overtime, this may make you feel fatigued.
If you sign up at Heal MD and one of your health issues is fatigue, I will order the appropriate testing, and treat you as needed. For example, if we uncovered a thyroid hormone deficiency, I would prescribe you a thyroid hormone and provide you with a diet that is more optimal for those with low thyroid function. If you were to have adrenal fatigue, I would prescribe you a supplement protocol and teach you activities to de-stress.
A unique aspect of functional medicine is that for any underlying cause, we also prescribe an activity to mentally recharge. The activity that I like to prescribe most often is meditation or breathwork. I work with various programs, and I will help you navigate them to find something that is right for you. This is a conversation that you would rarely have time for in a traditional medical model. I thrive on doing this work with my patients, because I have witnessed the transformations that are possible when I help my patients address both the physical and mental contributors to well-being.