Understanding fatigue
Published On March 6, 2014 » 2567 Views» By Hildah Lumba » Features
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By JONES. H. MUNANG’ANDU –

Perhaps you can remember being tired after hours of work. But then you were invited to do something that you really enjoyed, such as play a game or go for a hike in the woods with friends. Even though this required perhaps more energy than the work you were doing, almost at once your tiredness vanished!
You probably too have had similar experiences that make the question of fatigue baffling.
For example, you may have discovered that you are less tired when doing work you enjoy than when doing even easier work that you do not enjoy. Many persons, in fact, get tired while hardly exerting themselves at all.
Even the thought of having to do certain things makes some persons tired! Such true-life experiences caused the journal Today’s Education to conclude: “There is something wrong with the common assumption about what causes fatigue or even about what fatigue is.”
For purposes of this article is to define fatigue as exhaustion of mind or body resulting from labour or exertion.
In other words we may have to view it as a specific form of human inadequacy in which the individual experiences an aversion to exertion and feels unable to carry on.
Some of the more common diseases of which fatigue is a symptom include diabetes, anemia, hepatitis, tuberculosis, pneumonia and influenza. If this is the case, rest is not necessarily the answer.
The fatigue will not disappear or improve until the illness causing the fatigue is improved or cured since fatigue can be the first generalised symptom of almost any organic disease, including some heart disorders and cancer.
So if extra sleep does not relieve you, you always “feel tired”.
It would be wise to have a physical checkup. Fatigue is characterised by the inability to perform physical tasks at one’s usual pace or strength, and by a slowing of the thinking processes that may involve failure of memory.
Such feelings may be generated by muscular effort; exhaustion of the energy supply to the muscles of the body, however, is not an invariable precursor.
Feelings of fatigue may also stem from pain, anxiety, fear, or boredom. In the latter cases, muscle function commonly is unimpaired. The once-held belief that work was the cause of fatigue led to efforts to use the work output of factory workers, for example, as direct measures of fatigue.
Early studies by industrial psychologists and engineers failed to show a close connection between how an individual worker said he felt and the amount of work he accomplished. The term fatigue is also used to denote a decreased susceptibility of a sensory receptor, such as the eye, to sensation.
A red surface seems to become gray when it is stared at continuously, and the retina is said to be fatigued by long exposure to the color red.
The same is true of hearing. A prolonged noise that is heard continuously becomes less intense due to fatigue of the processes of the inner ear.
Continued mental exertion, as in a protracted working over of a problem, causes the condition known as mental fatigue. Feelings and other signs of fatigue can arise suddenly and disappear suddenly, and the onset, duration, and termination of fatigue symptoms may appear to bear little relation to exertion or work.
While fatigue is one consequence of grossly observable activity, it can occur in the absence of manifest muscular exertion.
It can develop, for example, as a rather immediate response to a socially exercised demand (such as that of a nagging supervisor), of which the person suddenly becomes aware but may not like. The feeling of fatigue produced in the absence of productive work seems to be essentially the same as that produced by goal-directed labour.
Some components nevertheless are different, such as aching muscles in the one case and not in the other, but the factors that give fatigue its identity and differentiate it from other states of inadequacy are present in both.
In each case conditions exist that can even result in one’s total inability to carry on, whether his muscles contain high concentrations of waste products or not. Muscular exertion does, however, produce biochemical changes in the body that are quite complex and that differ in various tissues and organs such as the heart or the brain. The
consequence almost invariably is to produce secondary effects, perhaps muscular stiffness, and these in turn give rise to higher level effects such as one’s sensory awareness of pain and discomfort.
The failure of people to have feelings of fatigue as a consequence of physiological impairment is characteristic of some forms of hypoxia, which can be brought on in several ways.
One of these is by a fairly abrupt reduction in atmospheric oxygen pressure, as would occur in one’s being deposited atop a mountain by helicopter.
Feelings of fatigue are much more likely to set in when oxygen reduction is gradual and associated with exertion (as in mountain climbing).
Along with lack of oxygen, other factors of the climber’s task play their roles, and the climber’s own awareness of the negative factors that are developing produces the full syndrome of fatigue, including both the inability to carry on and the aversive attitude.
Fortunately if we identify and eliminate these factors causing fatigue then it will usually disappear.
A rarely understood cause of fatigue for instance is overeating.
It would seem that a snack, or between meal eating would be the very thing to help cure fatigue, but the reverse is actually the case. Do not overeat, use between meal snacks or heavy suppers.
While a heavy supper may enable someone to sleep the sleep of the drugged, it does not cause refreshment. Next morning the person awakens in a partial stupor.
Too little exercise is another common cause of fatigue.
Again it would appear that exercise would cause fatigue in itself. Not so! As the out-of-condition person begins to
exercise, chronic fatigue may disappear like magic.
The use of too little pure water not mineral water is also a common source of weakness and fatigue. Drinking water will perk you up just as a wilted flower perks up in water. Chronic dehydration is often caused by diuretics such as coffee, tea, colas, and chocolate. Eating concentrated, rich, or heavy foods promotes chronic dehydration.
Protein food supplements can also cause chronic dehydration. There are certain conditions of the body associated with fatigue which must be diagnosed by chemical tests: Thyroid problems, blood sugar problems, and many chronic diseases. Any deviation from the ideal may mean a trend toward an error in metabolism. A special program should then be followed. If your hemoglobin (blood iron) is either too high or too low you may feel fatigue. Almost everyone is aware that a low level of hemoglobin is associated with fatigue, but it is the rare person who understands that rich, heavy blood can also cause fatigue.
Pushing around the heavy blood is a tax on the heart and arteries, uses up energy, and results in fatigue. In order to bring the hemoglobin down one should take more exercise, eat more fruits and vegetables prepared simply or eaten raw, avoid all rich or concentrated foods, avoid overeating, drink plenty of water, and avoid stresses.
A class of stressful stimuli can be listed as fatigue producers.
These include working around a lot of noise, being in a stressful or anxious state, having periods of lack of rest, and depression.
One of the first indications of depression is fatigue.
Overweight, overwork, and depression are often related, and may cause fatigue. If one has an irregular schedule the body does not have the ability to control the
expenditure of energy, and the loss of energy with resultant fatigue is a usual companion of an irregular schedule.
Constipation can cause fatigue by the constant transmission of electrical signals from the gastrointestinal tract to the central nervous system, using up energy.
Poor air, especially in the bedroom while sleeping, is a common cause of early morning fatigue as well as headache.
If exhaled impurities are taken again into the blood, the body must expend double energy to throw them off.
Foods having a high nutrient density per unit volume require more energy of the body to metabolise them; fatigue results.
Concentrated foods are oils, sugars, wheat germ, all animal products (meat, milk, eggs and cheese), and anything other than fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Excesses of one’s pleasures are a sure producer of fatigue. Make a self-evaluation and correct all those things that are known to be causes of fatigue. If fatigue continues
after correcting all known causes, then you may need to select a good physician and receive an evaluation of such things as thyroid, blood sugar, hemoglobin levels, among others.
Nonetheless, we need to understand that man is able to respond to any situation in more than one way and at more than one level of behavioural complexity.
The most readily observable ways are grossly physical and chemical; but these, in turn, underlie other levels of response such as primitive sensory activity and still higher levels such as perceiving.
At the highest level of activity the relationship often is spoken of as existing between the whole person and the environment.
At any rate, in accounting for
fatigue, it is useful to make distinctions between what pertains to the individual as a whole and what pertains only to some part or organ of the individual.
It was our sincere hope that your eyes were not fatigued reading this article and to quench that mild strain on your sight, free medical advice on this topical issue using our contacts below would compose a perfect bonus for your efforts.
The author is a motivational speaker, health commentator & Health practitioner Mobile; 0966565670/0979362525 Email; jonesmuna@yahoo.com

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