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CONSTANTLY TIRED? YOU COULD HAVE CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME

Are you struggling to get through the day whilst everyone else seems full of energy you don’t possess? If this sounds familiar, read on...  

Feeling tired is a complaint that’s often overlooked or brushed off. But, at London Doctors Clinic we know that a feeling of constant fatigue can really affect your day-to-day life. Tiredness can make it difficult to concentrate, zap creativity and leave you feeling drained and deflated. It can also have adverse effects on your mental wellbeing and health.

 

Why do I feel so tired?

If you’ve been feeling lethargic and tired, you might be wondering if you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which we cover in this article. Remember, fatigue can be caused by all kinds of things, even just not getting the right vitamins and minerals in your diet, although - if you’re constantly tired no matter what the circumstances, it’s important to find out why.

Every day at London Doctors Clinic, our experienced GP’s help people to tackle their tiredness. As well as talking to you to fully understand your symptoms, there are tests we can do to determine the root cause of your tiredness.

Once we can pinpoint the cause of your tiredness, we’ll be well on the way to nipping it in the bud. So, let’s banish that fatigue and give you back the spring in your step!

First, let’s cover some of the most common things that could be causing your fatigue including:

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Anaemia
  • Thyroid Dysfunction
  • Diabetes
  • Coeliac disease
  • Glandular Fever

 

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or CFE is otherwise known as ME. ME stands for myalgic encephalomyelitis.

CFS or ME is a long-term illness that can have many symptoms, however, the most common symptom is extreme tiredness. CFS/ME does share symptoms with many more common, easily treatable illnesses, so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis. This is why it’s a good idea to not self diagnose, but always book an appointment with a qualified doctor.  

Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

As well as feeling extreme tiredness all the time, there can be other symptoms such as:

  • Problems sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Heart palpitations
  • Muscle and/or joint pain
  • Feeling sick and/or dizzy

 

With ME/CFS it’s common to feel a marked increase in symptoms after any strenuous activity or exercise. This can occur as a delayed response, with symptoms manifesting 24 hours or more after exertion, and lasting for several days.

What triggers chronic fatigue syndrome?

Unfortunately, health professionals are not certain what causes CFS/ME. It’s possible that it could be triggered by a viral or bacterial infection, underlying problems with the immune system, hormonal imbalances or mental health issues like PTSD. Although it’s more common in women between the age of 25 and 45. But, anyone, including children, can be diagnosed.

How do you test for chronic fatigue syndrome?

There is no specific test for CFS/ME. It’s diagnosed by methodically ruling out other more common conditions that could be causing your symptoms. A diagnosis of CFS/ME should be determined by a qualified medical professional.

At London Doctors Clinic, our experienced GP’s will ask you about your symptoms and medical history, as well as your family medical history. They can also facilitate blood and urine tests to help build up a well-rounded picture of your health.

If an underlying condition is detected that could be causing your symptoms, the correct treatment can then be prescribed. Through eliminating more likely or common causes, ME/CFS can then be properly diagnosed. 

How do you fix chronic fatigue syndrome?

Treatment for ME/CFS is personalised for each individual. Early and proper diagnosis, medication to ease specific symptoms and making lifestyle changes can all have an impact.

Not everyone experiences the same symptoms in the same way or responds to the same treatments. A treatment plan that’s right for your symptoms and circumstances could combine lifestyle changes, specialist treatments and potentially, medication.

You could also be referred to a specialist in the case that symptoms don’t improve as quickly as expected.

 

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Anaemia

Another cause of your tiredness could be anaemia. Anaemia is a lower than normal red blood cell (haemoglobin) count in the blood. It’s a very common cause of tiredness and fatigue.

If you’re a woman and suffer from anaemia, you may notice symptoms are worse around menstruation, especially if you suffer from heavy periods.

Anaemia can be caused by different reasons, from an iron deficiency or vitamin B12 (folate) deficiency to other deficiencies or inability to absorb certain vitamins.

Testing for Anaemia

Testing for anaemia is done by measuring red blood cell levels. This can be as a full blood count test, or as part of a Haematology and Biochemistry Profile. Your results are then available within just 4 hours.

Your red blood cell levels can also be checked with a Well Person Profile. A well person profile includes checks on your folate and iron levels, as well as monitoring tiredness associated factors like glucose levels and thyroid function.

 

Thyroid Dysfunction

The thyroid gland produces important hormones that aid metabolism and release of energy within cells. An underactive thyroid gland can lead to extreme tiredness and sometimes, weight gain.

Testing for thyroid dysfunction

The easiest way to test for this condition is a specialised blood test. The test measures levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and costs just £86.40.

If a more comprehensive thyroid profile is needed to test various hormone levels, as well as thyroid antibodies, this costs £124.

You can have the results for both tests in just 4 hours.

Our most comprehensive thyroid function test measures levels of TSH, T4, free T3 & T4, as well as thyroid antibodies - a positive result would indicate an autoimmune thyroid condition. Results for this test are available in 2 days, costing £211.20.

Thyroid function test can also be performed as part of a comprehensive biochemistry and haematology profile, costing just £78.40, or as part of our Wellness Screens.

 

Diabetes

Tiredness is also a symptom of both type 1 and 2 diabetes. At the moment, it’s estimated that over 3.5 million people in the UK are living with diabetes. If you think you could have this condition, the best thing to do is book an appointment with a qualified GP.

Testing for diabetes

The first step is to test glucose levels in the body. This is done after the patient has been fasting for at least 6 hours, ideally overnight.

Glucose blood tests can be performed for just £5 in the clinic. A more detailed analysis at laboratory level can be conducted for just £31.20.

Levels of HbA1c are also commonly measured as part of diabetes investigation, with high levels of HbA1c indicating raised blood glucose levels over a long period. This blood test is £61.60 with results available from 6 hours.

 

Coeliac Disease

If your body isn’t absorbing essential nutrients, this can lead to deficiencies that cause tiredness and similar symptoms to ME/CFS. Not absorbing nutrients can be the result of Crohn’s disease, Coeliac disease or chronic pancreatitis, along with other gastrointestinal conditions.

The first step is to test glucose levels in the body. This is done after the patient has been fasting for at least 6 hours, ideally overnight.

Testing for Coeliac Disease

To check for coeliac disease, blood tests look for Tissue Transglutaminase antibodies. Tests are available from £76, with results available from 2 and 5 days.

 

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What’s the next step?

The first step to fighting fatigue is to get the right diagnosis. During a consultation with an experienced GP,  you and your doctor will thoroughly discuss your symptoms and medical history. This will help to determine which tests are right for you.

To ensure you get results quickly, and blood samples needed are taken by the GP during your consultation. Once any test results come back, your doctor will be able to give you relevant and up-to-date advice on treatments and will be happy to answer any further queries you have regarding these results. Then, you should be on your way to a more energetic you!

Please note, the cost of all blood tests are in addition to our £65 GP consultation fee.

Banish that fatigue and click here to book your appointment with a professional GP today.

 

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