Get More Energy!
How Hidden Health Concerns Wear You Out continued...
● You've got restless legs syndrome (RLS).
Up to 10 percent of women suffer from RLS, a neurologic disorder characterized
by an overwhelming urge to move your legs when they're at rest. "It can
cause severe sleep deprivation because whenever you do fall asleep, your legs
jerk you awake," says Nancy Foldvary-Schaefer, D.O., director of the Sleep
Disorders Center at the Cleveland Clinic. If you suspect RLS, check your iron
levels: One suspected cause is iron deficiency (doctors aren't sure why). If
you aren't anemic, ask your doctor about Requip, a drug proved to reduce RLS
● Your meds are knocking you out.
Certain antidepressants such as Celexa and Paxil can be sedating, according to
Judith Orloff, M.D., psychiatrist and author of Positive Energy, so if yours
are dragging you down, talk to your doctor about switching to a more
"activating" antidepressant such as Prozac or Wellbutrin. Another
common Rx culprit? Statins, cholesterol-lowering drugs that can deplete body
levels of CoQ10, a coenzyme vital to producing energy in cells. Often,
switching to a different statin solves the problem. Plenty of over-the-counter
(OTC) products zap energy, too. The most common are allergy or nighttime cold
remedies, which contain diphenhydramine HCL, a sedating antihistamine. If an
OTC label lists fatigue as a side effect, ask the pharmacist for suggestions on
● You've got diabetes.
Nearly 10 million women over age 20 have diabetes, and about a third don't know
it, according to the American Diabetes Association. One telltale symptom:
unexplained fatigue. "When you're diabetic, glucose or blood sugar - the
body's main source of energy - can't get into your muscle cells," says
endocrinologist Alan L. Rubin, M.D., author of Diabetes for Dummies. If you're
overweight and/or have a family history of diabetes, ask your doctor for a
fasting blood glucose test to measure your levels. If caught early, diabetes
can be controlled with simple lifestyle changes such as increasing exercise,
lowering fat intake, and losing excess pounds.
What to Do
1. Go for a walk.
"Less than 25 percent of my female patients get enough exercise to feel
energized," says Ann Kulze, M.D., author of Dr. Ann's 10 Step Diet. Aim for
30 minutes of activity, five days a week.
2. Snack on nuts, not sweets.
Sugary snacks cause blood sugar levels to spike, then crash, leaving you wiped
out, says Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., medical director of the Fibromyalgia and
Fatigue Centers (fibroandfatigue.com). But the protein in nuts digests slowly
for lasting energy.
3. Pop a mint.
The smell of mint ups alertness by stimulating your trigeminal nerve, "the
same nerve that's activated by smelling salts," says Alan Hirsch, M.D.,
director of Chicago's Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation.