Fatigue is can be very frustrating for many people since it can have several causes. There's the normal tiredness we feel at the end of every day, the tiredness that comes from being a hard-working person. But sometimes that fatigue goes beyond just the "norm". It pervades your muscles, fogs up your brain, affects your mood and makes it impossible to focus and cope with stress. When this happens, you KNOW there's something wrong.
You have tried taking supplements and energy drinks. You hoped that a healthy diet, a good exercise regimen and sleep habits would help, yet you're too exhausted to do anything.
Does this sound familiar? If so, you may be at a loss to find out why you're so exhausted all the time.
Diagnosing Your Fatigue
If you find yourself exhausted all the time--and it goes beyond the tiredness from your normal daily activities--it's in your best interest to get checked out and have the cause of your fatigue diagnosed. Some physicians are trained in looking at different hormone deficiencies, but many people do not have access to them due to insurance or geographic limitations. Fortunately, Discounted Labs is happy to offer a brand new Fatigue Panel that includes a battery of tests designed to determine what's causing your fatigue. You can get this panel without the need of a physician’s visit. You can order this panel online in most states in the U.S. and go to a local lab to get your blood drawn. Your test results will be emailed to you and you will provide a free consultation with a trained clinician to guide you through your lab values.
The truth is that there are A LOT of things that can cause your fatigue: everything from low testosterone to reduced thyroid function to adrenal gland problems. That is why this Fatigue Exploration Panel examines every one of these variables to determine the root of the problem.
What does the Fatigue Exploration Panel include?
Total and Free Testosterone Tests
It's a well-known fact that low testosterone blood levels in men and women can lead to a reduction in energy, as well as a low sex drive, an increase in body fat accumulation, sleep problems, and decreased motivation. If these problems accompany your fatigue, it may be a sign that your testosterone levels are too low.
The Fatigue Panel includes tests to measure both your total and free testosterone levels.
- Total testosterone includes the total testosterone (free and protein-bound) hormone in your body. Testing for total testosterone helps to determine if hypogonadism (under-production and secretion of testosterone) is the cause of your fatigue or other problems.
- Free testosterone is unbound to protein molecules, and thus more bioavailable. Low free testosterone can be another diagnostic tool since some men and women with normal total testosterone may have low free testosterone blood levels.
Thyroid Function Tests
Thyroid hormone deficiency is one of the most common types of fatigue a. The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped organ that produces important hormones that affect just about every one of your body functions. Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid gland, can cause fatigue, depression, weight changes, appetite changes, and even forgetfulness.
Fatigue isn't the only sign you may have hypothyroidism. Other symptoms include: extreme sensitivity to cold, difficulty with weight loss even though you diet and exercise daily, brittle nails, and hair loss (especially on your eyebrows). If you notice any of these signs along with your fatigue, it's a good idea to get yourself checked out to determine whether or not your thyroid gland is functioning properly.
Our Fatigue Panel includes a number of tests that will measure you thyroid function:
TSH test -- This test measures the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in your bloodstream. TSH is a hormone produced by your pituitary gland, and it's intended to signal to your thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones to be released into your bloodstream. If your pituitary gland isn't producing enough or producing too much TSH, that may be the reason your thyroid gland isn't working properly. High TSH levels can indicate that your thyroid is working extra hard to stimulate T4 and T3 production, which can be the cause of your fatigue. Some physicians use TSH as the only measure of thyroid function, but we now know that TSH alone may not be accurate enough to do so.
Free T4 Test -- This test is used to determine the unbound level of thyroxine, a hormone known as T4. This hormone converts into T3 to help your body produce energy, balance your heart rate, and maintain a steady temperature. Hypothyroidism can lead to insufficient production of this hormone, and may result in fatigue.
Free T3 Test -- This test is used to determine the level of unbound triiodothyronine, a hormone known as T3. Free T3 helps to regulate your metabolism, heart rate, temperature, and more. Low free T3 levels can be a symptom of hypothyroidism, and may be behind your fatigue. Some physicians only measure total T3 and not its free, active portion which may be the main factor in diagnosing low thyroid function.
Adrenal Function Tests
Adrenal fatigue is the result of imbalances in your body, which can cause adrenal gland function to be reduced significantly. It's estimated that up to 40% of men over 60 years old suffer from "Stage 3 Adrenal Deficiency and Depression". That's a lot of people dealing with fatigue as a result of their adrenal gland problems.
Your adrenal glands are responsible for producing the epinephrine ( adrenaline) that kicks in when you're stressed, excited, or scared. It's the "fight or flight" response that gets you "pumped up" in extreme situations.
In normal situations, adrenal gland function returns to normal after the extreme situation passes. But in cases of chronic stress (work, home, health, family-related), the adrenal gland continues to produce cortisol and adrenaline, the two hormones that keep your "fight or flight" response on. The longer that response is on, the more energy is sapped. Adrenal fatigue is the result of over-production of these two hormones. Poor sleep quality worsens adrenal fatigue since the body tends to regenerate gland function during deep sleep. The use of stimulants is also an accelerator of this problem.
What are some of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue? Aside from sheer exhaustion, there are a few others, including: dizziness, low blood pressure, depression, headaches, anxiety or panic attacks, low blood sugar, and other equally debilitating problems.
DiscountedLabs.com’s Fatigue Exploration Panel includes two tests to measure adrenal function:
-Salivary cortisol test -- This measures the amount of cortisol in your body. While most tests measure cortisol in your bloodstream, salivary cortisol tests kits can be taken home for sampling during the day to see changes in cortisol from morning to night time. This test allows for the collection of 4 samples during the day that you bring back to the lab.
-DHEA test -- This test measures the levels of DHEA-S in your blood. DHEA-S is an androgen hormone produced in the adrenal glands. If levels of DHEA-S are too high, they may indicate adrenal hyperplasia, or overproduction of adrenal hormones. Low DHEA-S can be indicative of adrenal dysfunction and fatigue.
Glucose is the fancy name for "sugar", and blood glucose is your body's primary source of energy.
When you eat, your body turns carbs and fats into glucose, which it then sends around your body to as fuel for all of your organs. Too-high levels of glucose can cause damage to your blood vessels, nerves, and organs, so your body is designed to respond by producing insulin, which helps to reduce blood sugar levels. Once your blood sugar is back to normal levels, insulin production stops and everything runs smoothly.
But there's a problem: the more often you have high blood sugar and the higher your blood sugar levels, the more insulin your body has to produce. Excessive carb intake (a problem in our modern diet) can lead to excessive insulin production, which causes your blood sugar levels to drop TOO low. This can cause fatigue, and your body will respond by producing appetite hormones that encourage you to eat. Of course, these hormones will tell you to eat something that will give you a quick dose of blood sugar, which often leads to you eating something with too many carbs. Around and around the vicious cycle goes.
If this continues over the course of years, your body becomes desensitized to insulin. This means it takes more insulin to have the same effect, so the insulin produced by your pancreas is insufficient to reduce your blood sugar levels. Chronically high blood sugar can lead to inflammation, slow your circulation, deprive your body of oxygen, and produce monocytes that can cause fatigue when they are absorbed into the brain.
Diabetes fatigue is a very real thing, and even non-diabetics can suffer fatigue as a result of their high blood sugar levels. The Fatigue Panel includes an A1c test, a blood test commonly used to diagnose Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.
This test measures your average blood sugar level for the past 60-90 days, examining the amount of glycated hemoglobin (sugar-coated oxygen-carrying red blood cell proteins) in your bloodstream. Higher levels of A1c can indicate poor blood sugar control, and thus point to an increase risk of diabetes--and diabetes fatigue!
Anemia is a condition in which your body doesn't have enough red blood cells to transport oxygen and nutrients to the various organs, functions, and systems. Without enough oxygen and nutrients, your body essentially starves, leading to fatigue, dizziness, weakness, irregular heartbeats, and more.
The Fatigue Panel includes tests to measure both hemoglobin and hematocrit:
-Hemoglobin tests measure the levels of hemoglobin, the protein molecule in your red blood cells that carry oxygen. Too-low levels of this molecule may be a sign of anemia.
-Hematocrit tests determine your blood's red cell percentage. People with low hematocrit are anemic, and thus may suffer from fatigue.
-Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV) tests measure the size of red blood cells. If the red blood cells are large, they may indicate anemia due to vitamin B6 or folic acid deficiency. If the red blood cells are small, they may indicate anemia due to iron deficiency.
-Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin (MCH) and Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentration (MCHC) tests measure the amount of hemoglobin in red blood cells. Both hemoglobin and hematocrit are used to calculate this number. Low levels indicate anemia.
-Red Cell Distribution Width (RDW) tests are often used with MCV results to figure out what could be causing the anemia.
If anemia is the cause of your fatigue, it's vital to get diagnosed as soon as possible. Anemia can be a very serious problem if left untreated!
Immune Function Tests
Your immune system is responsible for handling all invading threats to your body, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, spores, and all other pathogens. It also handles injuries, cellular mutations, and other internal problems.
But your immune system requires energy to function. Chronic inflammation, infection, and injury may lead to fatigue, as your body is constantly using energy to deal with whatever is going wrong in your body.
The Fatigue Panel includes a White Blood Cell Count test, which is designed to determine if there is infection in your body that could be the root cause of your fatigue. Or, your bone marrow may no longer be producing the white blood cells, which could indicate a number of other (more serious) problems.
Iron is needed to produce red blood cells, meaning a lack of iron (iron deficiency) can lead to anemia. The Fatigue Panel offers an iron test to determine if serum iron levels are high enough for normal body function.
However, there are also two other tests included to help determine your body's ability to absorb, utilize, and store iron:
-TIBC tests, or total iron binding capacity tests, measure the levels of iron in your blood. If the TIBC is high, it means there is insufficient iron.
-Ferritin tests measure the levels of ferritin, the protein responsible for storing iron in your body. Low ferritin levels are an indication of iron deficiency, which can lead to anemia.
These tests are very helpful to determine if iron is the reason behind your fatigue (anemia fatigue).
Our Fatigue Panel is the lowest-cost fatigue exploration panel offered anywhere. Take advantage of these tests to find out exactly what's causing your fatigue, and take steps to deal with the problem today.
For more information about how DiscountedLabs.com services work, please the read the frequently asked questions.