[HEALTH]Modern day malady affects more stressed out people
“I took a full rest during the weekend, but I still feel tired,” said Lee Yu-na, 27, a flight attendent.
“I haven’t been able to concentrate since, well, since I don’t know when,” said Kim Min-jung, a graduate student. Lee and Kim are not alone. Many people in Korea frequently say such things. Students who go to school at dawn and finish at midnight after being tutored all day, or grown-ups who spend nearly 70 percent of the day in the office, say they are suffering the same symptom ― exhaustion. Everyone is “so tired!”
If you think you are one of these people, feeling tired all the time, you might weigh the possibility that your problem might be chronic.
Whether your fatigue is on a clinical level or not, one thing evident is that you should do something about it. Fatigue is one of the things most likely to lower a person’s quality of life as well as productivity. It can easily change a competent worker into a lazy one, a fun friend into a bore, and a smart student into a dull one. Moreover, it can lead to depression or other more serious health problems both mental and physical.
One common thing among the majority of people who complain about fatigue is their unbalanced life style. They usually spend a long time sitting at a desk. It becomes easy to guess where their problem is most likely to come from ― “lack of exercise” or “stress.”
According to Lee Gyeong-suk, a family medicine doctor at Gwanjeo Seongmo Clinic, there are a number of simple rules to keep in order to fight or prevent fatigue. Many of the rules are already well-known, but in reality, not followed well.
“Excessive intake of caffeine can cause headaches and anxiety. Limiting your intake to two cups of coffee a day is recommended,” says Ms. Lee. (Do not forget that chocolate, green tea and coke also contain a lot of caffeine.)
“Reduce the amount of alcohol intake and stop smoking. Smoking can lead to frequent headaches caused by hypoxia.”
Ms. Lee also urged that regular exercise and stretching at least once a day is good way to reduce the tiredness, and clear your head.
Going to bed early and regularly as well as having meals at set times is strongly recommended by Ms. Lee. (Single people living alone might find this particularly difficult.)
While keeping those rules can be the perfect solution for many fatigue sufferers, for some the symptom can also be an alarm signal for a serious disease that not only requires following the rules above, but also seeking professional medical treatment, according to Ms. Lee.
“Chronicle fatigue can simply come from stress, side effects of medicine or lack of exercise, but it can also be a result of hepatitis, tuberculosis, hypertension, diabetes, pneumonia, anemia and obesity,” says Ms. Lee, urging the necessity for regular health check-ups.
“Chronic fatigue” and “chronic fatigue syndrome”
When looking for information about chronic fatigue, one can easily confuse it with “chronic fatigue syndrome,” which is different.
“Chronic fatigue usually comes from tangible causes, while the syndrome does not,” says Ms. Lee.
In that sense the syndrome is more serious and difficult to treat.
According to the United StatesCenter for Disease Control and Prevention, having at least four symptoms among the ones below, other than feeling tired, is a sign of chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Frequent forgetfulness
- Sudden headaches
- Sleeping disorder or restlessness at night.
- Pain in joints without swelling
- Non-localized muscle pain
- Pain in the pharynx
- Pain and swelling in the lymph nodes in the neck and armpits
- Feeling tired after light labor or exercise
Chronic fatigue syndrome is seen as serious since it is very difficult to find the exact cause and give it immediate treatment. Ms. Lee asserts that self-diagnosis is extremely dangerous. Consult with a medical expert if you have more than four of the symptoms above.
Ways to fight daily fatigue
- Do not drink more than two cups of coffee a day.
- Do not drink too much alcohol. Control yourself.
- Stop smoking.
- Exercise regularly and do stretching at least once a day.
- Check your pulse regularly.
- Spend at least one day per week with your family. Connecting with your family can be a good way to relieve stress.
- Prioritize your tasks, to prevent unnecessary confusion and stress.
- Go to bed and eat meals at regular set times.
by Choi Sun-young
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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