As regular readers of this blog know that we are interested in natural treatments for many medical conditions and symptoms.
In particular we cover multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia in some detail. As you many know fatigue is one of the main symptoms of both conditions.
So we are delighted to share these tips for dealing with fatigue by natural means.
Do you have any other suggestions for other natural treatments? Please do share them in the comments box below!
Two MS Specialist Nurses from at MS Therapy Centre in Bedford, UK, have been trialling a drug-free microcurrent machine to treat pain in MS with very positive, and surprisingly wide ranging effects.
The treatment, Action Potential Simulation Therapy, or APS Therapy, uses a copy of the body’s own electrical signals – the ‘action potentials’ that travel along nerve fibres, to enhance communication between the cells, using an APS Therapy machine.
“The results we’re seeing, are, firstly, pain relief, in over 3/4s of the people with MS who have been treated over the past 3 years at the clinic. This is really significant, especially as the type of neuropathic, or nerve pain, that many people with MS experience, is very difficult to treat, and there are so many problems with side effects from the medication.
“I started off being most excited by the pain relief, and helping people to reduce and in some cases withdraw from medications they’re taking for pain, and of course I still am.
But recently, I’ve been most excited by the other improvements that some people get – we had a lot of people reporting improvements in energy, with reduced fatigue, better sleep quality, feeling less stiffness and spasm, and often, really improved wellbeing, when they used the machines for pain, and so in the past year we’ve begun to try using the machines specifically for these problems, and had some lovely results,” says Miranda Olding.
The nurses, Queen’s Nurse Emma Matthews from Northampton, and Miranda Olding from Bedford, cannot share the full results of their report on the first two years of treatment with APS Therapy until it’s been presented at the CMSC conference in Maryland, which they are travelling to in June. They also aim to present their 3rd year results at other clinical conferences during the year.
The mode of action of APS Therapy is to enhance cellular communication by sending replicated action potentials, which are up to 4 times stronger than the naturally occurring signals, through the body, between electrodes attached to the skin.
This assists the removal of waste and inflammatory products, which can reduce localised pain and swelling. The production of ATP ( adenosine triphosphate) is boosted by the therapy, which results for some people in increased energy levels, and also stimulates natural healing mechanisms. Other neuro-hormones that encourage healing and endogenous pain relief are also boosted, and some neuropathic pain seem to respond very well to the application of this correct, rather than disordered, nerve signal.
Results for people with MS can be very wide-ranging. This report came from Maggie, who has had MS for over 20 years, on her 4th week into the treatment. (She has retained all these benefits)
“‘Notes on progress of the fourth week”
• ˜Sleep improvements maintained although still wake frequently.
• ˜Pain during day virtually gone.
• ˜Pain at night much reduced – now only troubling between 6-8am.
• ˜Energy levels greatly improved. Much more stamina…
• ˜I can now easily get up from a chair even one without arms!
• ˜I can lower myself gently down instead of flinging myself down.
• ˜I can move around with ease and no longer have to plan everything I need to do. I can walk around indoors without a stick.
• ˜I can stand long enough to do some housework and get myself some lunch.
• ˜The ‘electric shock’ feelings I was experiencing in the head have been getting less in frequency.
• ˜The physio that I do in the group and in the pool have got better.
• ˜I can stay on a gym ball for the whole session and the physio has noticed as improvement in my posture and walking.
• ˜Mood- has elevated to new heights. I am delighted with the transformation – I feel I am getting me back.”
Not everyone who tries APS Therapy experiences these type of benefits, but the
team are having enough similar reports to merit offering APS Therapy as a trial treatment for people with MS who are struggling with fatigue as well as solely for pain, and to be excited by the potential applications of APS Therapy in people with MS.
Miranda Olding now splits her time between working as an MS Specialist Nurse, and working on introducing APS Therapy in the UK, both teaching and training and collecting data, and running a business where people can train, or rent or buy APS Therapy machines with one to one support over Skype, Facetime or Webex. You can find out more at www.painfreepotential.co.uk
Any serious illness, especially painful ones, can make you tired. But some quite minor illnesses can also leave you feeling washed out. Here are 10 health conditions that are known to cause fatigue.
1. Coeliac disease
This is a type of food intolerance, where your body reacts badly when you eat gluten – a substance found in bread, cakes and cereals. One in 100 people in the UK are affected, but research suggests that up to 90% of them don’t know they have the condition, according to patient group Coeliac UK. Other symptoms of coeliac disease, apart from tiredness, are diarrhoea, anaemia and weight loss. Your GP can check if you have coeliac disease through a blood test.
Read more about coeliac disease.
One of the most common medical reasons for feeling constantly run down is iron deficiency anaemia. It affects around one in 20 men and post-menopausal women, but may be even more common in women who are still having periods.
Typically, you’ll feel you can’t be bothered to do anything, your muscles will feel heavy and you’ll get tired very quickly. Women with heavy periods and pregnant women are especially prone to anaemia.
Read more about iron deficiency anaemia.
3. Chronic fatigue syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome (also called myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME) is a severe and disabling tiredness that goes on for at least six months. There are usually other symptoms, such as a sore throat, muscle or joint pain and headache.
Read more about chronic fatigue syndrome.
4. Sleep apnoea
Sleep apnoea is a condition where your throat narrows or closes during sleep and repeatedly interrupts your breathing. This results in bad snoring and a drop in your blood’s oxygen levels. The difficulty in breathing means that you wake up often in the night, and feel exhausted the next day.
It’s most common in overweight, middle-aged men. Drinking alcohol and smoking makes it worse.
Read more about sleep apnoea.
5. Underactive thyroid
An underactive thyroid gland means that you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired. You’re also likely to put on weight and have aching muscles. It’s most common in women, and it happens more often as you get older.
Your GP can diagnose an underactive thyroid by taking a blood test.
Read more about having an underactive thyroid.
One of the main symptoms of diabetes, a long-term condition caused by too much sugar in the blood, is feeling very tired. The other key symptoms are feeling very thirsty, going to the toilet a lot and weight loss. Your GP can diagnose diabetes with a blood test.
Find your local diabetes support services.
7. Glandular fever
Glandular fever is a common viral infection that causes fatigue, along with fever, sore throat and swollen glands. Most cases happen in teenagers and young adults. Symptoms usually clear up within four to six weeks, but the fatigue can linger for several more months.
Read more about glandular fever.
As well as making you feel very sad, depression can also make you feel drained of energy. It can stop you falling asleep or cause you to wake up early in the morning, which makes you feel more tired during the day.
Read more about depression.
9. Restless legs
This is when you get uncomfortable sensations in your legs, which keep you awake at night. You might have an overwhelming urge to keep moving your legs, a deep ache in your legs, or your legs might jerk spontaneously through the night. Whatever your symptoms, your sleep will be disrupted and of poor quality, so you’ll feel very tired throughout the day.
Read more about restless legs.
Feeling anxious is sometimes perfectly normal. However, some people have constant, uncontrollable feelings of anxiety, which are so strong they affect their daily life. Doctors call this generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). It affects around around one in 20 people in the UK. As well as feeling worried and irritable, people with GAD often feel tired.
Read more about anxiety.
Find your local anxiety support services.
This video may be of interest
A survey has lifted the lid on how men really feel when it comes to talking about sensitive topics, with nearly half of British men (49%) more comfortable discussing difficult financial matters than sensitive health issues such as loss of libido.
With only 4 in 10 (41%) regularly speaking with their partner about their physical and mental health, sensitive issues are proving to be a harder topic for today’s man to tackle, even in 2016.
However, experts are concerned that men’s lack of openness about their health may be stopping them from tackling any issues they are facing.
One such issue is testosterone deficiency syndrome or TDS, which affects around 700,000 men aged between 50 and 79 in the UK.
So we decided to interview Dr Douglas Savage who is both a GP and men’s health expert to find more about testosterone deficiency syndrome. What are the signs and symptoms of testosterone deficiency syndrome? How is testosterone deficiency syndrome treated? Who is affected by testosterone deficiency syndrome? Find out more in this fascinating interview below!
Patient Talk – From a clinical point of view, what is testosterone deficiency syndrome?
Dr Doug Savage – It’s a combination of a lower level of testosterone than normal and typical symptoms, the typical symptoms are what we call sexual and non-sexual ones, the sexual ones may be, erection problems and the non-sexual ones which are often actually more striking than the sexual ones , excessive fatigue, poor concentration, the patient often uses the word brain fog , they tend to find it difficult to think things through , they may have a depressed moods, they may be irritable , some of them get excess sweating but I would say the most striking one is the fatigue they often say it’s ridiculous as they could sit down and go straight to sleep.
Patient Talk – Who is affected by testosterone deficiency syndrome?
Dr Doug Savage – This can occur in men of all ages but it’s defiantly like a lot of other things most common as you get older and the reason it gets common as you get older is there is obviously a slight falling of testosterone with age so it’s often related to lifestyle deterioration as one gets older, it’s the same as putting weight on around the middle and as weight goes on around the middle this lowers testosterone and they often get into a vicious cycle as the more fat that goes on there lowers testosterone further and also lack of exercise, so once again this is a condition in many men related to lifestyle but it isn’t all that mainly slim men who exercise but it can get it but its commoner with people with poor lifestyle.
Patient Talk – And what are the main causes of TDS and are there other common co-commodities
Dr Doug Savage – Right so we’ve been into that already it often part of lifestyle or poor lifestyle so excess fat particular around the middle , lack of exercise but it’s also associated with typical medical conditions the commonest one being type 2 diabetes and it can occur in about 40% in those patients, its commoner in man with high blood pressure , cardiovascular disease so many who have had heart attacks, it’s also quite common in men with chronic diseases so what we call in nowadays CODP or what the public often call chronic bronchitis, people with poor kidney function and liver function and deterioration, HIV patients and also the thing that people may not be aware of is people who use chronically powerful pain relievers, it can occur there and often missed there because people just think that they feel sleepy because of the medication .
Patient Talk – Ok and what are the treatments of TDS?
Dr Doug Savage – There are many which will obviously will be discussed with the doctor in detail but generally like so many other conditions it starts with lifestyle modification, reducing that weight and increasing exercise but other treatments are several and would be discussed with your physician.
Patient Talk – And how effective are these treatments?
Dr Doug Savage – The great majority of men do improve both with rising level of testosterone and deduction in their symptoms and I would say there is quite a variation in the speed of recovery , you really do you know working as a doctor in this field many years you do get what I call miracle men and you know within two or three weeks they have just transformed, they will often say ‘god I feel 20 years younger ‘ so that’s the dramatic improvement which is unusual to be honest with you it’s generally a more slow improvement over months and for a few people it’s really a long time until they get fully well maybe even a year or so. We have established one of the reasons of that is connected with what we call ‘deficiency of the testosterone sector ‘basically it’s one thing improving the level of testosterone in the blood stream but obviously what matters is how their body uses that testosterone and its now been shown that peoples efficiency various from one person to another which can’t be predicted but I do warn all patient that this may take some time but be patient.
Patient Talk – Ok and what is the general prognosis of TDS and what changes in lifestyle that someone with TDS expect?
Dr Doug Savage – Well its great in the sense of that many patients we see will say ‘ oh I’ve tried this diet , I’ve tried this and I can’t seem to lose weight’ well what is amazing is often it’s a combination of lifestyle intervention so that’s obviously eating more appropriate food and less of it and medical treatment and if you put the two together that often does produce great improvements in symptoms and the waistline and there are definite trails showing that waist measurement can reduce on treatment and indeed in men improvement of a diabetic control for a diabetic, improvement of blood pressure as if they are losing weight than obviously that will improve so a combination of lifestyle and other treatments can have a great response.
Patient Talk – Ok and what advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with TDS?
Dr Doug Savage – Well to follow the doctor’s advice as I said, the problem is as we know we never, patients particularly men are terrible at taking following up appointments, getting blood tests and you know I do feel sorry for patients as like everybody else we have such busy lives and obviously it’s too tempting to not go back for review so it is very important that a patient attends follow up appointments and the appropriate blood tests.
Patient Talk – Ok and where can people go for more information?
Dr Doug Savage – Right well there is a very good website its especially about TDS and that is called www.whatistds.com and they can obviously google TDS deficiency symptoms and there is a lot of information there, there is loads of information out there and that’s one thing men are least good at they are not very good at talking about things but they are very good at doing the research online and there is plenty of information.
Patient Talk – Ok Dr Savage thank you very much.
Coffee, Diet and Health- what are the health benefits of coffee and how do different countries view coffee and health?
Despite a cultural love of coffee, over a third (39%) of Europeans are uncertain about the potential health benefits of coffee. Coffee remains integrated into the European lifestyle: predominantly drunk at home, at work or in cafes, with 40% of respondents saying coffee gets their day off to a good start.
The consumer research, conducted by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC), surveyed over 4,000 people across 10 European countries, to understand their beliefs, behaviours, and knowledge regarding a healthy diet.
The results show that although 70% of Europeans believe they are healthy, many still don’t know what lifestyle changes they can make to help reduce their risk of common, serious health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiovascular disease. Age was an important determining factor: with the youngest and oldest respondents revealing the biggest knowledge gaps.
European respondents told us that they are healthy. Given the overall rise in obesity and related health problems in Europe, some respondents may be over-confident about their own health:
· 70% of Europeans overall described themselves as either ‘fairly healthy’ or ‘very healthy’
· The French were most likely to describe themselves as either ‘fairly healthy’ or ‘very healthy’ (83%)
· The Danes were most likely to describe themselves as either ‘fairly unhealthy’ or ‘very unhealthy’ (51%)
· Coffee drinkers were 12% more likely to report better levels of health than non-coffee drinkers
· 76% of Europeans said they need more information on maintaining a healthy lifestyle
· 46% of women and 40% of men said their New Year’s resolution was to eat more healthily in 2016
Day-to-day health anxieties are prioritised over longer-term health risks, according to the survey results, despite the fact that cancer, cardiovascular (heart) disease and excessive alcohol consumption are some of the biggest public health concerns in Europe:
· 24% of respondents wanted to better manage their stress levels (the most stressed country was Italy, with 32% of Italians worried about stress), and 28% wanted to feel more energetic and less fatigued (the most tired country was Finland, with 45% of Finns worried about fatigue); compared to just 12% overall who were concerned about getting cancer, and 10% who were concerned about their heart health
· 18-24 year olds are as likely to cut down on coffee for their New Year’s resolution as they are to cut down on alcohol (9% for both). Danes are 2% more likely to cut down on alcohol than coffee
Respondents often struggled to recognise the potential health benefits of coffee:
· 71% of Europeans believe that drinking coffee does not help to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes (75% of those aged 55+ held this belief). However, scientific research suggests that drinking 3-4 cups of coffee a day is associated with an approximate 25% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes[6,7]
· 63% of Europeans believe that drinking coffee does not help to reduce the risk of mental decline in older people, for example Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease (64% of those aged 55+ who answered this question held this belief). Yet research suggests that moderate, life-long consumption of coffee is associated with a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s[8,9]
· 42% of Europeans believe that drinking coffee increases the risk of cardiovascular (heart) disease (54% of those aged 18-24 held this belief). But scientific studies have suggested an association between moderate coffee consumption and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease[10,11]
Age plays a large role in defining respondents’ awareness of coffee’s role in a healthy diet:
· On average, 18-24 year olds were the least successful at recognising the potential health benefits of coffee: for example, just over a quarter (28%) did not know that coffee can help increase concentration and alertness
· Older respondents displayed very poor knowledge of diseases that could potentially pose the highest statistical risk to them: over half (56%) of those aged 35 and above are not aware of the potential health benefits of coffee relating specifically to cognitive decline, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease risk
67% of Europeans stated that they could not imagine life without coffee. The health effects of coffee consumption have been extensively researched: moderate consumption of coffee at 3-5 cups per day has been associated with a range of desirable physiological effects and fits within a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised by EFSA to consume no more than 200mg of caffeine, per day, from all sources. This is equivalent to no more than two cups per day.
Professor Chris Seal, Professor of Food and Human Nutrition at Newcastle University, UK said: “Many Europeans enjoy a cup of coffee, but clearly some feel guilty about drinking it – and unnecessarily so. Moderate, regular coffee consumption at 3-5 cups per day has been linked to a number of positive health benefits, such as reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Hopefully, this means people will now enjoy their cup of coffee without the guilt.”
1. 4119 respondents across 10 European countries were surveyed by ISIC in November 2015
2. World Health Organization, ‘Obesity: Data and Statistics’ Available at: http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/noncommunicable-diseases/obesity/data-and-statistics
3. World Health Organization, ‘Cancer: Data and Statistics’ Available at: http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/noncommunicable-diseases/cancer/data-and-statistics
4. World Health Organization, ‘Cardiovascular diseases: Data and Statistics’ Available at: http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/noncommunicable-diseases/cardiovascular-diseases/data-and-statistics
5. World Health Organization, ‘Alcohol use: Data and Statistics’ Available at: http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/disease-prevention/alcohol-use/data-and-statistics
6. Huxley R. et al. (2009) Coffee, Decaffeinated Coffee, and Tea Consumption in Relation to Incident Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Arch Intern Med, 169:2053-63
7. Zhang Y. et al. (2011) Coffee consumption and the incidence of type 2 diabetes in men and women with normal glucose tolerance: The Strong Heart Study. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 21(6):418-23
8. Santos C. et al. (2010) Caffeine intake and dementia: systematic review and meta-analysis. J Alzheimers Dis, 20(1):187-204
9. Barranco Quintana J.L. et al. (2007) Alzheimer’s disease and coffee: a quantitative review. Neurol Res, 29:91-5
10. European Heart Network, ‘European Cardiovascular Disease Statistics 2012’ Available at: http://www.ehnheart.org/cvd-statistics.html
11. Ding M. et al (2014) Long-term coffee consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease: a systematic review and a dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Circulation. 129(6):643-59
12. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, ‘Moderate coffee drinking may lower risk of premature death’
13. EFSA (2015) Scientific Opinion on the Safety of Caffeine, EFSA Journal, 13(5):4102