I read a story today conducted by the St. James’s Hospital and Trinity Translational Medicine Institute, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, and fatigue appearing in half of those recovering from COVID-19. Fatigue was diagnosed on both ends of the COVID-19 spectrum – mild to severe symptoms. (https://www.foxnews.com/health/coronavirus-persistent-fatigue-more-than-half-patients-study)
Fatigue is a feeling over being extremely tired, having low energy levels, and a strong desire to sleep. Exhaustion or fatigue can impede both work and family life. Lethargy or fatigue is caused by many factors outside of recovering from COVID-19. It might be due to lack of quality sleep, extended periods of exertion, jetlag, growing older, being stressed out, and even eating a large meal.
Other Causes of Fatigue
I do not believe that the causes above could extend fatigue for weeks on end. What about the medicines we take and the foods we eat? Those activities go on daily. Diseases (not including COVID-19) like allergies and hay fever have symptoms that include fatigue. The medicines used to treat allergies and hay fever may also leave you feeling weak and tired.
A few of us (around 5%) have anemia (low red blood cell count) and that also causes us to have low energy levels. Anxiety and depression often leave us weak and lethargic. After the birth of a baby, postpartum depression can produce days and weeks of fatigue. Food allergies and intolerance commonly leave us exhausted day after day.
We know that the risk of death from COVID-19 is associated more with people suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and heart issues. Those diseases and the medicines used to treat them can leave people weary and tired all the time.
An underactive thyroid is another health issue that has symptoms of sluggishness and extreme fatigue. https://www.webmd.com/balance/how-tired-is-too-tired#1 is a good source of information about these issues and more.
Cancer Treatment and Fatigue
My wife underwent months of chemotherapy to treat her breast cancer followed by weeks of radiation therapy. The only symptom that was difficult to treat was fatigue – chemo-induced fog and fatigue. She would take one or two two-hour naps daily. The radiologist told us that her fatigue would probably get worse.
My wife (and I) started the diet protocol of Dr. Terry Wahls, author of The Wahls Protocol, on Day 1 of Radiation. (https://www.amazon.com/Wahls-Protocol-Autoimmune-Conditions-Principles/dp/1583335544) By the morning of Day 3, her fatigue was gone. A week after starting radiation therapy, she returned to volunteering at her church. The last day of radiation had us leaving Houston, TX, and driving to Jacksonville, FL – one-thousand miles.
I rented a U-Haul and brought my mother’s estate items back to Texas. My wife followed me, by herself, 500 miles each day, without a problem – 48 hours after her last radiation treatment.
Did the diet change recommended in Dr. Wahls’ book make a difference? I believe so. It wiped out months of chemo-fog and weeks of radiation-imposed fatigue (that never materialized). What was the magic?
The Wahls Protocol recommends four pillars of functional health – toxin removal, dietary choices, exercise, and stress management. We have all heard of those before. Why is this different?
The dietary choices provide 100% of over 30 nutrients the body requires daily. Deficiencies in any of those requirements can lead to fatigue and other health problems. My wife lost 30 pounds in less than six weeks, regained her normal life (without fatigue) in two days, and was fully alert and functional. The only real change was her diet.
Back to the Study
128 patients were recruited a couple of months after their recovery from COVID-19. The focus of the study was to determine how much fatigue affected their recovery from COVID-19. Did the virus linger in the body and cause persistent fatigue?
Of the 128 patients – 45% were not hospitalized – 54% reported fatigue months after recovery – and 52% were female. 67% of the women reported fatigue. Pre-existing conditions and family history were recorded as well as tests for fatigue biomarkers and more. The Chalder Fatigue Score (CFQ-11) was used to assess each patient. See https://me-pedia.org/wiki/Chalder_fatigue_scale for more information on the CFQ-11.
Fatigue affected both those who were hospitalized and those who were not. The takeaway of the study is that recovery of all COVID-19 patients should include awareness and treatment for fatigue.
This study is still in peer-review and will be presented shortly by the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.
Does a small group of 128 patients constitute an adequate sample size to make judgments? Maybe. Are there other factors that might have been explored when taking family histories and medicine usage? Probably.
Fatigue is not caused by a single factor. Yes, several underlying issues can increase your fatigue level and then add a common cold, seasonal influenza, COVID-19, other health issues, and your body could take months to recover.
The lessons my wife and I learned from her cancer battle with chemo-induced fatigue were off-the-charts amazing. Months of chemotherapy and weeks of radiation-related fatigue were whisked away in hours.
Why did we decide to try the Wahls Protocol? Read about the story behind Dr. Terry Wahls and her overcoming years of advanced multiple sclerosis. Her story inspired us to try a simple option – change in diet. Her result was the ability to be a normal human being again after four years in a wheelchair.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com