“Why am I so tired?” I ask myself at 10 in the morning, just a few short hours after waking up. I wish that I could say this was due to lack of sleep the night before, or from overexerting myself in the early hours of the morning. The only reason I have as to why I am so tired and feel so fatigued is that my body is fighting for itself every second of each day. It works overtime to keep me alive. The heart that is pumping blood through my body tries its best to make up for low blood pressure. My lungs work to retain enough oxygen and release carbon dioxide. My body is demanding a level of oxygen and nutrients that I’m currently getting through oxygen therapy.
My mind is fighting to stay positive amid the stress and worry that comes with any illness. I ask myself, “Why am I so tired?” This is why.
With pulmonary hypertension, tired is more than just coming home after a long day of work and stating, “I could use a nap, I’m exhausted.” When I say, “I’m tired,” what I really mean is that it is a challenge for me to even make it to my bed to take a nap. When I say, “I need to rest,” I know that when I wake up from napping, I won’t feel rejuvenated.
This level of fatigue affects my mind, making it hard to form complete sentences. I feel it all the way through my body down to my feet as they try their best to keep me standing upright. Feeling tired takes on a whole new meaning with chronic illness.
Unfortunately for those of us with pulmonary hypertension and other chronic illness, we don’t’ have much control over the level of exhaustion we experience on a day-to-day basis. Some days, we might be able to get through a whole day of work and have enough energy to make dinner at night. Other days, we find ourselves struggling to concentrate at 10 in the morning. Even though we have to recharge more frequently, it’s important to give our bodies proper nourishment, exercise, hydration, sleep, and maintain a healthy mindset. Through these “simple” daily habits, we can gain control in many aspects of health.
Give your body proper nourishment and hydration. It’s essential to eat throughout the day. Have more frequent meals and pack them with foods that help boost energy levels, including foods high in vitamins A and C. Talk with a doctor about supplements and vitamins that can give you extra amounts of natural energy. Stay hydrated and limit your intake of caffeine. Even the smallest amount of dehydration has negative effects on the body.
When it comes to exercise, talk with your doctor about what they recommend for you. Taking short walks during the day when I am feeling well enough makes a difference in my energy levels. When I feel as though I can’t complete a walk, I do light yoga and stretching exercises. When your body feels stronger, your mind will, too.
Take care of your mind and mental health. Talk with a therapist or trusted friend to help you talk through feelings of anxiety and depression. I have noticed that depression and anxiety make me feel more run down. Treat your mind the same way you would treat your physical conditions.
Even though we control what we can, I understand that exhaustion can happen out of nowhere. It can be frustrating when we are doing the right things for our bodies, but still feel too tired to move. When our bodies are telling us they have had enough and are demanding that we rest, we must listen. An important thing to remember on these days controlled by our fatigue is that every single day isn’t like this. Find peace in knowing that you are doing all you can.
When you have a bad day, remember: Even though you don’t feel like you’re working to your maximum, your body always is working overtime.
Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.