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Articles > You can conquer cancer-related fatigue: How to outsmart the top energy sappers and get back your pep

You can conquer cancer-related fatigue: How to outsmart the top energy sappers and get back your pep

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How to outsmart the
top energy sappers
and get back your pep
Fighting cancer can take a lot out of you. Just processing the diagnosis can take an emotional toll, and then there's the physical side. Not only does the cancer itself rob your body of energy-boosting nutrients, but the treatment can leave you feeling weak, drowsy or achy. And resting often isn't enough to help you get back your pep. The good news? Discovering the root of your tiredness can help you recharge your batteries.

Energy sapper:
Sleep disruptions
The cause: Anything from anxiety and depression to
nausea and the medications used to treat it. Another
sleep saboteur is daytime napping, which can make
you less tired at bedtime.
The signs: You may have difficulty falling asleep, you may wake up during the night or you may wake up too early and have trouble getting back to sleep.
The pick-me-up: If you're suffering from pain, anxiety or depression, medication and/or counseling can help. Also, aim for 30 minutes of daily sun exposure. Try eating your lunch outside or go for a walk. (Just don't forget sunscreen!) This will stimulate your brain to produce the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin in the evening, helping you to drift off faster, sleep more deeply and wake up less frequently
during the night.

Energy sapper:
Anemia
The cause: Chemotherapy, which slows the production of oxygen-
carrying red blood cells. And many advanced cancers can slow red blood cell production, as well.
The signs: The fatigue can be mild and last just a few days'or it can be severe and draining and involve bouts of dizziness and breathlessness.
The pick-me-up: If a blood test shows you're anemic, ask your doctor about trying an erythropoiesis-stimulating agent. This medication jump-starts red blood cell production and will probably ease your fatigue.

Energy sapper:
Inflammation
The cause: Your body is trying to wipe out cancer cells by producing pro-inflammatory cytokines'substances that encourage your immune system to attack cancer cells. Problem is, your body may produce too many cytokines, and the excess may spill into the bloodstream. High levels of inflammation are linked to fatigue in cancer patients.
The signs: If you're having trouble eating a healthy diet'fruits, vegetables, whole grains'inflammation could be to blame.
The pick-me-up: Stock up on your favorite fruits and vegetables, and eat at least two cups of each daily. They're rich in carotenoids and flavonoids'compounds that help reduce inflammation. A dietitian can help you find ways to eat healthfully despite a loss of appetite or difficulty swallowing.

Energy sapper:
Dehydration
The cause: Chemotherapy can cause
diarrhea and vomiting'both of which can result in fluid loss. Infections, fever, difficulty eating and/or drinking, and bleeding after
surgery can also increase your risk.
The signs: Dehydration slows the function of your cerebral cortex, a brain region that helps you
make decisions, solve problems and think clearly. You may feel fatigued and foggy-headed, and physical activities may seem more grueling than they used to.
The pick-me-up: Drinking 64 ounces of water daily helps prevent'and treat'dehydration. To meet that goal, start by measuring your tallest water glass. If it holds 16 ounces'a surprisingly common size these days'then you'll need to fill it only four times to meet your daily quota. If you find water a little dull, jazz it up with crushed ice, citrus wedges or a splash of juice. You can also choose flavored waters, seltzer, 100% fruit juices, milk, and low-sodium vegetable juices and broths.

Energy sapper:
Stress
The cause: About one-third of breast cancer survivors report that they continue to experience fatigue after their treatment has ended. Researchers are beginning to understand why: The stress of battling cancer may cause changes in their autonomic nervous system, which controls heart rate, digestion and breathing. In a recent study published in Psychoneuroendocrinology, breast cancer survivors who experienced chronic exhaustion had higher levels of the stress hormone norepinephrine, compared to women who didn't report long-term fatigue.
The signs: In addition to feeling exhausted, you often worry and can't seem to unwind, even in the company of family or friends.
The pick-me-up: Get moving. Cancer patients who walked for at least 90 minutes per week on three or more days reported less fatigue and distress, as well as a better quality of life than those who were less active, according to a study published in the journal Cancer Practice. Talk with your doctor before starting any new
exercise program.

Anxiety Breast Cancer Diarrhea Anorexia Anxiety Balance Breathlessness Depression Diarrhea Difficulty Breathing Dizziness Dry Heaves Dysphagia Exhaustion Fever Food Aversion Frequent Bowel Movements Heart Palpitations Insomnia Loose Bowel Movements Loose Stool Loss Of Balance Nausea Pain Poor Appetite Stool, Loose Stress Throwing Up Tiredness Unsteadiness Watery Stool Woozy Worry Norepinephrine Cancer Fatigue Melatonin Exercise More Inflammation Chemotherapy Depression

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