Fighting Fatigue in Cancer Patients

Causes of Fatigue in Cancer Patients

Fatigue greatly affects   people during cancer treatment.   Cancer fatigue can result from the side effects of treatment,  like Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, bone marrow transplantation and biological therapy.  Cancer itself  can cause fatigue.  Cancers can increase your body’s need for energy, weaken your muscles, cause damage to certain organs (such as liver, kidney, heart or lungs) or alter your body’s hormones, all of which contribute to fatigue. Fatigue may occur as your body tries to repair the damage to healthy cells and tissue. Some treatment side effects — such as anemia, nausea, vomiting, pain, insomnia and changes in mood — also may cause fatigue.Medications. Certain medications, such as pain relievers, can cause fatigue. Hormonal changes also may occur as side effects of treatments, such as surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Changes to the thyroid gland, adrenal glands, testes or ovaries can all cause fatigue.

Impacts of Fatigue

Impacts of Fatigue

Related Treatment

Get moving.  Seek for your doctors advise if  mild to moderate exercise is possible. Try  swimming, walking, yoga, etc.

Balance rest, sleep, and activity. Have enough sleep and rest but never overdo.   Too much rest decreases your energy level.

Eat a well-balanced diet and drink adequate water.. You may  eat small meals but take them frequently during the day. Choose nutritious foods like nuts, eggs, beans, lentils, fruits, and vegetables. Also, make it a goal to eat at least two servings of fish a week — evidence shows omega-3 fats may ease fatigue by reducing inflammation.

Use relaxation methods or creative outlets to reduce stress (i.e. deep breathing, imagery, meditation, music, art).

Maintain your social life.

Image from Cancer Network

Fighting Fatigue for Athletes

  • Use of Caffeine. – According to Spriet, “Caffeine allows athletes to handle greater levels of fatigue for longer periods of time through its alterations to the central nervous system which change perceptions of effort and fatigue.  Like all drugs, the effect of caffeine varies considerably from person to person, so it is best to test-run caffeine during a practice before taking it in competition. ” Caffeine acts on as an adenosine antagonist in  the central nervous system . When adenosine binds to its receptors in the brain, neural activity slows down, causing fatigue.  When caffeine binds to the same receptors in the brain,  adenosine prevents  from slowing you down.  Caffeine lessens s the feeling of fatigue in three or four minutes.  Spriet recommends the maximum dose  is three milligrams per kilogram of body weight (~200 mg) to be taken  from 45 to 90 minutes before activity.
Fatigue on Athletes

Fatigue on Athletes

  • Eating Right food After Work Out – Eating the right food after  exercise not only provides the proper nutrition but also helps the  body fight fatigue.   It  also provides the building blocks necessary to repair muscle tissues after a hard day in the gym. Drinking a shake that has 30 grams of protein and 60 grams of carbohydratess helps re-energize the  muscles and supports the muscle recovery. respectively.
  • Drinking Enough  Water – Adequate amount of water intake  supports muscle endurance during exercise.  Water also flushes toxins out of the system. For the best results, the American Council on Exercise suggests drinking 8 oz. of water half an hour before  exercising and sipping 10 oz. of water every 20 minutes while working out.

Image from Running Mechanics


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