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Important Stuff About Fatigue...

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By Benjamin A. Hassan usatriathlon.org)

 

“I train regularly for triathlon. Why am I so tired?”
 
Fatigue occurs in triathletes. Endurance athletes are often driven in many aspects of their lives, including their athletic training and competition. They expect to have more energy than others, not less. Fatigue is not welcome.
 
Every now and then, the energy is simply not there. “Fatigue” can appear in triathletes as a loss of vigor for training, a change in our heart rate with training and racing, the need for more sleep, loss of motivation for our sport or for other things in life, sleepiness, or simply feeling drained or down all day.
 
My medical approach for evaluation of fatigue in triathletes is similar to the medical approach to fatigue for I perform for any adult or child. I start by taking a good history that includes focused questions and listening to the specific responses. Often the responses provide clues to the etiology of the fatigue. Is there a sleep issue? Is the athlete feeling ill? Is there significant new home or work stress? Is there a new baby? Are there additional symptoms that indicate a medical illness? Is there blood loss or other suggestions of anemia? Physical examination and additional testing, such as blood work when indicated, provides further data to help determine the cause of fatigue....


 
Upon completion of my evaluation, I assemble a list of possible causes. In the medical field, we use the term “differential diagnosis” as our name for that list. Fatigue in athletes can be caused by (the differential diagnosis can include):
1 a virus such as a respiratory infection or intestinal virus
2 a thyroid problem
3 insufficient sleep
4 overtraining
5 blood-loss anemia (not enough iron in the red blood cells)
6 anemia from not enough iron in the diet (iron deficiency)
7 depression
It is, of course, possible to experience more than one of the above conditions. A common and useful method to find a solution is to eliminate potential causes one by one.  READ MORE

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