Tips for Managing Fatigue When You Have FAP
Fatigue is defined as extended periods of exhaustion or lack of energy and can be a symptom for patients with neuromuscular disorders such as familial amyloid polyneuropathy (FAP). Fatigue can be physical, mental, or emotional.
FAP and fatigue
FAP is a progressive genetic disorder where abnormal proteins called amyloid fibrils build up inside tissues. The buildup of amyloid within the nervous system can lead to many symptoms, which can make it hard to rest and cause fatigue.
FAP also can result in a buildup of amyloid in the heart, causing stiffening of the heart muscle. The stiffened heart muscle won’t be able to pump as much oxygen-rich blood to the body as before, which also can cause fatigue.
Lifestyle changes for managing fatigue
Several lifestyle changes can improve feelings of fatigue.
Eating healthier foods such as fruits and vegetables can help reduce fatigue as your body may be lacking key nutrients.
Also, make sure you drink enough water throughout the day; many people who experience fatigue are mildly dehydrated.
Even though you may feel as though you have low energy, research has shown that increases in physical activity can reduce fatigue. However, make sure you pace yourself and take frequent breaks so as not to exhaust yourself.
Other lifestyle changes that can improve fatigue are to quit smoking, reduce alcohol consumption, and avoid recreational drug use.
Life with a rare disease can be stressful and stress and anxiety can play a role in fatigue. Relaxation and meditation exercises can help reduce stress. Cognitive-behavioral therapy also can be useful to learn techniques to reduce and deal with stress in your life.
It is important to make sure you are getting enough rest. Try to get between seven and nine hours of sleep per day as The National Sleep Foundation recommends. Make sure that you limit the use of electronics before bedtime because light from the screens can interfere with your sleep cycle.
Also make sure to avoid caffeine, sugar, and large meals several hours before bedtime. Relaxing activities such as a warm bath or reading a book before bedtime can help with insomnia. Pain also can interfere with your ability to sleep, so pain management strategies, including medications or heating pads, may help you sleep more comfortably.
If you are struggling with fatigue, consult with your physician about possible causes and remedies. Some medications you use may be contributing to drowsiness and fatigue. They also may be interfering with your ability to sleep.
There may be some medications your physician could prescribe to help increase your energy levels.
It also is important to consult with your physician before making any large changes in your lifestyle, such as starting exercise and making dietary changes.
Last updated: Sept. 10, 2020
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