Fatigue is a common symptom associated with sickle cell disease. Due to the smaller size of our red blood cells, we cannot carry as much oxygen as those with healthier red blood cells. This leads to a lack of oxygen in our bodies and, ultimately, fatigue.
Fatigue describes the feeling of constant tiredness and lack of energy. Being tired all of the time is frustrating because it prevents me from doing some of the things I want to do. In response, I have decided to do all that I can to minimize its effects.
Following are some of the things that have helped me:
1. Drink more water
Being hydrated is essential to optimizing your energy levels. When we are dehydrated, our blood thickens and does not move as freely through our bodies. This means that the heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body, which results in fatigue.
Making sure you are well hydrated may significantly improve your energy. Other benefits associated with good hydration include clearer skin and better liver function. In a previous column, I shared tips for maintaining adequate hydration levels.
2. Optimize your sleep
Adhering to a good sleep routine can help when it comes to dealing with fatigue. This includes the quantity of sleep and the activities we engage in before bedtime.
While preparing for sleep, some people may opt for a hot drink. While this may be comforting, if the drink contains caffeine, it could prevent you from falling asleep. Drinks that are high in sugar and alcoholic beverages can also disrupt your sleep.
Ensuring adequate rest is essential when combating fatigue. Experts recommend that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep a night.
Your sleep quality can also be improved with a favorable environment. Make sure that your room is dark, cool, and quiet to minimize disturbances while you sleep.
3. Eat well
Maintaining a balanced diet can help with managing fatigue. While foods and drinks that are high in sugar can give you an energy boost, this tends to be short-lived and may leave you feeling more tired a short time afterward.
It’s better to consume foods that take longer to digest to maintain a steady level of energy throughout the day. These foods include bananas, oatmeal, salmon, chicken, and beans.
Do you have any tips for combating fatigue associated with sickle cell? Please share in the comments below.
Note: Sickle Cell Anemia 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 Sickle Cell Anemia News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sickle cell anemia.
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