T Nation

Looking For Medical Advice


#1

This isnt one of those "I'm pissing orange,
please diagnose me" posts. I've actually been to a number of doctors and have not gotten much relief, so if you will bear with me, I'll give you a synopsis. The opinions of any doctors or experts on alternative therapies would be doubly appreciated.

For a number of months now I have experienced the following:

-Very disturbed sleep patterns(insomnia) which include frequent awakenings and occasionally trouble falling asleep.
-Occasional short periods where I will feel completely drained(usually lasting a couple of hours).
-Occassional bouts of not feeling very clear-headed(brainfog).
-Somewhat diminshed cardiovascular stamina
-Fluctuations in mood including irritability and lack of motivation

Now, all of this is pretty unusual for me. Im in my late twenties, very active and consume a very clean balanced diet.
Im very happily married and my house is in good order so to speak(doing well financially, strong family and friend relationships etc.)

Medically, I have pretty bad seasonal allergies and have been showing slightly elevated blood pressure as of late(135/85 or so). Otherwise, no apparent medical problems and I have had a number of blood tests and seen a couple of doctors, but no specialists as there is nothing to really refer me for I guess. I sometimes use Lunesta or Ambien because of the sleep problems, but I use very low doses and try to keep
the uses as infrequent as possible. No other medications otherwise and certainly no illegal drugs, smoking and minimal alcohol.

I have a high paying job as a cop. There are two problems there however. One, I work weekly rotating shifts(1 week of days, 1 week afternoons, 1 week midnights and then back). The schedule is very tough but I have done it for years with no major problems. I also have a number of stresses at work, but I honestly don't think they are effecting me that much. Otherwise, I love what I do for a living and am very proud of it.

From looking into it, I understand that many people exhibit the symptoms I laid out and struggle with them for years. Im not real thrilled with that idea and have been looking for answers.

I have considered trying to find an alternative physician to look at possible food allergies, toxic mineral levels, hormone levels, adrenal fatigue and all of those kind of things. Insurance companies dont tend to cover those types of doctors and treatments and I would have to pay out of pocket. I dont have a problem doing that, as long as it would be of some significant help to do so.

Seeing as there tends to be many very knowledgable people on this site in terms of health, I figured I would throw this out there and see if I could get some guidance..


#2

If Western medicine hasn't helped, check into alternative stuff. I've used much with great success.

Look for a naturopath in your area. It probably wouldn't hurt to see a therapist, also. You are in a line of work that exposes you to a lot of disturbing stuff.


#3

Have your bloodwork done and see if your test levels are starting to drop. With stress and sleep problems it could be a self-perpetuating issue.

Some of the symptoms you talk about could be similar to those associated with low test...

It could also be a billion other things, but go for the relatively common issues that have similar symptoms and get tested for them.


#4

You say balanced diet but what do you consider balanced? What you described, minus the BP as I never checked, is pretty much how I feel when I am low carbing; however, the sleeping does improve after a few weeks.

What is your diet like? EFA's? Booze? Exercise regimen?

NH-Watts


#5

Your symptoms sound very similar to what I went through at age 27. I am hypothyroid. I hope that your Docs have already had this checked, but who knows. I would ask your Doc for a referral to an endocronologist, if your insurance requires such a referral. A lot of doctors will give you a hard time up front about requesting referrals, but I've found that if you say, "I really would like to see an endo and would like a referral" they usually cave in. The endo will check all of those hormonal issues.

Good luck,
DB


#6

Well, good luck to you. I'm one of those people who have had some of those symptoms for years
( -long periods where I will feel completely drained
-bouts of not feeling very clear-headed(brainfog).
- diminished stamina
-Fluctuations in mood including irritability and lack of motivation )
plus depression, chronic myofascial pain and others. It's only gotten worse and with more symptoms since then.

I've never had the $ to pursue a bunch of tests but have done a lot of my own research on chronic fatigue/myofascial pain, fibromyalgia, etc. I've been told it was "all in my head" by medical doctors and it is quite frustrating and demeaning to say the least. The one time I did have my test levels checked they were low 300's and the doc said that was perfectly "normal".

One thing that does give me (temporary) relief is therapeutic massage. Giving up all caffeine (except Spike and green tea) and avoiding sugar helps a bit too.

I hope you find a solution and get some relief.


#7

You are describing many of the symptoms of depression. I'm not saying it's "all in your head" but that the body naturally reacts to life's stressors with this depressive response...talk to your doc about this, therapy helps (as do medications, if you are agreeable). Also the hypothyroid issue should be ruled out, but your regular doc can do this.

Hope this helps.


#8

All good answers guys. I'll add some more info to clarify.

Let's see.

-My thyroid levels are good. Already been checked.

-You bring up something I have been considering Vroom. However, Im in my late twenties, carry decent muscle and have a strong sex drive. Could it be declining test? Maybe but I tend to doubt it. Still something to look into.

-I dont eat low carb or low fat. Clean protein sources such as meat and protein powder(200-300 grams a day). Complex carbs with most meals. 30-50 grams of fiber a day. Plenty of fat from olive oil, nuts, almond butter and fish. Also a lot of vegetables and fruits(mainly organic) as well as a green food supplement. I take a lot of supplements including fish oil, a multi(animal packs actually), Vitamin C and a few other things.

-I train a lot. Im doing something physical every day. I spend 4 or 5 days a week training jujitsu or muay thai as well as lifting and doing supplemental cardio. I have cut back some as I thought I may be experiencing an overtraining issue, but it didnt help.

COuld it be overtraining? I guess, but Im pretty experienced in physical training as I have been at it a long time and I tend to know what my threshold is. Let's put it this way. I
was training this much for years, while working this asinine schedule, and didnt experience these problems.

-I know with cops that the quick thought is there are some psychological issues going on because of what we deal with regularly but in all honesty, I dont think that is the case either. I dont work in a super-rough area and although Ive seen some ugly things, I have managed to put them in persepective. Nothing haunts me and there certainly was no major stressor that kicked off the current symptoms I am experiencing.

Maybe this will help in guiding the responses. ANyway, thanks guys.


#9

JD I'm sending you an IM


#10

When you are trying to solve a problem that seems to allude physicians you want to start with the most logical and easy to address issue first and work up from there. All things being equal, the most obvious thing is usually the culprit.

Having said that, you need to reconsider your activity level. Your body does not know the difference between mental and physical stress. So having a stressful job is like a workout in itself in terms of your bodies physical resources. Combine that with poor sleep due to a shifting bedtime (which reeks havoc with your circadian rhythm), martial arts training, and weight training and your body is dealing with a lot of stress with poor ability to recover from it because of poor sleep.

So if it was me I would take two weeks off from all strenuous activity. No martial arts and no weight training. Also try and keep a regular bedtime as much as possible.

Check your resting pulse rate after you wake up in the morning before the two weeks off, and then again after the two weeks, and I bet it will be much lower after the time off. That and how you feel will tell you if you have been overstressing your body of not.

At your age the signs of overtraining are not as apparent as with older guys. So it is highly possible that too much stress combined with poor recover is the problem.

Take the time off, I can't hurt and it could help a lot. If anything it will give you more info about the problem. Save all the expensive tests, psychotherapy, high colonics or whatever else has been suggested for when you really know it isn't and overstressed issue.


#11

some melatonin pills might help you catch some extra sleep especially when you have night shifts.


#12

I agree with this. THEN you can pursue other tests.

My opinion. I dont know much.

NH-Watts


#13

depressive illness is physical, not psychological, and many of those things are often associated to depression.

Ask yourself this.

Do you feel achy sometimes, for no apparent reason?
Do you feel like there is no colour in a day, and its hard to get up.
Is motivation hard?

You exercise and eat well, which may be keeping it at bay. As for assistance, there is lots, but of course, it has stigma too.

When you say you have seen bad things but you can deal with it, then thats more post traumatic stress. Depression can be from a number of areas, especially if there is a family history.

By the way, homeopathy is NOT the way to go for anything.