Tips for Managing Fatigue When You Have Hypoparathyroidism
Fatigue is common among people with a chronic disease, and is likely familiar to those with hypoparathyroidism. Here are some tips to help you manage fatigue and possibly get relief.
What is hypoparathyroidism?
Hypoparathyroidism is a rare condition in which the parathyroid glands produce too little parathyroid hormone (PTH). This causes a drop in calcium levels and a rise in phosphorus levels in the blood. This imbalance can result in a host of symptoms that, in addition to fatigue and generalized weakness, can include tingling in the fingertips, toes, and lips, and muscle pains or cramps.
Fatigue is hard to measure
Fatigue is classified as chronic if it has been present for more than six months and not relieved by rest. Because feelings of fatigue can be subjective and difficult to quantify or treat, healthcare professionals sometimes disregard it.
What causes it?
There are many prospective causes of fatigue including the effect of treatments, eating problems, pain, pernicious anemia, and illness and ensuing psychological effects.
Fatigue in hypoparathyroidism
Despite calcium and vitamin D supplements given to patients with hypoparathyroidism, many report a poor quality of life with symptoms that include fatigue.
An online survey of 374 patients with hypoparathyroidism in the U.S. found that, in addition to emotional and cognitive impairments, the majority of participants also experienced fatigue.
In a study of 62 hypoparathyroidism patients in Denmark, when asked about fatigue, 22% said they had been tired, 37% reported that they had been very tired, and 37% answered that they had been tired most of the time for a prolonged period. In the study, 22% of participants didn’t report fatigue.
A recent study also found that increased fatigue in postoperative patients with chronic hypoparathyroidism is linked to cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy — a neurological impairment in heart rate control.
Ways to manage fatigue
Talk with your physician about the potential causes of fatigue, its impact on your life, and stages of management.
While no treatment directly targets fatigue, certain medications can address problems that may cause it. For example, prescription analgesics and antidepressants used to control muscle pain in hypoparathyroidism may indirectly help relieve fatigue.
Other possible ways include:
Conserve your energy and pace yourself, making sure you get enough rest between activities.
Using relaxation techniques
Common relaxation techniques may help in the management of pain, sleep problems, and anxiety. They include progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, yoga, and music and art therapy.
Making lifestyle changes
Improving overall fitness, sleeping patterns, hydration, and diet also may help. In addition, cognitive-behavioral therapy may help you change any unhealthy habits that contribute to fatigue.
Drink plenty of water, particularly after exercise or other strenuous activity. Sometimes you feel tired merely because you’re somewhat dehydrated.
Activities to avoid
Since sleep issues can worsen fatigue, try to avoid caffeine and sugar, large meals, watching television, looking at a computer or smartphone screen, and doing anything that might be emotionally upsetting within a few hours of bedtime. Taking a warm bath, and reading a book or magazine also may be helpful.
Last updated: June 19, 2020
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