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Don't take fatigue lying down

August 6, 2020

About the Author

photo of Matthew Solan

Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

Matthew Solan is the executive editor of Harvard Men’s Health Watch. He previously served as executive editor for UCLA Health’s Healthy Years and as a contributor to Duke Medicine’s Health News and Weill Cornell Medical College’s … See Full Bio
View all posts by Matthew Solan


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Sandeep Sitoke
April 26, 2017

I check my health with this app it’s not promotional I only share which is working for me.

J. K. Frascari
April 24, 2017

It is critically important to note that Matthew Solan’s recommendation to “Go for a 30-minute walk. ‘If you can’t get outside, walk around your house in bouts of 10 to 15 minutes, two to three times a day,'” can be HARMFUL for people with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). See:

Mr. Solan, the responsible thing would be to explicitly note this exception directly after this particular piece of advice. Many thousands of people with ME/CFS have been advised to exercise, contradicting biomedical research that has established the dangers of doing so for people with ME/CFS.

Please, we need and expect you to be scientifically accurate when writing for the Harvard Health Blog and elsewhere.

April 24, 2017

Isn’t fatigue sometimes a symptom of Parkinson’s disease?

R. Smith
April 24, 2017

Doctors ruined my life for 30 years with all the meds they gave me for fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. Finally, I watched House of Healing on Youtube. The counselor in this video used to be a paid counselor…not just a Jesus freak. The template he uses is similar to the questions I was asked while being a guinea pig for a new drug for fibromyalgia at University Hospital in Cincinnati (the drug didn’t work for me). Michael W. Smith from House of Healing has changed my life and the lives of all my suffering friends. He exposes the fact that most sufferers of fibro/ptsd/etc. were traumatized early in childhood; physically, emotionally and/or in addition to being victims of sexual predators and abandonment; they feel rejected and become easy targets for narcissists.
I watched a secular You Tube video by Kim Saeed called “Why narcissists discard you at the worst possible time!” Finally, I realized I had been unwittingly traumatized for 32 years by a narcissistic husband, narcissistic family members and “friends.” I learned to remove myself from situations.
Just knowing the game plan of narcissistic abuse patterns has kept me out of pharmaceutical drug dependence…I owe a lot to my biochemist son that is a patent attorney(lol) in Washington D.C. John is the one who told me that it was all in my head while doing research in the lab and working on publishing an article in Nature during the time he was a student working at The University of Chicago.
The early patterns of rejection, abuse, victimization and sexual abuse becomes a lifelong pattern. Sexual predators remove the child from the guardianship of loving parents; the predator tells the child not to tell your parents, therefore, the victim is now an “orphan”. Being an “orphan” and victim of narcissistic abuse creates stress and burns up the thyroid and immune system. Thyroid overload is the physical cause of all the symptoms of fibro/ptsd/etc. (the mean used in thyroid testing is way below a healthy norm). My dentist, a biochemist, told me the only answer he found for his wife is dissicated thyroid since none of the artificial thyroid meds worked for his wife.
For me, this seems to be an excellent addition to a combined approach of sunshine, an amazing support group, forgiveness, exercise, fresh non refined,low carb non gmo food, B12, ginger, turmeric, prayer,proper breathing, info from Heart Math Institute, applying research proving the power of words and prayer over cellular development( Masaru Emoto) so that I speak affirmations over myself in front of a mirror, understanding cardio-neurology and quantum physics( at a very basic level) have all been part of my amazing journey back to health.
R. Smith, M.E.

April 29, 2017

Thank you for sharing your difficult journey that has brought you to a better place. Staying away from all drugs if possible is the way to go with CFS/Fibro. Also, consider an overgrowth of Candida in the intestines, likely from antibiotics & steroids. Think of a tree with a fungus. Now imagine the human body with one.

Zahida mahmood
April 24, 2017

I like all the articles which I receive from ” health Harvard”, but this one is amazing. This is my life story. I love this article and want to thank to all members, writers, doctors who do so much research and help us. Many many thanks.

April 24, 2017

Don’t forget to have your thyroid checked. I had lots of tiredness over the winter and it turned out my thyroid was out of balance. The doctor isn’t sure what caused it but it’s back to normal.

Also, not mentioned is the amount of alcohol people drink that can interfere with sleep patterns. I don’t drink but have relatives that do especially close to bedtime and complain they don’t sleep well.

Ms Tess
April 24, 2017

You didn’t mention allergies. On days when the pollen count is very high I lack the energy to do much of anything except nap. My dog also reacts by biting herself. After a brief rain I am good to go.

Joseph Shapiro
April 24, 2017

There are 73 “Topics” listed. Assuming $20.00 each, the cost $1,460 ! Perhaps it is time for consolidation, on line, or print, or both. Your thoughts.

April 24, 2017

You left out Epstein Barr virus. A recurrence of this virus can cause extreme fatigue for an extended period of time, but can be improved with simple lifestyle changes.

April 24, 2017

Also check vitamin D levels. Very low vitamin D can cause that all day tired feeling.

Esther Siebert
April 20, 2017

Not sure why several people think ME/CFS isn’t mentioned. The current article says:

“Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). This is a complex disorder that causes unexplained extreme fatigue, which can worsen after physical or mental activity and does not improve with rest. Its cause is unknown, but may be linked to one or more underlying issue.”

Maybe this wasn’t included in the original post. I don’t know. But it is now…

Richard P
April 19, 2017

The first piece of advice is to take a drug?!!

April 24, 2017

Since when were coffee or tea classified as drugs?

Richard Caulker
April 25, 2017

Why not? Doctors do it all the time. Besides, moderate coffee consumption has many health benefits.

April 18, 2017

I agree why no mention of cfs me. It’s disgusting how patients are trampled on by the medical profession as far as this illness is concerned

Nancy Blake
April 18, 2017

There is no mention of ME/CFS as a possible cause of fatigue.

Nancy Blake
April 17, 2017

This article fails to include ME/CFS/SEID as a possible reason for fatigue.

Inability to keep up with normal activities, and a range of symptoms indicative of problems with muscle metabolism, cognitive function and endocrine regulation (sleep rhythms, maintenance of body temperature, appetite regulation), and signs of immune activity (sore lymph glands, sore throats, ongoing low-grade fever is an immediately recognisable constellation of symptoms indicative of ME/CFS/SEID.

This multisystem disease is one in which, accoding to the IOM report, ‘Beyond Myalgic Encephalomyelis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Redefining an Illness’, exertion of any type, physical, cognitive or emotional, may adversely affect many organ systems.

This is a potentially severely disabling multisystem disorder in which is is essential that diagnosis is followed by a prescription of protracted rest.

A mistaken psychiatric diagnosis and prescription of CBT and Exercise can result in mild or moderate levels becoming severe, with patients bed-ridden, in extreme and intractable pain, completely incapacitated, and contining in this state indefinitely.

This is one disease where advice to exercise is dangerous. The Harvard Health bulletin, of all publications, should include these provisos in every article referring to fatigue, or recommending exercise.
The editor, Dr. Komaroff, is an expert in this condition, having studied it for many years. So I do not understand why this publication appears to ignore it.

April 26, 2017

Very well said. Why is it always overlooked? It is a disease with its primary symptom fatigue. There is also no mention of Lyme Disease, widespread and growing in Massachusetts. And no mention of a possible deficiency of B vitamins, particularly B12. The UK uses hydroxocobalamin, a more biologically available form of B12 that I believe helps CFS/ME patients and anyone with fatigue for that matter.

Sergio H. Ferretti
April 17, 2017

Gentlemen, I have been translating into Portuguese some of your articles for a friend of mine who faces multiple sclerosis.
Thank you for your nice articles.
Sergio H. Ferretti

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