Wellness > Fighting Fatigue
Many mesothelioma patients experience fatigue. This may be due to anxiety, stress, or changes in diet or sleeping patterns. It may also be a side effect of chemotherapy. This type of fatigue is far beyond the normal tiredness that most of us feel from time to time. This fatigue is exhaustion, and it prevents people from carrying out even the simplest daily tasks. It isn't relieved by rest, and may become a challenge to live with.
Because chemotherapy is not selective, it kills healthy red blood cells along with cancer cells. More than half of all chemotherapy patients develop anemia during treatment. The reason is simple. Red blood cells carry oxygen to your body, and without oxygen, you have no energy. Common signs of anemia include:
- Mild fatigue to extreme exhaustion
- Shortness of breath
- Inability to carry out normal activities
Only your doctor can determine whether you have anemia. A simple blood test which measures your hemoglobin is all that is necessary.
If you find yourself fatigued as a result of chemotherapy treatment, following are some hints to help you cope:
- Plan your day so that you have time to rest.
- Take short naps more often, rather than taking a long rest period.
- Save your energy for tasks you feel are the most important.
- Find new hobbies that are less physically demanding, such as reading or listening to music.
- Take short walks or do light exercise.
- Try meditation or yoga.
- Eat as balanced a diet as possible; drink plenty of liquids.
- Join a support group to learn how others deal with fatigue.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine.
- Allow others to help with errands or chores.
- Report any changes in your energy level to your doctor.
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