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Chronic fatigue or weight related fatigue?

By February 10, 2009 - 9:23pm
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I'm a lupus patient, but, fortunately, have been able to avoid taking prednisone for a few years, now. However, for the past few months, I can't tell if I'm just suffering chronic fatigue, or a lupus relapse, or another effect of losing the weight loss battle.

Sometimes, it's really hard to tell the difference. I usually can tell if I'm going through a lupus relapse because I get an onslaught of symptoms, including the butterfly rash across my forehead and cheeks, heaviness in my legs and ridiculous fatigue. Since the holidays, I've not been able to shed the 5 or 6 pounds I gained, and it has only worsened. This seems to contribute to my feeling of fatigue.

Lately, I can hardly stay awake, and I'm not getting recuperative sleep. My body is terribly bloated and I can't seem to resolve it. My doctor keeps telling me to eat more fruits and vegetables, but I already maintain a pretty healthy eating regimen.

Has anyone ever suffered uncontrollable, long-term fatigue?

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EmpowHER Guest

Hi Alison B-
Thank you for your comments and resources - I will look into them. Right now, my mother is the one who I am closest to - she manages by not talking about it. Right now, I'm finding my support to be my husband, nieces, in-laws and friends. The last 4 days have been an emotional roller coaster - I will beat this - I am committed to a lifestyle change - I will do what I can control - the rest is up to God!

June 28, 2009 - 12:41pm

Hi Julie,

Wow---that would be a shock to be diagnosed with Lupus, when you were getting a blood test for something unrelated. I am so sorry, but am glad you found EmpowHer!

I wanted to share a few resources with you, as this is a wonderful place to talk with other women online. If you are interested in meeting others who have been diagnosed with Lupus in your local community, there are support groups available.

The Lupus Foundation of American (LFA) has local chapters and support groups that you can search for here.

Many other women who have been diagnosed with Lupus have shared their stories on EmpowHer, and you can read their stories by clicking here.

You can also read some information about Lupus, specifically some Tips for New Patients.

Take care, and we look forward to talking with you again. I would also be interested in learning how your other relatives are managing their autoimmune disorders, both physically and emotionally.

June 28, 2009 - 7:18am

I was just recently diagnosed with Lupus on Wednesday. This came as a fluke out of a blood test from a place where I went to get help and support for weight loss! How unusual is that! I have been treated for Fibromyalgia for about 8 years - but had never had a positive ANA. I have a significant family hx. of autoimmune disorders - my mother has Sjogren's syndrome and so does a 2nd cousin, my aunt had Lupus (on my mom's side) and an aunt on my father's side died of Scleraderma.

I will be seeing a Rheumatologist on Monday. I was wondering if any of you have any advise on how to deal with this initial diagnosis. I am 36, married and have 2 kids (6 & 9). I have many emotions running through my head. I have so many questions that I feel like I don't have any questions!!!!!

It is clear to me that eating healthy and exercise is VERY important. Can you please share things that you have tried - things that have either worked or not and maybe why you felt they did or did not work????

Thank you for starting this blog - I will be anxious to get to know you all!

June 27, 2009 - 8:04pm

My mother has lupus. She had long-term fatigue and stiffness of the joints caused by taking alfalfa tablets she bought from a health food store. Once she stopped taking the tablets she began to feel better. When I read your post to her ,she asked if were taking anything that may contain ALFALFA which can cause long-term fatigue and other problems.

February 12, 2009 - 8:43pm

Alysia, I'm really sorry that you're dealing with this right now. You're such an active and health-conscious soul that I'm sure it's doubly frustrating to you.

I wouldn't think that 5 or even 10 extra pounds would lead to that much extra fatigue. Especially because you run, you do your Wii, and you eat well. It might be mentally draining -- I know my extra weight carries psychological weight as well -- but it wouldn't seem that it alone would be responsible for what you're feeling.

Have you ever had a similar episode of chronic fatigue in the past that wasn't related to a lupus relapse?

You mentioned prednisone in your first sentence; is that something that you have to take during a relapse?

I did find this article on lupus patients and fatigue. It seems to suggest that bouts of chronic fatigue are common to lupus patients without necessarily being a relapse:


I'm assuming there haven't been any changes in your daily life that would affect your sleep habits. Here's a page on lupus and insomnia, with a few tips that might help if you've forgotten about them over the years:


Alysia, I know we have both written about the Flat Belly Diet; have you tried their four-day anti-bloat jumpstart? It focuses on lean fish and poultry, small amounts of fat, vegetables and MUFAs, in addition to drinking water infused with lemon, cucumber, mint and ginger. (I leave the ginger out, but otherwise I love it). I'm in my third day and am starting to notice a bit of results -- just seeing 3 pounds' difference on the scale can be huge for me.

And have you had your hormones checked lately? Could changing hormonal levels be responsible for the insomnia?

February 11, 2009 - 10:53am
(reply to Diane Porter)

Hi, Diane:

I am going to wait until after this weekend's marathon to try the anti-bloat jump start, because I don't want to do anything new this close to the event. I do have a daily morning cup of hot lemon water, and used to make a daily iced ginger tea.

Come to think of it, I've fallen off some of my best healthy habits ever since I started my new contract and have had to commute to the client site. Hmmm...there must be some connection! I was teaching my DH about MUFAs just last night (he loves avocadoes and olives).

About hormonnes, I am post-menopausal. What hormones, LOL! But, you're right, I do need to have them checked. :))

February 11, 2009 - 6:02pm

Alysiak, have you incorporated into your dietary plan omega 3 oil supplements or added more salmon to your diet? I recently learned that data gathered during a study conducted with lupus patients showed that those taking fish oils reported feeling better than those given the placebo. This study was published by the Journal of Rheumatology and can be read full text here: http://www.jrheum.org/content/31/8

There are so many causes of fatigue, but long-term fatigue needs serious attention. Have you checked your minerals lately, including magnesium and iron? Are you experiencing stress? It sounds from your posting that you are not getting a good resting sleep. This may be the main cause of your fatigue! Stress also causes weight gain due to increase levels of cortisol. Rhodiola is a great herbal supplement to help with stress. Melatonin 5mg before bed time should help you with a restorative sleep.

I wish you well.

February 11, 2009 - 1:30am
(reply to Coach Virginia)

Hi, Virginia:

I do get Omega-3 fatty acids from salmon and other foods, and I'm trying to deal with a chronic iron deficiency that had plagued me since childhood (can't take iron supplements, so I have to get it from foods). My electrolyte intake is usually pretty good (I am a distance runner, lol!).

Stress? Not really, although I am a Type A+ personality. I did start taking a Melatonin supplement, recently. Have you ever heard of anyone complaining of a weird sensation similar to withdrawal from it, though? My legs feel very strange the following day. Have not heard of Rhodiola, so will check into that. Haven't seen my Naturopath in a few years, either, lol!

You had once suggested eliminating gluten from my regimen, and I'm going to try that. I think there may very well be a connection between that and some of the weight and overall health issues.

Thanks a bunch!

February 11, 2009 - 5:57pm
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