Feeling Tired? Exhaustion May Be Symptom of Undiagnosed Medical Condition

Dr. Mehmet Oz says exhaustion could be a symptom of a medical condition.

Aug. 2, 2010 — -- People lead hectic lives, and many of us get tired from time to time.

Trying to balance work, raise kids, care for loved ones and stay afloat financially can drain the best of us. But did you know that exhaustion could be due to an undiagnosed medical condition?

In the past, people were expected to simply deal with being tired, but exhaustion has been upgraded to a syndrome that's growing at an alarming rate.

Click HERE to learn about Dr. Oz's new iPhone pregnancy app.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, author, television host and heart surgeon, visited "Good Morning America" today to talk about four medical conditions that could cause exhaustion.

He also discussed available treatments.


Anemia is a low concentration of red blood cells. Having fewer blood cells means the body is receiving less oxygen than it normally would.

In order to feel energized, people's bodies need to have a high level of oxygen, Oz said.

Symptoms of anemia include dizziness, especially when you stand up. Sensitivity to cold -- you may often be the only one in your office who's freezing -- and pale coloring under the tongue or on the inside of your lower eyelid are also symptoms, Oz said.

Any one of the symptoms on its own could indicate something is wrong, but taken all together, they may indicate anemia.

Women tend to get anemia more often than men do, he added.

Anemia can be confirmed with a simple blood test, and it can primarily be treated through diet and over-the-counter medications.

Anemics can add iron-rich foods – such as broccoli and red meat-- or you can cook in an iron skillet, which allows iron to leach into the food. You can also add iron supplements, vitamin B12 and folate.

Magnesium Deficiency

The body needs magnesium to help convert food into energy. Research shows that women who are deficient in magnesium use more oxygen than those who had adequate levels, Oz said.

The recommended daily dose of magnesium is 320 milligrams, but an estimated 65 percent of women don't get that much, he noted.

He recommended that you add pumpkin seeds and spinach to your diet.

Thyroid Disorder

According to the American Thyroid Foundation, 17 percent of all women will have a thyroid disorder and most of them don't know it.

If your exhaustion is coupled with weight changes, hair and skin changes or neck enlargement, you should have your doctor check your thyroid, Oz said.

Thyroid disorders are treated with prescription medications such as Synthroid or Armour Thyroid.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Fewer than 20 percent of people who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – or CFS – have been properly diagnosed, Oz said.

People with CFS may also have anemia, hypothyroidism or problems with their diet.

Oz said there are two simple ways to handle the problem: add cordyceps pills (available in health food stores) to your daily routine. They make cells more efficient at using cortisol so adrenal glands don't have to work so hard to produce it.

They are also antioxidants, which increase the lifespan of a cell, strengthen the immune system and increase energy.

Cordyceps is a mushroom that supports the adrenal gland, and the treatment has been used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Taking D-Ribose may be another way to significantly increase your energy, Oz said.

D-Ribose is a form of sugar that's an essential energy source for cells. It's also available at health food stores, and may be used as a sweetener in green tea.

Web Extra Information

Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen are the authors of "YOU: Having a Baby: The Owner's Manual to a Happy and Healthy Pregnancy."

Last week, they launched their YOU: Having a Baby! iPhone app, which provides mothers-to-be with advice and information about their pregnancy.

Click HERE to learn more about the app.

Click HERE to read the book excerpt.

Click here to return to the "Good Morning America" website.