Fighting Cancer Fatigue

August 25, 2017 in Our News & Bulletins by Brio Home Health and Hospice

One symptom that many cancer patients know is fatigue. Whether caused by the cancer itself, or a byproduct of treatment, fatigue is a burden on the lives of cancer patients. Fatigue is draining and prevents people from living out their lives. Other factors linked with fatigue are pain, anxiety, sleep problems, and depression. It’s important to know how to combat fatigue so that people can enjoy life as much as possible while battling cancer.

Exercise can improve fatigue. Make sure to get your doctor’s permission first, though, before trying to exercise. It might take much effort at first, but eventually exercise will build up strength and endurance. Studies show that patients who exercised felt less tired and depressed. When beginning to exercise it’s best to go slow at first. Once your body has gotten used to exercise, build up to more vigorous activity.

Planning your day around your fatigue can also help. Keep track of what times of the day you feel like you have the most and the least amount of energy. Try to plan tasks and activities during the better times of the day. Also, go easy when you do make these plans. Scheduling too many tasks at once can lead to worsening fatigue and getting discouraged if you cannot complete them. Tackle what is the most important first and put off other activities until the priority work is out of the way.

Diet and nutrition can also play a role in fatigue. Speaking with your doctor about what foods and nutrients you need the most during your treatment is best. There are some basic food guidelines to follow though, such as eating iron-rich foods, drinking plenty of water, and skipping out on sugar.

Talking with friends and family about what you are going through can also help fatigue. Sometimes fatigue is a sign of mental stress and venting helps alleviate it. Distractions such as books, movies, and music might also bring some temporary relief.

If you are experiencing fatigue don’t be afraid to speak with your doctor about it. Many don’t speak out because they believe that there is nothing they can do about it, but there are ways to fight it. If fatigue or weakness reach a point where patients need the hands on assistance of a family caregiver, remember that you can request a home health episode. It’s important for family caregivers to get training in helping a person walk, helping a person in and out of the tub, etc. Our home health nurses can also help with nutrition strategies, pain management, and more. Medicare pays 100% for this.

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