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Anergia Means Your Doctor Is EllaNot Always Right

Ella Traver

ElderThink | 11.4.10


If you feel tired all the time and you're over 60, it means you have "Anergia" which is a fancy name for the "old and tired" syndrome.


It could be that you are hiking six or seven miles every day or maybe you are training for a marathon. That would make you feel tired. But I'm talking about plain old lassitude. Just no get up and go.


You could have a hidden physical ailment that needs the attention of your doctor or maybe even a specialist. So you should be getting a thorough physical workup. Medical science is advancing faster than you can blink and there are new ways to make you feel better being invented every day.


You could be depressed too. There's a lot of loss involved with growing old. We lose our hair color, goodness me, we lose our hair! We don't have our job to go to any more, our friends move away, maybe someone we love dies. Lots of loss. Good reason to sit on the couch all day.


But I'm betting the problem really is that you have some bad habits. Maybe even your just plain lazy. You could be drinking more alcohol than you should, you probably aren't eating right. Vitamins? I bet not. How about exercise? I think I've put my finger right on it.


So try this test. Take that fancy little cushion from the couch and put it on the floor. Take off your shoes (if you even put them on today) and try standing on that little cushion. Try it with just one foot. Bet you can't. You need exercise. Get going, Buster!





Lack of Energy in Old Age Might Not Be Normal

Research from Columbia University

ElderThinker | ElderThink | 11.4.10


Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center call lack of energy in older folks "Anergia." We are used to the idea that feeling old and tired is a normal part of aging. This research group, led by Mathew Maurer, M.D. at Columbia, discovered

Anergia isn't normal and is most likely related to health problems, lifestyle choices, or both.

that 1 out of 5 seniors have so little energy they spend most of the day on the couch (or in a recliner.)


Anergia isn't normal and is most likely related to health problems, lifestyle choices, or both. When elderly patients complain they’re tired, many doctors tell them that feeling listless is an expected part of aging. Of course, that's what the doctors themselves have been taught.


Dr. Maurer's group has been conducting research into Anergia for several years. The most recent study was a nine-month program. Participants wore an "actigraph," a device worn on the wrist like a watch that was used to assess physical activity, energy expenditures, and sleep. There was a physical exam at the beginning and then three more exams during the nine-month study.


couch potatoThe conclusions? Being tired can mean serious hidden health problems. These include heart and kidney disfunctions, (the heart can stop and start again while we are asleep, for example), lung disease, anemia and depression.


Seniors sometimes have trouble communicating with their physicians when things don't seem right. They may say, "I just don't feel well," or "I'm so tired." This is not a symptom of ageing. It is most likely a symptom of something else.


Dr. Maurer and his team are from the Stroud Center for the Studies of Quality of Life at Columbia University Medical Center.