How often do people consider exposure to toxins as a part of their fatigue?
I had a patient come in once with his wife. He was probably 60, and after questioning him, I discovered that he worked in a high tech manufacturing plant. He painted tactical weapons (they were making high grade military throwing hatchets!!) but swore that he used all protective devices, and did all his painting under a vacuum hood.
His wife piped in. “You should tell the doctor about the headboard.“ This piqued my interest, and I followed up on her prompt.
An unanticipated toxin was coming home with my patient
It turned out that in spite of all the protective equipment used to lower his occupational exposures, the paint had eroded off of his side of their new headboard on his side of the bed. Her side was fine, pristine.
She showed me a photo of the headboard on her phone. His side had dissolved down to bare wood. It looked like it had been attacked by a raccoon.
He was bringing home enough toxic material in his hair, that it eroded paint off his headboard! I have no doubt that this toxic exposure was contributing to his fatigue.
Unfortunately, his circumstances did not allow him to leave this job, and in spite of working to fix all other aspects of his physiology, his low energy, low testosterone and high inflammation persisted. We tried all we could; he was unable to leave his exposure.
There are two morals from the fatigue story
The first is to consider ongoing environmental toxic exposures in your path to health. They could be found in paints or solvents, a hair dye, water from a well, a moldy bathroom, plastics, pesticides or common toxins like tobacco or alcohol… the list goes on and on.
Stop to take a moment to consider any avenue in which you could be accumulating toxins. Then make an effort to remove this exposure. We can test for many different environmental toxins. But sometimes we just need to take a focused survey and be honest with ourselves.
Second moral. Listen to your wife.
PS: Want to know what is in your skin and beauty products, and if they contain dangerous chemicals? Go to EWG.org and click on the tab “skin deep” which lists the chemicals in some 70,000 household and beauty products. Check it out! Educate yourself about your exposures! It is free and unbiased.