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What causes fatigue, exhaustion, pain in chest, ribs and upper back?

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Posted on Fri, 20 May 2016
Question: I have often struggled with fatigue in my life. I was an excellent athlete in my youth never wanting to slow down but once I stopped, I felt the exhaustion. Now as a 55 year old teacher I don't exercise regularly and more and more I feel that it would be impossible to do so. I am literally so exhausted that I feel hung-over all the time. I wake up and feel this way upon waking. I ache in my chest and ribs, in my upper back and to a lesser degree everywhere as though I have a chronic flew. I am weak but can force myself to to house cleaning and school work as long as I can rest after. The rest seems to do little good. My throat feels slightly sore all the time and from time to time I have a coughing spell that goes away and stays away for about a week. My sinuses have always been a problem making a relaxing massage not relaxing at all because my face becomes filled with pain. My chest feels heavy most often and I find myself struggling for breath when the stress load of teaching gets to be a bit much. Each night I hope that I won't wake up the next morning feeling like I'd tied-one-on the night before but the feeling seems to be intensifying and by lunch time I feel done-in. Coffee seems to be my only option but it has consequences that cause even more fatigue and weakness such as UTI infections and quick onsets of hypoglycaemia. I'm fighting off a UTI infection without an antibiotic because they cause me to have yeast infections. I'm taking probiotics because last year may my stomach flared up with such pain that I was immobilized by it. The doctors did massive blood tests and found no abnormalities. The drugs they prescribed did nothing for the intense pain that would suddenly overcome me. I looked elsewhere and found that probiotics and digestive enzymes with my food were the remedy. My stomach is very sensitive though especially to antibiotics and pain killers. I've tried to give you as much info as I can think of. Do you know why I'm feeling flue-ish and exhausted?
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Answered by Dr. Shehzad Topiwala (11 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Hormone tests

Detailed Answer:
Sorry to learn about your bothersome symptoms.
I can easily see they are most frustrating to you.

Here are my suggestions:

1 Purchase a glucose monitor. Next time you suspect you may be having a low sugar reaction, see if you can manage to check your blood glucose level using the glucometer.
If you are too unsteady to do so at that time, see if you can have someone around you do it.
If you live alone, I understand this can be be a challenge.
A true low glucose level is one below 60

2 When I see someone like you in my practice, I typically order the following blood tests in addition to a detailed physical examination:

CBC (Complete Blood Count, also known as Hemogram; includes Hemoglobin, WBC and Platelet counts)
Electrolytes (Sodium and Potassium in particular)
HbA1c (Glycosylated Hemoglobin = your 3 month glucose average)
Liver function tests (SGOT , SGPT, Albumin, Bilirubin, Alkaline Phosphatase)
Kidney function tests (BUN, Creatinine)
TSH
Free T4
Prolactin
25 hydroxy Vitamin D
Serum Cortisol at 8 am
None of these tests require any fasting and can be done at any time of the day
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Shehzad Topiwala

Endocrinologist

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 1663 Questions

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What causes fatigue, exhaustion, pain in chest, ribs and upper back?

Brief Answer: Hormone tests Detailed Answer: Sorry to learn about your bothersome symptoms. I can easily see they are most frustrating to you. Here are my suggestions: 1 Purchase a glucose monitor. Next time you suspect you may be having a low sugar reaction, see if you can manage to check your blood glucose level using the glucometer. If you are too unsteady to do so at that time, see if you can have someone around you do it. If you live alone, I understand this can be be a challenge. A true low glucose level is one below 60 2 When I see someone like you in my practice, I typically order the following blood tests in addition to a detailed physical examination: CBC (Complete Blood Count, also known as Hemogram; includes Hemoglobin, WBC and Platelet counts) Electrolytes (Sodium and Potassium in particular) HbA1c (Glycosylated Hemoglobin = your 3 month glucose average) Liver function tests (SGOT , SGPT, Albumin, Bilirubin, Alkaline Phosphatase) Kidney function tests (BUN, Creatinine) TSH Free T4 Prolactin 25 hydroxy Vitamin D Serum Cortisol at 8 am None of these tests require any fasting and can be done at any time of the day