Many conditions, disorders, medications and lifestyle factors can cause fatigue. Fatigue can be temporary, or it can be a chronic condition (lasting six months or more). You may be able to relieve your symptoms by changing your diet, medications, exercise or sleep habits. If an underlying medical condition causes fatigue, doctors can usually treat the condition or help you manage it.
To find out what is causing your fatigue, your healthcare provider will ask questions about your lifestyle and medications and will conduct a physical examination. They might order some lab tests to test blood and urine. If you are a woman of child-bearing age, your provider will probably order a pregnancy test.
Do you feel like you're always tired? Are you having trouble staying awake during prime-time sitcoms? Most of us know what it's like to be tired, especially when we have a cold, the flu, or some other viral infection. But when you have a constant lack of energy and ongoing fatigue, it may be time to check with your doctor.
Fatigue is a lingering tiredness that is constant and limiting. With fatigue, you have unexplained, persistent, and relapsing exhaustion. It's similar to how you feel when you have the flu or have missed a lot of sleep. If you have chronic fatigue, or systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID), you may wake in the morning feeling as though you've not slept. Or you may be unable to function at work or be productive at home. You may be too exhausted even to manage your daily affairs.
In most cases, there's a reason for the fatigue. It might be allergic rhinitis, anemia, depression, fibromyalgia, chronic kidney disease, liver disease, lung disease (COPD), a bacterial or viral infection, or some other health condition. If that's the case, then the long-term outlook is good. Here are some common causes of fatigue and how they are resolved.
Allergic rhinitis is a common cause of chronic fatigue. But allergic rhinitis often can be easily treated and self-managed. To make a diagnosis, your doctor will assess your symptoms. The doctor will also find out, through a detailed history or testing, whether your allergies are triggered by pollens, insects (dust mites or cockroaches), animal dander, molds and mildew, weather changes, or something else.
One way to reduce symptoms of allergic rhinitis -- including fatigue -- is to take steps to avoid the offending allergen. In addition, proper medication can help with symptoms. Drugs that might help include:
Anemia is the most common blood condition in the U.S. It affects more than 5.6% of Americans. For women in their childbearing years, anemia is a common cause of fatigue. This is especially true for women who have heavy menstrual cycles, uterine fibroid tumors, or uterine polyps.
To confirm a diagnosis of anemia, your doctor will give you a blood test. If iron deficiency is the cause of your fatigue, treatment may include iron supplements. You can also add iron-rich foods such as spinach, broccoli, and red meat to your diet to help relieve symptoms. Vitamin C with meals or with iron supplements can help the iron to be better absorbed and improve your symptoms.
Postpartum depression can happen after the birth of a baby. Some people get seasonal affective disorder in the winter, with feelings of fatigue and sadness. Major depression is also one part of bipolar disorder.
With depression, you might be in a depressed mood most of the day. You may have little interest in normal activities. Along with feelings of fatigue, you may eat too much or too little, over- or under-sleep, feel hopeless and worthless, and have other serious symptoms.
Fibromyalgia is one of the more common causes of chronic fatigue and musculoskeletal pain, especially in women. Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are considered separate but related disorders. They share a common symptom: severe fatigue that greatly interferes with people's lives.
Constant daytime fatigue with fibromyalgia often results in people not getting enough exercise. That causes a decline in physical fitness. It can also lead to mood-related problems. The best way to offset these effects is to try to exercise more. Exercise has tremendous benefits for sleep, mood, and fatigue.
If you do try swimming (or any moderate exercise) to ease fatigue, start slowly. As you become accustomed to the added physical activity, you can increase your time in the pool or gym. Set up a regular time for exercise. Avoid overdoing it, which could add to your fatigue.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a type of inflammatory arthritis, is another cause of excessive fatigue. Because joint damage can result in disability, early and aggressive treatment is the best approach for rheumatoid arthritis.
Obstructive sleep apnea causes low blood oxygen levels. That's because blockages prevent air from getting to the lungs. The low oxygen levels also affect how well your heart and brain work. Sometimes, the only clue that you might have sleep apnea is chronic fatigue.
Many physical and mental illnesses, as well as lifestyle factors, can cause your fatigue, and that can make it hard to diagnose. In some cases, it might be something simple and easy to fix, like having caffeine at bedtime. But other causes, like heart disease or COPD, are serious, and you may need to start long-term treatment right away.
Everyone feels tired now and then. Sometimes you may just want to stay in bed. But, after a good night's sleep, most people feel refreshed and ready to face a new day. If you continue to feel tired for weeks, it's time to see your doctor. He or she may be able to help you find out what's causing your fatigue and recommend ways to relieve it.
One disorder that causes extreme fatigue is chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). This fatigue is not the kind of tired feeling that goes away after you rest. Instead, it lasts a long time and limits your ability to do ordinary daily activities.
Fatigue is different from drowsiness. Drowsiness is feeling the need to sleep. Fatigue is a lack of energy and motivation. Drowsiness and apathy (a feeling of not caring about what happens) can be symptoms that go along with fatigue.
Fatigue can be a normal and important response to physical activity, emotional stress, boredom, or lack of sleep. Fatigue is a common symptom, and it is usually not due to a serious disease. But it can be a sign of a more serious mental or physical condition. When fatigue is not relieved by enough sleep, good nutrition, or a low-stress environment, it should be evaluated by your health care provider.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a condition in which symptoms of fatigue persist for at least 6 months and do not resolve with rest. The fatigue may be worsened with physical activity or mental stress. It is diagnosed based on the presence of a specific group of symptoms and after all other possible causes of fatigue are ruled out.
If you have long-term (chronic) pain or depression, treating it often helps the fatigue. Be aware that some antidepressant drugs may cause or worsen fatigue. If your drug is one of these, your provider may have to adjust the dosage or switch you to another drug. DO NOT stop or change any medicines without first talking to your provider.
Your provider will perform a complete physical examination, paying special attention to your heart, lymph nodes, thyroid, abdomen, and nervous system. You will be asked about your medical history, fatigue symptoms, and your lifestyle, habits, and feelings.
Everyone feels tired now and then. But, after a good night's sleep, most people feel refreshed and ready to face a new day. If, like Liang, you continue to feel tired for weeks, it's time to see your doctor. He or she may be able to help you find out what's causing your fatigue. In fact, your doctor may even suggest you become more active, as exercise may reduce fatigue and improve quality of life.
Sometimes, fatigue can be the first sign that something is wrong in your body. For example, people with rheumatoid arthritis, a painful condition that affects the joints, often complain of fatigue. People with cancer may feel fatigued from the disease, treatments, or both.
Not getting enough sleep can also contribute to fatigue. Regular physical activity can improve your sleep. It may also help reduce feelings of depression and stress while improving your mood and overall well-being. Yoga, meditation, or cognitive behavioral therapy could also help you get more rest. Talk with your doctor if your mental well-being is affecting your sleep or making you tired.
Fatigue (extreme weakness) is a very common and distressing effect of cancer and its treatment. It's important to know that many factors play a role in causing fatigue. Learn about how fatigue is different from feeling tired and how it can be managed.
Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a serious, long-term illness that affects many body systems. People with ME/CFS are often not able to do their usual activities. At times, ME/CFS may confine them to bed. People with ME/CFS have severe fatigue and sleep problems. ME/CFS may get worse after people with the illness try to do as much as they want or need to do. This symptom is called post-exertional malaise (PEM). Other symptoms can include problems with thinking and concentrating, pain, and dizziness.
Cancer and cancer treatment may cause fatigue. The medical term for this is "cancer-related fatigue." It is a feeling of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion even though you are getting enough rest and sleep.
Talk with your health care team if you are experiencing fatigue. Share any new or changing symptoms or side effects on a regular basis. Managing symptoms, including fatigue, is an important part of your overall cancer care and treatment. This is called palliative care or supportive care.
ASCO advises doctors to screen for and treat fatigue when they first diagnose cancer. It is an important part of cancer care. In addition, your doctor should ask about your level of fatigue throughout treatment and recovery. 041b061a72