Diabetes Fatigue: Know About Causes And Effective Ways To Manage
Many people with diabetes complain about feeling tired, lethargic, or fatigued most of the time. Well, diabetes and fatigue are commonly associated together. In fact, people with diabetes are more likely to experience fatigue at some point in time. Diabetes affects the blood glucose uptake and the production of insulin by the pancreas and has high levels of inflammatory markers. Extensive research has looked at the possible correlations between diabetes and fatigue. The symptoms of both hypoglycaemia and hyperglycaemia are tiredness and fatigue. Thus, in the long run, uncontrolled diabetes can lead to unexplained tiredness, fatigue, and exhaustion.
Read this article to understand the cause of diabetes and fatigue and simple ways to handle it.
How Do I Treat Diabetes
Improve your lifestyle: Making changes in your day to day life can help reduce fatigue. Here are some lifestyle changes to consider:
- Lose some weight or maintain a healthy weight
- Engage in moderate to vigorous exercise multiple times a week
- Make healthy food choices
- Limit stress as much as possible and find ways to unwind
- Develop good sleep habits, such as regular bedtimes and no screen time at night
Manage your blood sugar levels: Monitoring your blood sugar levels regularly will ensure youre not experiencing the highs and lows that will negatively impact your sleep.
Seek professional advice: Be sure to check in with your diabetes healthcare provider to help you monitor your diabetes and determine if there are underlying conditions that could be contributing to fatigue.
Remember that feeling fatigue on occasions is normal when you have diabetes, but feeling exhausted all the time is not. Getting to the bottom of the issues contributing to your fatigue will mean you can get on top of staying healthy.
Can Diabetes Cause Fatigue Body Ache
Asked by Mike, Tennessee
Can diabetes be a cause of fatigue, leg and lower back aches? I have had bursts of energy for 10 to 15 minutes, but then need to sit for about 10 minutes, and I’m ready to go full steam again. PLEASE, Thank You, Mike
Conditions ExpertDr. Otis BrawleyChief Medical Officer,American Cancer Society
Recommended Reading: Can I Get Disability For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Why Does Having Diabetes Cause Fatigue
Having diabetes changes your blood. Imagine someone without diabetes having blood that flows like water. Now imagine someone with diabetes having blood that flows like maple syrup. When the blood flows much thicker and slower, like syrup, it is harder for cells to flow through the bloodstream to provide energy and oxygen to parts of the body, including the brain.
Diabetes also causes inflammation, which sends messages to the brain that the body needs to take a rest in order to heal. When this happens, fatigue is going to be a problem.
One of the biggest reasons that diabetes causes fatigue is because of its complications. Organs such as the kidneys, eyes, heart, and the nerves can all be damaged because of diabetes. End stage renal disease, which is when the kidneys fail, can lead to low red blood cells. Low red blood cells, which is also known as anemia, can lead to fatigue. Studies have shown that people with diabetic complications such as nerve damage, heart disease, and kidney problems have increased levels of fatigue. The next section of this article discussed more things that can cause fatigue.
Adverse Effects Of Diabetes Medication
Certain medications that a person might use to treat the complications of diabetes and other health problems may also cause adverse effects that contribute to fatigue.
Medications that can lead to fatigue include the following :
Corticosteroids: A person with diabetes might need to take corticosteroids, such as prednisone, to treat the inflammation, pain, and discomfort that develop due to other conditions and diseases.
- Statins: A doctor might prescribe statins to reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein , or bad cholesterol, in the blood.
- Diuretics: People mainly use diuretics to treat high blood pressure. These lead people to pass more urine than they normally would.
- Diabetes sometimes increases urinary frequency, so this side effect can be particularly potent for people who have the condition.
- Beta blockers: Doctors recommend beta blockers for people who have high blood pressure and anxiety. However, their slowing effect on a persons heart rate might lead to chronic fatigue as an adverse effect.
Alongside the diabetes symptoms that contribute to fatigue, beta blockers can have particularly potent side effects in people who have diabetes.
Living with diabetes can often impact a persons mental and emotional health.
According to a 2016 study of 90,686 participants, people with diabetes may be around two to three times more likely to experience depression than people who do not have the condition.
- changes in sleeping patterns
Recommended Reading: How To Treat Adrenal Fatigue At Home
High Blood Sugar Causes Fatigue
Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of high blood sugar. In people with diabetes, it is referred to as diabetes fatigue. Many people with the condition feel tired all the time regardless of how well they sleep, how healthily they eat, or how much they exercise on a regular basis. Research has shown that up to 61% of people who are recently diagnosed with the condition experience fatigue. However, fatigue doesnt just occur in those with diabetes. It can also happen in people with normal or prediabetic blood sugar levels if they experience a sudden spike in their blood sugar.
When the body experiences a spike in blood sugar levels, it goes into overdrive trying to create enough insulin to balance it out. If there isnt enough insulin or the body isnt responding to the insulin as it should, your body will start to pull from fat to create the energy it needs. When this happens, energy is used from the splitting of a molecule known as adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. When ATP expels one of its three phosphates for energy, it turns into another molecule known as adenosine diphosphate, or ADP. If there are no energy sources to pull from, the ATP cannot regain the phosphate it gave away, leading to fatigue.
When To Speak To Your Healthcare Team About Fatigue
If you are experiencing regular fatigue you should speak to your healthcare team. They may want to look at your medications and they will usually have some tips on how to cope.
The team will also be able to offer medical advice on whether the extreme tiredness is a sign of something more serious, such as diabetes complications.
Also Check: Does Skin Cancer Cause Fatigue
When To See A Doctor
A person with diabetes should see their doctor regularly to monitor and manage their diabetes.
They may also wish to consult a doctor who specializes in treating new or worsening fatigue that interferes with daily life.
People should seek medical attention for fatigue that occurs alongside other symptoms, such as fever, chills, or malaise, as these could indicate an infection.
Why Does Type 2 Diabetes Cause Fatigue
Fatigue is very common in Type 2 diabetes. A study published by the American Diabetes Association found that it affected 61 per cent of newly diagnosed people.
There are lots of different reasons for this:
When we eat carbohydrates, the digestive system breaks them down into sugar. Experts call this sugar glucose, and it is the bodys main source of energy. It travels to every part of the body in the blood.
Insulin is a hormone. It makes sure there is never too much, or too little glucose in the blood, so that the body has the energy it needs. But when people develop Type 2 diabetes, they stop making insulin properly and the regulation system breaks down.
Hypoglycaemia means that there is not enough sugar in the blood. Sometimes, people call this having a hypo. Fatigue is a common symptom of low blood sugar.
It is different for everyone, but other symptoms might include:
- feeling shaky
- blurry vision
- tingly lips
If you think you might be having a hypo, you should treat it right away. Low blood sugar levels can be very dangerous.
Lots of the common symptoms of Type 2 diabetes can contribute to feelings of tiredness and fatigue.
Things like needing to urinate a lot, feeling really thirsty, and feeling really hungry can all make you feel tired.
Poor mental health and wellbeing can also add to fatigue. It can impact on how well someone is able to manage their blood sugar levels. It can also change sleep patterns and leave people feeling low.
You May Like: Oversized Anti Fatigue Kitchen Mats
What Is Diabetes Fatigue
As it was mentioned above, diabetes fatigue is an extreme tiredness that individuals with diabetes can experience. It is a tiredness that disrupts a persons life and makes it difficult to function. It is very common, and studies have shown that 85% of those with diabetes experience fatigue.
Some signs of fatigue include:
Reactive hypoglycemia, a term used to define the crash that a person gets after eating a lot of sugar and carbs, can be an early sign of diabetes. In order for the body to use the sugars and carbs that are consumed for fuel, each molecule must be paired with insulin to get into the cell. If there isnt enough insulin available, then the sugar molecules stay in the bloodstream and cause high blood sugar.
What happens is that over time, eating a lot of sugar and carbs causes your body to have to produce a lot of insulin. Eventually, you develop insulin resistance and the insulin stops working as well which causes your body to make even more to keep the blood sugar under control. So after eating a large meal of sugar and carbs, the body starts producing a lot of insulin to try to use the food for energy. The problem is that after the food is digested, there is still insulin floating around and it causes the sugar to drop.
Signs of reactive hypoglycemia are:
- Difficulty concentration
The Effects Of Fatigue In People With Diabetes
Fatigue was among the top four symptoms found to interfere with self-reported quality of life in women with type 2 diabetes who rated their health poorer than women without symptoms . In children with type 1 diabetes, self-reported fatigue was comparable to fatigue in children with cancer and significantly higher than in healthy, age-matched controls .
Such findings suggest that fatigue has far-reaching and serious consequences for patients with diabetes because it is largely a self-managed disease, requiring both physical and mental energy to accomplish the daily self-management tasks necessary for maintaining optimal health.
Recommended Reading: Does Eosinophilic Esophagitis Cause Fatigue
How To Identify Blood Sugar Spikes
Fatigue is associated with a myriad of other conditions, as well as just day-to-day life and other stressors, so it alone cannot tell you whether you are experiencing a blood sugar spike. People with diabetes are encouraged to keep tabs on their blood sugar levels to detect any sudden changes. This is one of the ways they can identify when blood sugar spikes happen.
The most common cause of high blood sugar is improper insulin production. Insulin is the hormone that is tasked with regulating blood sugar levels, and if it is not being produced at high enough levels or at all, it can lead to high blood sugar levels.
There are few reasons why insulin levels in the body are inadequate, including:
- Eating too much
- Not receiving enough insulin from treatment
- Having a malfunctioning diabetes pump
- Having insulin that is ineffective at managing blood sugar levels
Other risk factors that should be taken into consideration include weight, age, history of smoking, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure levels. These can all contribute to diabetes.
For a person without diabetes, insulin levels are unlikely to be considered at all. This is why it can be helpful to keep a food log and note levels of fatigue or other symptoms following every meal. If fatigue generally sets in after eating, it could be a sign that its attributed to blood sugar levels. If this does happen, it may indicate that a person should follow up with their healthcare provider and have their blood sugar levels checked.
Psychological Factors Associated With Fatigue In Diabetes
The proposed fatigue research framework suggests that there are two key psychological variables that are most likely associated with diabetes-related fatigue: diabetes emotional distress and depressive symptoms.
Diabetes emotional distress
Mental fatigue associated with managing diabetes’s chronic and complicated medical regimen has been termed âDiabetes Overwhelmusâ in the lay press . A new term has evolved called âdiabetes emotional distressâ which represents a sub-clinical field of psychological disturbances , . This term is related to the work of managing and living with diabetes. Diabetes emotional distress, frequently called âdiabetes burnout,â has been eloquently described:
Burnout is what happens when you feel overwhelmed by diabetes and by the frustrating burden of diabetes self-care. People who have burned out realize that good diabetes care is important for their health, but they just don’t have the motivation to do it. At a fundamental level, they are at war with their diabetes–and they are losing .
You May Like: What Causes Lower Back Pain And Fatigue
Can Having Gestational Diabetes Make You Tired
Gestational diabetes is a condition that approximately 4% of women experience during pregnancy. Due to the hormones, insulin resistance occurs, and causes higher blood sugar levels. This can be a problem because it causes babies to be born larger and have difficult births. It can also cause birth defects and it makes the first few days difficult for the newborn to maintain their blood sugar. It usually can be controlled with a change in diet, but sometimes insulin may be required.
Some women show no signs of gestational diabetes, while other have extreme fatigue, elevated thirst, and an increase in urinating. The problem is that most pregnant women experience all of these symptoms anyway. For this reason, all women are tested for gestational around 24 weeks of pregnancy. Women at a higher risk may be tested earlier.
If fatigue does become worse during pregnancy, the expectant mother should seek help from their physician to rule out gestational diabetes or other complications such as low blood pressure or anemia .
How To Deal With Diabetes Fatigue
Its no secret that regular exercise is key in managing and preventing several health-related conditions including type 2 diabetes. In fact, the American Diabetes Association recommends physical activity to all people living with diabetes to manage glycemic control and overall health.
In particular, the ADA urges people living with diabetes to interrupt long periods of sitting with light activity by doing 3 minutes of light exercise every 30 minutes.
While this recommendation tops the list of ways to manage and treat diabetes, exercising when youre experiencing diabetes fatigue is often easier said than done.
Fatigue is common among people with diabetes, which can make it difficult to work up the motivation and energy to stay physically active, explains Dr. Emily Schroeder, an endocrinologist with Kaiser Permanente in Denver.
However, exercise is a crucial part of diabetes management. Schroeder says its vital that patients come up with ways to integrate exercise into their daily routines.
Once you establish a routine, you can gradually increase that activity up to 30 minutes a day or more as your body becomes accustomed to it.
Also Check: Ways To Help Adrenal Fatigue
What Are The Causes Of Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by increased blood sugar level. Diabetes is caused by either insufficient insulin secretion or resistance to that hormones action.
Insulin is produced by the pancreas and helps process the glucose in the blood. Thus, with inadequate insulin, the bodies cant burn all the blood sugar for energy in an efficient way. This means the glucose level in the blood rises, causing a variety of symptoms and when severe may even lead to death.
An estimated 9.4% of the population in the United States were affected by diabetes in 2017, according to the report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Factors that influence the development of type 2 diabetes include:
- Genetic factors
Most frequently, however, type 2 diabetes does not cause any symptoms for several years and may go unnoticed.
High Prevalence Of Post
Post-Covid syndrome or Long Covid has emerged as a major roadblock in the recovery of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2, a new study showed.
Fatigue is most prevalent and makes a coronavirus disease patient severely debilitated, among other symptoms such as myalgia , headache, cough and breathlessness.
A recent study conceived by Dr Anoop Misra, executive chairman and director at the department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Fortis C-DOC and conducted jointly by Fortis C-DOC, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, C-NET, N-DOC reveals that Type 2 diabetes patients who had Covid-19 showed significantly more fatigue when compared with patients who did not have the infection.
The results show that diabetes complicates course of Covid-19 and results in excess morbidity and mortality presence of diabetes also influences post-Covid syndrome via various pathophysiological mechanisms. Further, diabetes poses challenges in the recovery of patients. This is a first of its kind study globally.
The study assessed the prevalence of fatigue using the CFQ-11 and handgrip strength in patients with Type 2 diabetes after Covid-19 infection, and to compare them against patients with diabetes without a history of Covid-19. The sample size assessed was 108 type 2 diabetes patients.
Rehabilitation of those with fatigue score above 4 after acute infection would require careful attention to nutrition, glycemic control and graduated physical activity protocol
Recommended Reading: What Would Cause Extreme Fatigue