Pots: A Little Known Cause Of Extreme Fatigue
Everyone knows what being tired feels like at the end of a long day. But some people experience fatigue so severe and so seemingly random that its hard to describe. If that sounds familiar, there could be more going on than daily stress.
While there are many causes of fatigue, one of them is frequently missed and misdiagnosed: postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome . Physical medicine and neuromuscular specialist Tae Chung, M.D., answers questions about POTS and extreme fatigue as one of its symptoms.
When Is Fatigue Considered Extreme
There is no good criteria for assessing the level of fatigue it depends on the person. However, most people know when their tiredness is more than a lack of sleep. Some of my patients remember the exact day they got hit with fatigue so overwhelming that they knew something was wrong.
Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome
POTS is a common condition affecting an estimated one to three million Americans. Researchers dont fully understand the causes of POTS, but it is more common in women than men and is more likely to develop in adolescents and young adults.
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Too Much Or Too Little Activity
A person with fatigue may not feel able to exercise, and a lack of exercise can cause further fatigue. A lack of exercise may eventually cause deconditioning, making it harder and more tiring to perform a physical task.
Fatigue can also affect healthy individuals after prolonged, intense mental or physical activity.
When Should I Call My Doctor About Fatigue
Itâs normal to feel tired now and then. Everyone experiences occasional, brief fatigue due to illness, sleep disturbances, travel or changes in diet or medication. But you should talk to your healthcare provider if youâre tired all the time. Call your provider if:
- Your fatigue lasts longer than a few days
- Youâre having a hard time going to work or performing daily activities.
- There isnât a clear reason for your fatigue.
- It comes on suddenly.
- Youâre older .
- Youâve also been losing weight.
Fatigue can be a sign of a serious health condition. You should seek immediate medical attention if you have fatigue along with other symptoms, such as:
- Shortness of breath or pain in your chest, arm or upper back.
- Fast, pounding, fluttering or irregular heartbeat.
- Headache or vision problems .
- Nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain.
- Muscle weakness.
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Common Causes Of Fatigue
If you are feeling constantly tired, the first thing you should do is see your personal physician for a checkup. Your doctor can take a careful history, perform a physical exam, and do any needed testing to determine the cause of your fatigue.
A few of the possible causes of fatigue include the following:
Fatigue Is Always A Sign Of A Serious Medical Condition
At some point, nearly everyone suffers from fatigue. In most cases, it’s acute fatigue — fatigue that occurs suddenly but lasts less than three months and is usually caused by lifestyle or environmental factors such as physical exertion, stress, lack of sleep, dehydration, or inadequate diet. In most cases, it’s easily treated by addressing the cause: by reducing stress getting more rest, sleep, or better nutrition or hydrating properly.
Chronic fatigue lasts longer — for more than a few months — and it’s more likely to be associated with an underlying medical condition.
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Fatigue And Insufficient Exercise
Being a couch potato can actually be the root cause of your tiredness and low energy. Sitting down for long periods of time can sap your energy, even if youre watching TV, or on your computer.
Medical research has shown that exercising gives you more energy and reduces fatigue. It helps to start off gradually, so that youre more likely to stick to an exercise routine. In fact, studies have shown that even minimal increases in physical activity, particularly for someone who has been mostly sedentary, can significantly reduce your fatigue.
When Should I Talk To My Healthcare Professional
- If your symptoms of fatigue and exhaustion are getting worse rather than better, talk to your healthcare professional so they can rule out any other condition that could be causing your problems.
- If your fatigue has become so severe that you are often spending all day in bed, ask your healthcare professional for specialist support.
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Does Inflammation Cause Fatigue
So how can inflammation make you tired? Medical researchers have known for some time now that low-level inflammation over time is deleterious and is connected to diabetes, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and other chronic illnesses. Newer evidence also links chronic inflammation to chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, and general fatigue. In fact, there has been an explosion in recent knowledge of the pathways and mechanisms by which inflammation levels can influence your body, brain, and even your behavior, leading to fatigue.
Numerous studies show that chronically fatigued individuals have significantly higher blood markers of inflammation, such as the protein known as C-reactive protein and other pro-inflammatory compounds known as cytokines. In addition to general fatigue, higher levels of CRP and certain pro-inflammatory cytokines are associated with other symptoms linked with excessive tiredness, such as fatigue following physical exertion, as well as poorer physical performance and poorer self-rated health.
In addition to affecting the brain and nervous system, inflammation promotes fatigue through many biological pathways involving the immune system, mitochondria, oxidative stress, and the stress-response system known as the HPA axis. Each of these systems has been implicated in chronic inflammation and the symptom of excessive tiredness.
What Causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Scientists have been researching chronic fatigue syndrome for many years, but they still don’t know for sure what causes it.
Many doctors believe that the way some conditions interact within the body and mind might leave some people at risk for CFS. For example, if someone has a and is under a lot of stress, the combination of these two things might make them more likely to develop CFS.
These things are believed to interact with each other in this way, putting some people at risk for CFS:
- infections. Experts have wondered if infections like measles or Epstein-Barr virus might increase the risk for CFS. The role Epstein-Barr plays in CFS is not clear because studies have not confirmed it as a cause.
- problems with the immune system or the nervous system
- hormone imbalances
- low blood pressure
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Fact: Caffeine Provides A Mild Boost
Whether in the form of coffee, soft drinks, or gum, caffeine can briefly increase alertness. Keep in mind that the effect takes about 30 minutes to kick in, so you may want to pull over and rest until you perk up. This temporary fix has its limits — caffeine canât overcome severe fatigue and may have little impact on regular coffee drinkers.
Fatigue Remedies That Address Inflammation Are Key To Getting Your Energy Back
A problem with inflammation could be the cause of your excessive tiredness.
As a doctor, I hear this question a lot. When a patient asks me, Why am I tired all the time? I think of inflammation. It may surprise you, as it does many of my patients, that you could have a problem with inflammation and not even know it, and that it could be the cause of your excessive tiredness. When there is fatigue, inflammation is usually the reason. Fatigue remedies that address inflammation are key to getting your energy back.
This type of inflammation is often described as silent, low-grade, chronic, and systemic because it is relatively mild and is present throughout the entire body for long stretches of time. Compare this to the kind of acute inflammation you would notice with, say, a severely sprained ankle, which is characterized by heat, redness, and swelling in the localized area around the ankle.
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Some Illnesses Cause Fatigue
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.
Many medical problems and treatments can add to fatigue. These include:
- Taking certain medications, such as antidepressants, antihistamines, and medicines for nausea and pain
- Having medical treatments, like chemotherapy and radiation, or recovering from major surgery
- Chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, thyroid disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Untreated pain and diseases like fibromyalgia
- Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders
Managing a health problem may make the fatigue go away. Your doctor can help.
How K Health Can Help
Fatigue can be caused by a number of thingsfind out whats causing your fatigue. Did you know you can get affordable primary care with the K Health app? Download K to check your symptoms, explore conditions and treatments, and if needed text with a doctor in minutes. K Healths AI-powered app is HIPAA compliant and based on 20 years of clinical data.
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
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Myth: Only Old People Fall Asleep At The Wheel
More than half of fatigue-related crashes are caused by drivers younger than 25. Others who are at the highest risk: men, people with sleeping disorders, adults with children, commercial drivers, drivers with jet lag, and shift workers. Working the night shift increases your risk by nearly six times. Rotating shifts that disrupt your sleep cycle and working more than 60 hours a week can also set you up for fatigued driving.
Fatigue Cause No : Anemia
Anemia is one of the leading causes of fatigue in women. Menstrual blood loss can cause an iron deficiency, putting women at risk. Red blood cells are needed because they carry oxygen to your tissues and organs.
Fix: For anemia caused by an iron deficiency, taking iron supplements and eating iron-rich foods, such as lean meat, liver, shellfish, beans, and enriched cereal, can help.
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Getting Adequate Rest Can Fight Short
In most cases, chronic fatigue is not substantially improved by rest. Chronic fatigue often makes it more difficult to get adequate rest. Similarly, fatigue can interfere with sleep, resulting in unrefreshing sleep, difficulty falling asleep, frequent awakening, or sleep apnea.
Rest is unlikely to relieve fatigue caused by a medical condition.
Fast Fix For Mild Fatigue
If you have mild fatigue that isn’t linked to any medical condition, the solution may be exercise. Research suggests healthy but tired adults can get a significant energy boost from a modest workout program. In one study, participants rode a stationary bike for 20 minutes at a mild pace. Doing this just three times a week was enough to fight fatigue.
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What Stage Of Cirrhosis Does Ascites Occur
Ascites is the main complication of cirrhosis,3 and the mean time period to its development is approximately 10 years. Ascites is a landmark in the progression into the decompensated phase of cirrhosis and is associated with a poor prognosis and quality of life mortality is estimated to be 50% in 2 years.
Fatigue Cause No 1: Food Allergies
Some doctors believe hidden food allergies can make you sleepy. If your fatigue intensifies after meals, you could have a mild intolerance to something you’re eating — not enough to cause itching or hives, just enough to make you tired.
Fix: Try eliminating foods one at a time to see if your fatigue improves. You can also ask your doctor about a food allergy test.
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When Is Being Too Tired A Problem
Let’s face it: We aren’twhat we used to be as we get on up there. Aging has many wonderful aspects, butone of the many problems is that we do not have the stamina and energy we didwhen younger. That is a normal part of aging and just something that comes withthe territory. However, being excessively tired or listless can be termedfatigue.
What Stage Of Liver Disease Is Itching
Just about as common as fatigue in PBC, itching of the skin affects a majority of individuals at some time during the disease. The itching tends to occur early in the course of the disease, when individuals still have good liver function. As a matter of fact, itching can even be the initial symptom of PBC.
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What Should I Know About Fatigue
What is the Definition of Fatigue?
Fatigue is generally defined as a feeling of lack of energy and motivation that can be physical, mental or both. Fatigue is not the same as drowsiness, but the desire to sleep may accompany fatigue. Apathy is a feeling of indifference that may accompany fatigue or exist independently. In addition, individuals often describe fatigue using a variety of terms including weary, tired, exhausted, malaise, listless, lack of energy and feeling run down.
How Common is Fatigue?
Fatigue is common. About 20% of Americans claim to have fatigue intense enough to interfere with living a normal life. A physical cause has been estimated to be responsible 20% to 60% of the time, while emotional or mental causes comprise the other 40% to 80% of cases of fatigue. Unfortunately, fatigue can occur in normal individuals that experience intense physical or mental activity .
However, in contrast to fatigue that occurs with some diseases and syndromes, normal fatigue in healthy individuals is quickly relieved in a few hours to about a day when the physical or mental activity is reduced. Also, people occasionally experience fatigue after eating , which can be a normal response to food, especially after large meals and this may last about 30 minutes to several hours.
1. Have severe chronic fatigue for at least six months or longer with other known medical conditions excluded by clinical diagnosis and
Physical Causes Of Tiredness
Tiredness may be due to a wide range of physical illnesses. Examples include:
- A tendency to be lacking in iron .
- An underactive thyroid gland .
- Side-effects of some medicines .
Most physical causes of tiredness will cause other symptoms. Some causes of tiredness may not cause any other symptoms apart from tiredness.
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How Is Fatigue Treated
To find out what is causing your fatigue, your doctor will ask you about any other symptoms and do a full examination. They may also order some blood tests or imaging tests, depending on what they think your condition might be.
Treatment will depend on the condition that is causing your fatigue. Sometimes, after treatment, you will feel better almost straight away. However, it might also take several weeks for your fatigue to lessen.
When To Contact A Medical Professional
Contact your provider right away if you have any of the following:
- Confusion or dizziness
- Little or no urine, or recent swelling and weight gain
- Thoughts of harming yourself or of committing suicide
- Unexplained weakness or fatigue, especially if you also have a fever or unintentional weight loss
- Constipation, dry skin, weight gain, or you cannot tolerate cold
- Wake up and fall back to sleep many times during the night
- Headaches often
- Are taking medicines, prescribed or non-prescribed, or using drugs that may cause fatigue or drowsiness
- Feel sad or depressed
Treatment depends on the cause of your fatigue symptoms.
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Why Am I So Tired What Am I Lacking
If your tiredness isnt caused by something obvious such as a lack of sleep and you dont suspect an underlying condition such as diabetes or an underactive thyroid, its sometimes worth looking at what youre eating and what nutrients you may be lacking.
There are a handful of vitamin deficiencies that might be the cause of your fatigue. If youre deficient in iron , vitamin B12 , or vitamin D , tiredness and consistent fatigue can occur.
Think this may be the case for you? You can check in on your vitamin levels from the comfort of home with LetsGetCheckeds range of at-home vitamin and mineral tests which test for some of the most common vitamin deficiencies.
Fatigue can be a result of a number of different health conditions or illnesses. If you feel as if youre always tired and its not a result of any lifestyle changes such as an increase in physical activity, its important to find out more. You can do this by visiting your doctor and keeping a close eye on your health and wellbeing with LetsGetCheckeds range of at-home health tests.
What Are The Causes Of Muscle Weakness
Muscle weakness is commonly due to lack of exercise, ageing, muscle injury or pregnancy. It can also occur with long-term conditions such as diabetes or heart disease. There are many other possible causes, which include stroke, multiple sclerosis, depression, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome .
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