Diabetes And Fatigue: Everything You Need To Know
What exactly is fatigue? Is it just being tired after working a long week or not getting enough sleep?
The answer is no.
Fatigue is excessive tiredness that makes carrying out simple tasks difficult and interferes with one or more life functions. Sounds terrible, doesnt it? Well imagine having a chronic illness along with the fatigue. Diabetes and fatigue have a strong relationship, and it can make a persons life very difficult. The following article will discuss the relationship, along with ways to beat and reduce the risk of living with diabetes and fatigue.
Complications Of Type 2 Diabetes
Itâs important to get your blood sugar under control to avoid these serious conditions:
- Hypoglycemia. If your blood sugar falls below 70 milligrams per deciliter , it can lead to accidents, coma, and death.
- Hyperglycemia. Blood sugar that goes above 180 to 200 mg/dL can give you heart, nerve, kidney, and vision problems. Over the long term, it also can cause coma and death.
Over time, people with type 2 diabetes may have other health problems:
- Diabetic ketoacidosis. When you donât have enough insulin in your system, your blood sugar rises, and your body breaks down fat for energy. Toxic acids called ketones build up and spill into your urine. It can cause coma and death if you donât treat it.
- Heartand blood vessel diseases. People with diabetes are more likely to have conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which play a role in heart disease. Also, high blood sugar can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart.
- High blood pressure. Diabetes doubles your risk of high blood pressure, which makes you more likely to have heart disease or stroke.
- Nerve damage . This can cause tingling and numbness, most often in your feet and legs. But it can also affect your digestive system, urinary tract, blood vessels, and heart.
- Eyedamage. Diabetes can cause:
- Glaucoma, a buildup of pressure in your eyes
- Cataracts, a cloudiness of your lens
- Retinopathy, which is damage to the blood vessels in your eyes
What Are The Complications Of Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes, if poorly controlled or left untreated, can lead to severe complications, which are as follows:
- It may affect different organs of the body especially, the heart, eye, kidney, and nerves.
- It may affect the eyes causing blindness in adults.
- It is a major contributor to end-stage kidney disease in the United States.
- It can lead to leg amputation.
- There is an increased rate of post-surgery pneumonia.
- The risk of stroke is higher.
- The death rate is higher among COVID-19 patients with an underlying diabetic condition.
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Why Does Type 2 Diabetes Make You Feel So Tired
Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms associated with poorly controlled blood sugar.
If you have type 2 diabetes and youre feeling tired, youre not alone. Fatigue is a symptom thats often associated with the condition. There are many possible causes, including everything from diabetes-related complications to underlying conditions. Simply managing diabetes on a daily basis can zap your energy from time to time.
However, the most common cause, by far, is uncontrolled blood glucose, says Joel Zonszein, MD, director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at the University Hospital of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Health System in the Bronx, New York.
With type 2 diabetes, poor blood sugar control typically results in or , which can cause fatigue among other symptoms. But Dr. Zonszein notes that high blood glucose isnt the only cause. Some people especially the elderly get dehydrated because their blood sugars are so high . The fatigue, in part, comes from the , he says. It can also come from kidney disease.
Underlying conditions and diabetes-related complications are additional factors that can contribute to tiredness. Dr. Zonszein explains that when people have had type 2 diabetes for a long time, they can develop damage in their kidneys, heart, and liver. Abnormalities in these organs can also cause fatigue, he says.
Medications should also be reviewed, as fatigue can be a side effect in some, especially those used to like .
Causes Related To Blood Sugar
High blood glucose makes your blood sludgy, slowing circulation so cells cant get the oxygen and nutrients they need. Margaret commented, I can tell if my sugars are high in the morning, because groggy doesnt begin to describe it. Drugged is how it feels.
Low sugars levels also cause diabetes fatigue, because when blood sugar is low, there is not enough fuel for the cells to work well.
In addition, high blood glucose can cause diabetes fatigue through inflammation. Blood vessels get inflamed by the sugar. When this happens, according to research, immune cells called monocytes come into the brain, causing fatigue.
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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.
- changes in sleeping patterns
How Is It Beneficial For Me As A Person With Diabetes To Reduce/prevent Fatigue
It is beneficial for someone with diabetes to reduce and prevent fatigue because it can lead to a happier and healthier life and less diabetes complications in the future. Fatigue can cause lack of motivation which can lead to a person not taking care of themselves. For an individual with diabetes, not taking care of their body can lead to complications that arent reversible. These include:
- Kidney damage
- Poor circulation
These complications are big problems and can lead to a very difficult life. It is much easier to keep fatigue to a minimum or eliminate it all together.
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Why You Might Be Hungrier And Losing Weight
“Weight loss most often occurs in the setting of type 1 diabetes,” Williams says. But people with type 2 can also experience this symptom. “The lack of insulin results in the body’s loss of fat and sometimes muscle tissue . Hunger can occur when this loss of body mass stimulates a hunger center in the hypothalamus. The person will want to eat to replace this lost body mass, but of course the lack of insulin prevents this from occurring and the process continues.”
Diabetes: Common Signs And Symptoms Of Type 2
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Diabetes is a common condition that affects more than four million people in the UK, and 90 percent of all cases are caused by type 2 diabetes. You could be at risk of high blood sugar if you develop unexplained tiredness.
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Early Signs And Symptoms Of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a disease in which your body doesnât make enough of a hormone called insulin or doesnât use insulin the way it should. Insulin helps carry glucose to your cells. So when thereâs a problem with the insulin, glucose builds up in your blood. Youâve probably heard this called high blood sugar.
About 90% of people who have diabetes have type 2. The other two main ones are type 1, in which your body stops making insulin, and gestational, which happens in pregnant women.
You can usually control type 2 diabetes with lifestyle changes. Some people also need medication.
You might not know that you have type 2 diabetes until it affects your health. About 1 in 4 people with the condition donât know that they have it.
Symptoms can come on slowly. They may include:
Recruitment Process And Study Population
One hundred and twenty chronically fatigued patients with T1DM will be included. Patients will be recruited from the diabetes outpatient clinic of the Radboud University Medical Center and three general hospitals all located in the South East Netherlands. Patients will also be recruited through websites and social media. Patients of the diabetic outpatient clinics will be screened by their treating consultant for the sociodemographic and medical criteria of eligibility . Inclusion criteria and exclusion criteria are listed in Table .
Table 1 Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Patients who contact the researcher in response to information about the study in the media and are not treated in one of the four participating hospitals will first be screened for eligibility by a consultant of the diabetes outpatient clinic of the Radboud University Medical Center.
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Why Should You Choose Ucf To Help With Your Diabetes Needs
UCF Health Services are expansive and include the treatment of endocrine disorders. Regardless of the type of diabetes you may be experiencing, our expert doctors can help get you back to optimal health. While there is currently no cure for diabetes, Orlando Endocrinology Services have vast experience in caring for patients with diabetes or other endocrine disorders.
Endocrinology experts at UCF Health spend years studying the bodys delicate endocrine system. They have seen a variety of patients from all walks of life and work with a team of other knowledgeable medical professionals to ensure each patient receives robust, correct health care. Disorders of the pituitary gland are no joke and can severely affect ones quality of life.
To discuss insurance coverage or make an appointment, visit our patient portal today. We make it easy to get our patients the health care access they need.
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.
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Fatigue In Diabetes: A Vicious Cycle
Fatigue is a frequently encountered symptom in the general practice management of diabetes. Fatigue may be the presenting symptom of diabetes, or it may present as one of a constellation of complaints. It may even persist after glycemic control is achieved. All of these clinical situations, irrespective of causality or association, may be grouped together as DFS. Fatigue has been reported to be prevalent in patients with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes . Its association with inflammation, body mass index, insulin treatment, and depression has also been studied . The lack of correlation between fatigue on the one hand and hyperglycemia and glycemic variability on the other is also known . The unique features of fatigue in persons with diabetes have also been recognized, prompting the development of disease-specific diagnostic tools , as opposed to generic ones .
Diabetes and fatigue seem to have a bidirectional relationship, both feeding and worsening each other, thereby creating a vicious cycle of DFS . This relationship is strengthened by biochemical, psychological, and lifestyle factors.
Tiredness And High Blood Sugar Levels
Blood glucose levels go high when there is either insufficient insulin or the insulin is not working effectively enough .
To provide us with energy, insulin is needed to transport glucose from blood into our cells to be used for energy.
When there is not enough insulin, or the insulin isnt working effectively, it means the sugar in our blood cannot get into our cells and therefore our cells do not receive the energy they need. As a result, we feel tired.
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What Are The Types Of Diabetes
Diabetes refers to a collection of diseases in which the human body has some sort of issue with insulin. In some instances of diabetes, the body doesnt make enough of the crucial hormone whereas, in other situations, the body cant appropriately use whatever insulin is created. In other cases, a combination of both occurs. Each of these situations inhibits the body from drawing sugar out of the bloodstream and distributing it to the cells. This results in high blood sugar levels that require medical attention and management.
We draw a majority of our energy from glucose, which is found in the bloodstream. Insulin helps manage this and, when unavailable, sugar continues to build up in the bloodstream, creating a wide variety of health problems and issues.
Differences Between Participants And Nonparticipants
There was no significant difference on the mean scores on the SFQ between participants and nonparticipants completing questionnaires. Nonparticipants, including nonresponders, did not differ significantly from participants on sex . Participants and nonparticipants did differ significantly from each other on age and HbA1c. Participants were older , participants had lower HbA1c values , and their latest HbA1c was measured more recently compared with nonparticipants. The mean age of nonparticipants was 43.6 years, mean HbA1c values were 8.6 , and HbA1c was measured 8 months previously .
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Lifestyle Factors Associated With Fatigue In Diabetes
Although numerous lifestyle factors may affect fatigue, being overweight and engaging in low levels of habitual physical activity have been strongly associated with fatigue and have special clinical relevance for many patients with diabetes.
Body mass index
Most people with insulin-resistant type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese . Obesity and overweight have been associated with higher levels of fatigue in the general population -, and were independently associated with fatigue levels in women . The physiological and psychological phenomena that mediate the relationship between obesity and fatigue have not been fully elucidated however, there is a growing body of literature suggesting that increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines may be significant factors in fatigue levels –
There are several etiological mechanisms that might explain the relationship between physical activity and fatigue in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Regular physical activity, especially vigorous physical activity, has been shown to improve aerobic capacity and muscle mass, enhance metabolic substrate use for energy, and improve mood. It has been noted that individuals with diabetes engage in low levels of physical activity -, which may lead to reductions in aerobic capacity.
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.
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