What Is Cancer Fatigue
Fatigue means feeling very tired, exhausted and lacking energy. It can be a symptom of the cancer itself or a side effect of treatment.
Fatigue is very common in people with cancer. It can be the most troubling symptom. Many people say it’s the most disruptive side effect of all.
Cancer related fatigue can affect you physically, emotionally and mentally. How long it lasts, the degree of severity and how often you might have it is different from person to person.
Symptoms And Signs Of Fatigue In Older Adults
Constantly feeling tired and low on energy can create harmful side effects for your aging loved one: as a result of dealing with ongoing fatigue, many older adults experience depression, mood swings, and anger. Fatigue in older adults can be inherently tricky to understandsome people assume fatigue is just a natural part of growing old, but many times there is a specific cause that is being overlooked. Exploring what might be behind your loved ones fatigue is essential to help them feel better. Signs of fatigue can include:
- Complaints of tiredness
- Sleeping too many hours overnight
- Napping throughout the day
- A lack of motivation
Heart Disease And Fatigue
Symptoms: Fatigue from an activity that should be easy
If youre exhausted after an activity that used to be easy — for example, walking up the steps — it may be time to talk to your doctor about the possibility of heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women. If your fatigue is related to your heart, medication or treatments can usually help correct the problem, cut the fatigue, and restore your energy.
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Reasons Older Adults Might Be Feeling More Tired
1st February 2018
Quality sleep is important for everybody, but it can be particularly elusive for older adults and this can be for a number of reasons. Feeling awake throughout the day is important for a lot of reasons, whether people need to be productive and cannot achieve this due to feeling too tired, or because being tired is hampering their body and mobility, making it more likely that they will trip and fall. For those already reliant on mobility aids and have a curved stairlift in their home, being awake to manoeuvre the equipment is important for safety reasons. Find out below what could be causing tiredness.
Main Causes Of Morning Fatigue To Look Out For
Morning fatigue is generally an indication of lack of proper sleep. However, morning fatigue causes are not restricted to sleep problems.
Morning fatigue is generally an indication of lack of proper sleep. However, morning fatigue causes are not restricted to sleep problems.
Feeling tired in the morning? Well, it could be a symptom of morning fatigue. As we all know, fatigue is described as substantial decrease in energy levels, which is commonly experienced after a hard days work. This is how the body reacts when one performs a physical activity for a long period of time, without taking rest. However, experiencing fatigue after getting out of bed in the morning, sounds abnormal. This feeling of loss of strength when the sun rises is referred to as morning fatigue.
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Extreme Tiredness After Eating
Overwhelming tiredness after eating can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Diabetes is a health condition that affects your body’s production of insulin, which is needed to control your blood sugar levels. When you eat, your body begins to store sugar in its cells, but if you have diabetes, your body does not produce enough insulin to help control how much sugar is being stored. Spikes in blood sugar levels from eating can cause you to feel fatigued and lethargic, due to excess sugar in your bloodstream and cells. When enough insulin is once again produced to regulate your blood sugar levels, the glucose can be burned off as energy, thereby making you feel less fatigued.
Medical Causes Of Fatigue
Certain medical conditions and chronic diseases may also cause fatigue in the elderly. Some of these conditions include:
Anemia. This occurs when you have a low red blood cell count, making your body have to work harder in order to get your cells the oxygen they need. This can result in fatigue due to the extra strain on your body.
Sleep disorders. Sleep disorders like sleep apnea interfere with sleep cycles and can create disturbances throughout the night that prevents the sufferer from achieving meaningful rest. This lack of proper sleep over a period of time may lead to fatigue.
Thyroid issues. Hypothyroidism is more common with age and is characterized by lower thyroid function than normal. Those with hypothyroidism may experience fatigue along with weight gain, constipation, and hair loss.
Inflammatory disorders. Issues tied to inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, can cause fatigue, as well as joint stiffness and pain.
Cancer. Cancer cells grow and spread rapidly, which can use a lot of an individuals energy resources and leave them feeling fatigued.
Chronic fatigue syndrome. Chronic fatigue syndrome does not have a known trigger but can cause someone to experience fatigue persistently over the course of many months and years.
Chronic Infection. Chronic infections such as tuberculosis and HIV can cause significant fatigue in patients.
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Viral Or Bacterial Infection And Fatigue
Symptoms: Fatigue, fever, head or body aches.
Fatigue can be a symptom of infections ranging from the flu to HIV. If you have an infection, you’ll probably have other symptoms like fever, head or body aches, shortness of breath, or appetite loss.
Infections that may cause fatigue include:
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.
With fibromyalgia, you may feel that no matter how long you sleep, it’s never restful. And you may feel as if you are always fatigued during daytime hours. Your sleep may be interrupted by frequent waking. Yet, you may not remember any sleep disruptions the next day. Some people with fibromyalgia live in a constant fibro fog — a hazy feeling that makes it hard to concentrate.
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.
Fatigue In The Elderly
Fatigue is often considered to be a symptom rather than a condition and is different from general drowsiness, confusion, and excessive sleepiness. Many elderly patients use these symptoms interchangeably, making it difficult for their physicians to discern whether what they are experiencing is truly fatigue and if intervention is needed. Older adults are more likely to experience a reduction in certain hormone levels as well as suffer from chronic diseases, which increases the likelihood that they will experience fatigue.
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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 Can Cause Fatigue In Elderly
In the elderly, fatigue can be caused by a variety of underlying issues. Generally, fatigue occurs when the bodys metabolism, oxygen supply, hormone levels, or mental and emotional state are disrupted. Some of the most common causes include depression, issues with blood circulation, impaired breathing , hormone imbalances like hypothyroidism, malnutrition, and metabolic issues like diabetes mellitus.
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Can Sleep Be Improved To Reduce Cancer Fatigue
Sleep is an important part of wellness. Good sleep can improve your mental and physical health. Several factors contribute to how well you sleep, and there are things you can do to improve your sleep, including:
- Doing relaxation exercises, meditation or relaxation yoga before going to sleep.
- Avoiding long afternoon naps.
- Going to bed only when sleepy. Use your bedroom only for sleep and sexual activities.
- Setting a consistent time to lie down and get up.
- Avoiding caffeine and stimulating activities in the evening.
- Establishing a relaxing pre-sleep routine.
How Is Cancer Fatigue Managed Or Treated
The first step in treating fatigue is knowing the problem exists. Many people don’t bother to mention fatigue to their doctors because they believe it is normal. It’s vital that you discuss this and all symptoms or side effects with your healthcare provider. Then, efforts can be directed at determining the cause of the problem and prescribing appropriate treatment. Your particular cancer treatment regimen, with its known side effects, may provide clues for your doctor or health care professional. A simple blood test, for example, can determine if you are anemic.
There is no single medication available to treat fatigue. However, there are medications available that can treat some of the underlying causes.
When youre struggling, you may want to see a palliative care specialist. These experts help people with cancer manage symptoms like pain, nausea and depression.
Your provider or palliative care team may recommend these actions to ease fatigue:
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Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome
Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome is a group of symptoms that occur when your blood doesn’t circulate properly, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Doctors don’t totally understand the condition or why it happens, but they know that when a person with POTS stands upright, more blood collects in their lower body, causing the heart to beat faster to pump blood up to the brain.
Some people with POTS describe it as having sudden fatigue attacks, while others say it’s like having waves of sudden extreme fatigue and nausea or extreme fatigue “out of nowhere.” It can present differently depending on the person, but other symptoms might include:
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy when standing, or fainting
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle cramps or muscle pain
- Feeling shaky
- Sweating a lot
POTS tends to run in families, and there’s a link between POTS and having highly mobile joints , per Johns Hopkins Medicine. If you think you have it, see your doctor, who can run a test and make a diagnosis.
How Do You Stop Fatigue In Old Age
Here are some suggestions:
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When To Call Your Doctor
If your fatigue prevents you from engaging in work or school, social or personal activities, then you should see your doctor, Dr. Patane says.
“When in doubt, it never hurts to speak to your doctor about this. It can be a simple evaluation, and we may be able to say there’s nothing seriously wrong and suggest lifestyle modifications,” he says. “One of the best ways to get better from fatigue is with good sleep hygiene and by slowly increasing daily exercise.”
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.
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How To Cope With The Mid
Most people feel drowsy after lunch. This mid-afternoon drop in energy levels is linked to the brains circadian rhythm and is hard wired into the human body. Prevention may be impossible, but there are ways to reduce the severity of the slump, including:
- Incorporate as many of the above fatigue-fighting suggestions as you can into your lifestyle. A fit, healthy and well-rested body is less prone to severe drowsiness in the afternoon.
- Eat a combination of protein and carbohydrates for lunch, for example a tuna sandwich. Carbohydrates provide glucose for energy. Protein helps keep your mind attentive and alert.
- Get moving. A brisk walk or even 10 minutes of stretching at your desk improves blood flow and boosts energy.
How To Naturally Stimulate Appetite In The Elderly
What is the best natural treatment for loss of appetite in seniors and older adults? If the loss of appetite is due to a serious medical condition, treating that condition is the best approach for stimulating the appetite. Overall, healthy eating habits must be encouraged with the elderly.
A holistic nutritionist or dietitian can recommend the best foods and approach for the root cause of appetite loss. Since loneliness and depression have an association with appetite loss, a counselor or psychotherapist and eating with others can also help encourage eating.
Lets take a look at some of the ways to stimulate appetite in seniors.
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What Is The Right Kind Of Exercise For Cancer Fatigue
It’s important for you to exercise your whole body every day, or at least every other day. A good exercise plan starts slowly, allowing your body time to adjust. Any kind of exercise is acceptable, including walking, riding a stationary bike, yoga or swimming , and strength training. Whatever kind of exercise you do should be at a moderate intensity so you can say to yourself “I am working somewhat hard.” Avoid exercise that makes you feel sore, stiff or exhausted.
How Will Your Doctor Treat Fatigue
Your doctors recommended treatment plan will depend on whats causing your fatigue. To make a diagnosis, they will likely ask you questions about:
- the nature of your fatigue, including when it started and whether it gets better or worse at certain times
- other symptoms that youve been experiencing
- other medical conditions that you have
- your lifestyle and sources of stress
- medications that youre taking
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Sleep Suggestions For Fighting Fatigue
A common cause of fatigue is not enough sleep, or poor quality sleep. Suggestions include:
- Get enough sleep two-thirds of us suffer from sleep problems, and many people dont get the sleep they need to stay alert through the day. Some recommendations on getting a good nights sleep include: go to bed and get up in the morning at the same time every day, avoid naps through the day, and have a warm bath or shower before bed.
- Limit caffeine too much caffeine, particularly in the evening, can cause insomnia. Limit caffeinated drinks to five or less per day, and avoid these types of drinks after dinner.
- Learn how to relax a common cause of insomnia is fretting about problems while lying in bed. Experiment with different relaxation techniques until you find one or two that work for you for example, you could think of a restful scene, focus on your breathing, or silently repeat a calming mantra or phrase.
- Avoid sleeping pills sleeping pills are not a long-term solution because they dont address the causes of insomnia.
How To Prevent Fatigue In Seniors
The best way to prevent your elderly loved one from developing fatigue is to encourage them to follow healthy habits on a daily basis. This includes:
- Diet. Eating nutritiously and drinking enough water are both essential to an overall healthy lifestyle. Your loved one may benefit from eating numerous smaller meals throughout the day, since theyll have a consistent source of energy.
- Exercise. It sounds counterintuitive, but if your loved one leads a relatively sedentary lifestyle, exercising more could help them feel less fatigued. This is in part because a lack of exercise leads to muscle loss, which can make it more difficult to perform routine tasks. Exercise can also provide energy and improve your loved ones mood. If your loved one hasnt been active for a while, though, be sure to ask a doctor, physical therapist, or sports therapist before they attempt a new workout.
- Stress-relieving techniques. People often find that mindfulness practices and exercises such as yoga and tai chi help them feel less stressed. Planning enjoyable activities could also help your loved one socialize and feel happier and more fulfilled, thereby lowering their risk of developing anxiety or depression.
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Why Is My Elderly Mother So Tired
Many seniors also experience fatigue as a side effect of certain medications or medical treatments. Or, certain lifestyle choices could be causing your aging loved one to experience fatigue. Interestingly, both a lack of physical activity and too much physical activity can lead to fatigue.
Lifestyle Suggestions For Fighting Fatigue
- Dont smoke cigarette smoke contains many harmful substances. There are many reasons why smokers typically have lower energy levels than non-smokers for example, for the body to make energy it needs to combine glucose with oxygen, but the carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke reduces the amount of oxygen available in the blood.
- Increase physical activity physical activity boosts energy levels, while a sedentary lifestyle is a known cause of fatigue. Physical activity has many good effects on the body and mind. A good bout of exercise also helps you sleep better at night. Seek advice and encouragement regarding the steps you can take toward a more active lifestyle and talk to your doctor if you havent exercised in a long time, are obese, are aged over 40 years or have a chronic medical condition.
- Move more, sit less reduce sedentary behaviours such as watching television and using computers, and break up long bouts of sitting.
- Seek treatment for substance abuse excessive alcohol consumption or recreational drug use contribute to fatigue, and are unhealthy and potentially dangerous.
- Workplace issues demanding jobs, conflicts at work and burnout are common causes of fatigue. Take steps to address your work problems. A good place to start is to talk with your human resources officer.
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