What Can I Do If I Have Fatigue
Although fatigue cant be cured, there are techniques that can be used to reduce the impact it has on your daily life.
There are two main aspects of managing fatigue.
- Ensuring you have the best levels of energy available eg, through eating healthily, staying active, getting enough sleep, reducing stress and improving your mood.
- Learning how to use that energy in the most efficient way eg, by planning in advance, prioritising and delegating tasks, and pacing yourself.
Although the key person in fatigue management is you, health professionals, such as an MS nurse, occupational therapist or physiotherapist, can support you through this process and help you develop strategies to manage your fatigue.
Do reach out to them if fatigue is an issue and you need some advice and support you don’t have to manage fatigue on your own.
What Is The Prognosis
The clinical course of CFS varies considerably among persons who have the disorder. The actual percentage of patients who recover is unknown, and even the definition of what should be considered recovery is subject to debate. Some patients recover to the point where they can resume work and other activities, but continue to experience various or periodic CFS symptoms. Some patients recover completely with time, and some grow progressively worse. CFS follows a cyclical course, alternating between periods of illness and relative well being.
Treatment Of Chronic Fatigue
The treatment strategy begins with a comprehensive review of the findings, good sleep hygiene or clarification of sleep disorders, patterns of eating, and treatment of diagnosed psychiatric illness. Cognitive rehabilitation may have a role for those with documented neuropsychiatric deficit. The physician must be attentive to transference and countertransference in the assessment and treatment plan. Graded physical exercise and cognitive-behavioral treatment are the major tools for further treatment. Reduction of daytime naps, stable rising time, and time out of bed become features that can be modified. Diaries are an important method of recording the contributions to fatigue in the real world.
Key elements of cognitive-behavioral treatment are goal setting, education about the illness, relaxation training, exposure to avoided activities, and restructuring of potential misinterpretations. Distressing negative thoughts, such as fear about symptoms, drive to perfectionism, sensitivity to criticism, and guilt about failure, can be targeted. Together, the patient and physician also look at what elements of the patient, family, or social structure perpetuate and reinforce the disability. The challenge of coping with setbacks becomes key to the continuing treatment.
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What Medical Conditions Cause Fatigue
Hundreds of conditions and disorders lead to fatigue. Some of the most common causes of fatigue include:
- Disease and infection: Cancer, kidney disease and multiple sclerosis are just a few diseases that cause fatigue. Fatigue can also be a sign of infections such as mononucleosis, HIV and flu.
- Mental health conditions: Fatigue from depression or anxiety may make it difficult or impossible to perform daily activities.
- Autoimmune disorders: Fatigue is a symptom of many autoimmune diseases, including diabetes, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Hormonal imbalances: Problems with your endocrine system can lead to exhaustion. Hypothyroidism is a common cause of fatigue.
- Chronic conditions:Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia cause severe, long-lasting fatigue.
- Heart and lung problems: Fatigue is a common symptom of cardiovascular conditions such as heart disease, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome , chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , emphysema and congestive heart failure.
- Deficiencies:Anemia and other vitamin deficiencies are often responsible for fatigue. Dehydration can cause fatigue because the body needs plenty of fluids to function.
- Weight problems and eating disorders:Anorexia, bulimia, obesity or being underweight can lead to fatigue and a range of other symptoms.
How Can I Ease Or Relieve Fatigue
If a medical condition isnât causing your fatigue, lifestyle changes may improve your symptoms. To reduce fatigue, you can:
- Practice good sleep habits: Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Donât drink caffeine, use electronics, or exercise right before bed. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
- Avoid toxins: Donât use illegal drugs, and drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.
- Eat a healthy diet: A balanced diet and plenty of water will keep your body nourished and hydrated.
- Manage stress: Yoga, mindfulness, meditation and regular exercise can help you relieve stress and gain more energy.
- See your healthcare provider: Make an appointment to rule out infections, disease, illness, vitamin deficiencies and other health conditions. You should also talk to your provider about medications youâre taking to see if they are causing your symptoms.
- Exercise often: Regular exercise is crucial for a healthy lifestyle. Though it might seem counter-intuitive, vigorous exercise can help you feel more energetic once you get used to it. But exercising too much can cause fatigue, so talk to your provider about whatâs best for you.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Talk to your healthcare provider about your ideal weight, and try to stay within that range.
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Food Allergies Food Intolerance And Fatigue
Symptoms: Fatigue, sleepiness, continued exhaustion
Although food is supposed to give you energy, medical research suggests that hidden food intolerances — or allergies — can do the opposite. In fact, fatigue may be an early warning sign of food intolerance or food allergy. Celiac disease, which happens when you cant digest gluten, may also cause fatigue.
Ask your doctor about the elimination diet. This is a diet in which you cut out certain foods linked to a variety of symptoms, including sleepiness within 10 to 30 minutes of eating them, for a certain period of time to see if that makes a difference. You can also talk to your doctor about a food allergy test — or invest in a home test such as ALCAT — which may help you identify the offending foods.
Common Causes Of Fatigue
Many different things can also cause fatigue, but some common causes include:
- Lack of sleep or rest
- Physical activity such as running a marathon or working out at the gym for long periods of time
- Pregnancy if your body is not used to the extra work
- Mental activity such as working or studying for long periods of time
Just like brain fog, fatigue can also lead to a decrease in cognitive function and make it difficult to do everyday activities.
Now that we know some of the most common causes for brain fog and fatigue, lets take a look at some tips on how you can get relief from these conditions.
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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.
Is It Possible That I Have Pots And Was Incorrectly Diagnosed
This is entirely possible. Given how common POTS symptoms are and how unfamiliar many doctors are with this condition, diagnostic mishaps happen. POTS is frequently misidentified as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome, anxiety disorder, ADHD, irritable bowel syndrome, myositis, etc. It is also possible that you have both POTS and one of these conditions, which may complicate the diagnosis. Sometimes people with POTS are told that its all in your head, implying that the cause of their symptoms is psychological. If you feel like something is physically wrong, dont hesitate to seek a second, and even a third or fourth opinion.
COVID-19 and POTS: Is There a Link?
Although many people recover quickly from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, others who recover may continue to experience symptoms for months. Researchers are still determining the cause of these extended symptoms, but some COVID-19 “long-haulers” may actually be dealing with POTS.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Associated With Fatigue
Fatigue is a symptom that usually has some underlying cause. Fatigue may be described by people in different ways, and may include some combination include weakness, lack of energy, constantly tired or exhausted, lack of motivation, difficulty concentrating, and/or difficulty starting and completing tasks.
Other symptoms such as fainting or loss of consciousness , near-syncope, rapid heartbeat , dizziness or vertigo may also be described as part of the fatigue experienced by the affected individual. The presence of these symptoms may actually help lead a health care practitioner to discover the underlying cause of the fatigue.
The potential causes of fatigue are numerous. The majority of diseases known to man often list fatigue or malaise as possible associated symptoms. This is complicated by the fact that fatigue can occur in normal healthy individuals as a normal response to physical and mental exertion. However, normal fatigue may begin to become abnormal if it becomes chronic, extreme or prolonged fatigue usually this occurs when a person experiences chronic or prolonged physical or mental exertion. For example, unusually hard physical or mental exertion for one day can result in normal fatigue that may last about a day or sometimes more, depending on the exertion level, while daily unusually hard physical or mental exertion may result in prolonged fatigue . This latter situation may develop into abnormal fatigue.
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How Common Is Fatigue In Covid
Feeling fatigued is a very common symptom of COVID-19 for all age groups. On average, around eight in ten adults who are ill with COVID-19 will experience fatigue. Itâs slightly less common in children, affecting around half of those with COVID-19.
While 82% of app contributors who tested positive for coronavirus reported fatigue, just this symptom alone is not a sure sign of having COVID-19. Only 13% of people who were ill with COVID-19 experienced fatigue as their only symptom.
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Excessive Consumption Of Alcohol
Alcohol is a depressant, so drinking too much of it can lead to low mood and possibly even clinical depression. This in itself can cause fatigue, as the stress resulting from a low mood can use up a lot of energy and affect sleep. Alcohol is also a sedative, so drinking regularly can induce a constant sleepy state, affecting everyday life.
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
If your doctor suspects you have an underlying medical condition thats causing your fatigue, they may order some medical tests. For example, they may order blood or urine tests.
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Acute Fatigue As Urgent/emergent
The new onset with sudden and profound change in ability to do what one used to do can be an urgent or emergent condition. If the fatigue is associated with chest pain, shortness of breath, irregular heart rate, or sense of imminent passing out, these are urgent conditions that warrant immediate medical attention. These could be symptoms of a serious heart condition or major vascular insufficiency. Likewise, if this type of fatigue is associated with suicidal or homicidal thoughts, then immediate medical attention is required.
The bottom line is that being tired or fatigued is expected more as we age than when we were young. There are things we can do to restore some of that old vim and vigor, but there are some conditions that might cause this that require our seeking medical help. Be alert if you are fatigued!
Is There Any Treatment
There is currently no cure for CFS. The therapies for this disorder are directed at symptom relief. It is important to maintain good health by eating a balanced diet and getting adequate rest, exercising regularly without causing more fatigue, and pacing oneself because too much stress can aggravate the symptoms of CFS. Working with a physician to develop a program that provides the greatest benefits also will help in reducing frustration with the illness.
Non-pharmacological therapies include acupuncture, aquatic therapy, chiropractic, cranial-sacral, light exercise, massage, self-hypnosis, stretching, tai chi, therapeutic touch and yoga. Certain psychotherapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy also have shown promise for facilitating patient coping and for alleviating some of the distress associated with CFS.
In pharmacological therapy there is a variety of medications that can relieve specific symptoms. It is important to begin with low doses and to escalate the dosage gradually as necessary.
Some CFS patients may also find it therapeutic to meet with other people who have this illness, and this can be accomplished by joining a local CFS support group. Support groups are not appropriate for everyone, and may actually add to their stress rather than relieving it.
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Can Emotions Cause Fatigue
Are you fearful about the future? Do you worry about your health and who will take care of you? Are you afraid you are no longer needed? Emotional stresses like these can take a toll on your energy. Fatigue can be linked to many conditions, including:
- Stress from financial or personal problems
- Feeling that you no longer have control over your life
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.
How Much Sleep Keeps Cognitive Decline At Bay
To keep cognitive decline at bay, aim to get betweenseven and eight hours of sleep each night. Sleeping less than this can increase your risk of developing fatigue and brain fog.
Additionally, make sure you get regular exercise and eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
If you still experience fatigue and brain fog after making these lifestyle changes, be sure to speak with your doctor. They may be able to help you identify and treat the underlying cause of your symptoms.
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Fatigue In Major Illnesses Such As Cancer
Cancer patients who do not have recurrent disease can experience different patterns of fatigue from chemotherapy, radiation treatment, or surgery. Strategies for treatment include rest, systematic physical therapy, and stimulants. It is helpful for the patient to know that some fatigue is a normal consequence of treatment independent of mood. Their fatigue is likely to get substantially better and does not by itself indicate recurrent tumor.
One cause of weakness in this setting of cancer treatment is postural hypotension, a measurable vital sign that can be followed clinically. It is a consequence of some anticancer agents , anemia, and autonomic neuropathy. These may together make a patient weak on standing or sitting and limit his or her capacity for exertion. Sometimes, antihypertensive medications have not been reduced when the patient becomes ill, so the appropriate intervention is proper adjustment of the antihypertensive regimen. Bed rest and physical deconditioning contribute another element to postural hypotension, weakness, and fatigue.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome And Fibromyalgia
Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia are conditions that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.
Both conditions are chronic and there is no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue. Strategies include good sleep habits , relaxation techniques, light exercise, pacing yourself, and eating a balanced diet.
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What Causes ‘your’ 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.
Your doctor can help you sift through your health issues, as well as diet, exercise, and other lifestyle habits, in order to zero in on the cause and help you on the road to recovery.
What Else Causes Fatigue
Some lifestyle habits can make you feel tired. Here are some things that may be draining your energy:
- Staying up too late. A good night’s sleep is important to feeling refreshed and energetic. Try going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
- Having too much caffeine. Drinking caffeinated drinks like soda, tea, or coffee late in the day can keep you from getting a good night’s sleep. Limit the amount of caffeine you have during the day and avoid it in the evening.
- Drinking too much alcohol.Alcohol changes the way you think and act. It may also interact with your medicines.
- Eating junk food. Say “no thanks” to food with empty calories, like fried foods and sweets, which have few nutrients and are high in fat and sugars. Choose nutritious foods to get the energy you need to do the things you enjoy.
- Getting too little or too much exercise. Regular exercise can boost your energy levels, but dont overdo it.
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