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.
Where To Get Help
- Your doctor
- Wilson J, Morgan S, Magin P, et al. 2014, Fatigue a rational approach to investigation, Australian Family Physician, vol. 43, no. 7, pp. 457-461, The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. More information here.
- Fatigue, 2013, MedlinePlus, US National Library of Medicine. More information here.
- Fatigue, Mayo Clinic, USA. More information here.
- Fatigue in the workplace, WorkSafe Victoria. More information here.
Underactive Thyroid And Fatigue
Symptoms: Extreme fatigue, sluggishness, feeling run-down, depression, cold intolerance, weight gain
The problem may be a slow or underactive thyroid. This is known as hypothyroidism. The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that sits at the base of your neck. It helps set the rate of metabolism, which is the rate at which the body uses energy.
According to the American Thyroid Foundation, about 17% of all women will have a thyroid disorder by age 60. And most won’t know it. The most common cause is an autoimmune disorder known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Hashimoto’s stops the gland from making enough thyroid hormones for the body to work the way it should. The result is hypothyroidism, or a slow metabolism.
Blood tests known as T3 and T4 will detect thyroid hormones. If these hormones are low, synthetic hormones can bring you up to speed, and you should begin to feel better fairly rapidly.
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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.
Talking To Your Doctor Or Nurse
Prepare for your next appointment with your doctor or nurse by writing down questions that you want to ask.
Never be embarrassed to ask them to repeat and explain anything that you dont understand.
Your care and wellbeing is the doctors and nurses priority, so describe all of your symptoms to them. It can be difficult for anyone to understand how much fatigue can affect your life, and how distressing it can be, unless they have experienced it themselves. For this reason you may need to emphasise to your doctors and nurses the difficulties that it causes for you.
Discuss everyday actions that you find difficult, such as climbing stairs, cooking or bathing. If you have kept a fatigue diary you can bring it in to share with the health professionals looking after you.
It can often be difficult to discuss emotions, especially when you are ill, for fear of upsetting yourself and others. Try not to let embarrassment stop you discussing your emotions with your doctors and nurses. It may help if you take someone to the appointment with you. When you have fatigue it can be difficult to remember what the doctor or nurse has said and your relative or friend can help to fill in the gaps.
Specific questions you may like to ask:
- What could be causing my fatigue?
- What treatments may help me?
- How can I cope with my fatigue?
- What help is available?
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Is It Sleepiness Or Fatigue
Sleepiness can occur when a person does not get enough good quality sleep, or when they have a lack of stimulation. It can also be a symptom of a health condition that interferes with sleep, such as sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome.
Sleepiness is more likely to be short-term than fatigue. It is usually treatable with regular and consistent sleep.
However, fatigue especially when it is chronic is often associated with a health condition or problem. It may also be its own chronic condition, called chronic fatigue syndrome, or myalgic encephalomyelitis.
Fatigue is associated with many health conditions and lifestyle factors. The sections below will outline these in more detail.
What To Expect At Your Provider’s Office
There is no laboratory test for chronic fatigue syndrome. But your health care provider may use tests to rule out other illnesses. Your provider will go over your symptoms, check your medical history, and do a physical examination.
If you have CFS, your provider may prescribe drugs to treat your symptoms, or suggest herbs, vitamins, or dietary changes to help you. Get plenty of rest, exercise regularly, and learn to pace yourself. Often this combination of treatments will help you get better.
If the usual treatments do not work, your provider may check for other conditions that can cause symptoms similar to those of CFS.
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Myth: Better Drowsy Than Drunk
Most people are aware of the dangers of driving drunk, but they may not take sleepiness seriously. Thatâs a mistake. Researchers have found that going 18 to 24 hours without sleep is a risk similar to being legally drunk, when it comes to driver impairment. Like alcohol, sleepiness and fatigue lead to poor judgment and reaction time, not to mention the risk of dozing off.
Fact: Common Medications Can Trigger Drowsiness
Many common medications, such as those used to treat colds, allergies, or motion sickness, can hinder alertness on the road. If the bottle lists drowsiness as a side effect or warns against operating a motor vehicle, itâs best not to get behind the wheel. Even small amounts of alcohol can amplify the fatigue associated with these medications.
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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.
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
There’s a long list of possible symptoms that someone with chronic fatigue syndrome can have. The most common ones include:
- severe fatigue, which can make it hard to get out of bed and do normal daily activities
- sleep problems, such as trouble falling or staying asleep, or not having a refreshing sleep
- symptoms getting worse after physical or mental effort
- symptoms or dizziness that get worse after standing up or sitting upright from a lying down position
- problems with concentration and memory
- headaches and stomachaches
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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
Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Weakness Of Both Legs
- Are you allergic to anything?
- Do your symptoms improve with Ibuprofen/Advil/Motrin, known as NSAIDs?
- Have a friend stand across from you and hold out a finger. Touch that finger and then touch your nose. Move the target finger around and start going faster. Are you having trouble?
- Do you find yourself getting weaker and weaker?
Self-diagnose with our free Buoy Assistant if you answer yes on any of these questions.
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General Suggestions For Exercise
- Regular, light exercise such as walking has been shown to reduce fatigue as well as nausea and vomiting, and can help some people to sleep better
- Plan some activity or light exercise into your day
- If exercise is impossible, try to stay active in your daily routine
- Pay attention to how your body reacts to exercise: how did you sleep? How did you feel the next day?
- Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise
- Perhaps keep a record of your activities to share with your doctor or nurse, so they can help monitor your progress
- It’s important to find a balance between activity and rest, and to exercise in a way that allows the muscles to recover after activity
- Dont exercise if you feel unwell, are in pain or have any other symptoms that worry you, such as feeling breathless. Let your doctor know if you feel unwell or have worrying symptoms
What Causes Fatigue And Weakness
In people with cancer, weakness might be caused by having and recovering from surgery, low blood counts or low electrolyte levels, infection, or changes in hormone levels.
However, the causes of cancer-related fatigue are often harder to determine because there are often many factors involved. It might be from the cancer itself and/or a side effect of the cancer treatment. How cancer and treatment might cause fatigue is not well understood, but some possible reasons are:
- Cancer and cancer treatment can change normal protein and hormone levels that are linked to inflammatory processes which can cause or worsen fatigue.
- Treatments kill normal cells and cancer cells, which leads to a build-up of cell waste. Your body uses extra energy to clean up and repair damaged tissue.
- Cancer forms toxic substances in the body that change the way normal cells work.
Besides direct effects of cancer and its treatment, people with cancer often also experience other things that can add together to increase fatigue. These are things like surgery, stress and worry, changes in activity level, and changes in blood counts, electrolytes, and hormone levels.
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Cervicomedullary Region Electrical Stimulation
Electrical stimulation in the cervicomedullary region aims to activate the corticospinal tract at a subcortical level, thereby eliminating cortical contributions to the evoked muscle response. The muscular response recorded by EMG is known as the cervicomedullary motor-evoked potential . Comparison of MEP and CMEP is helpful for the localization of excitability at the cortical or subcortical level. During a sustained 30% MVC of the plantar flexors, a large increase in MEP and only a slight increase in CMEP have been reported, thus suggesting a small contribution of spinal factors to the increase in corticospinal excitability during submaximal fatiguing contractions. In contrast, during 50% MVC of the elbow flexors to task failure, similar MEP and CMEP kinetics has been found, thus indicating that central changes occur almost entirely at the spinal level., ,
Genetic Conditions Affecting Muscles
Muscular dystrophies: these are inherited diseases which affect muscles. They are rare disorders but the best known and most common is Duchenne muscular dystrophy. This occurs in children and leads to gradual loss of muscle power from toddler-hood.
Some rare muscular dystrophies: these can present in adulthood and include Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome and the facioscapulohumeral dystrophies. They also cause gradual loss of power and function in muscles. Those who have these conditions may become wheelchair-bound.
Sarcoidosis: this is a rare disease in which clumps of cells form in skin, lungs and soft tissues, including muscles. The condition usually goes away after a few years.
Amyloidosis involves deposits of an ‘unhelpful’ abnormal protein called amyloid throughout the body, including muscles and kidneys.
Other rare causes: direct damage to muscles can occur in rare inherited metabolic conditions. Examples include:
- Glycogen storage diseases .
- Even rarer, mitochondrial diseases which occur when the energy systems inside muscle cells don’t work properly.
Myotonic dystrophy: this is a rare genetic muscle disorder in which muscles become extremely tired. Myotonic dystrophies are passed down through families and they tend to occur earlier and become worse as they move through the generations.
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Is Pots More Common In Certain People
There are no established risk factors for POTS. However, it is known to run in families, so it could have a genetic component. Researchers have also established a link between POTS and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome . So if you have one of these conditions, you might also have the other.
A big group of those diagnosed with POTS is young women and teens. However, this doesnt mean they are more likely to develop this condition.
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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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.
Will My Leg Weakness Be Permanent
It depends on the cause. Fortunately, many causes of leg weakness lead to complete recovery if diagnosed accurately and treated in the appropriate time frame. Sometimes leg weakness may be improved but not totally cured by treatments like physical therapy after the initial underlying cause is addressed. However, some causes are irreversible, and these include severe damage to the nerves, spinal cord and/or brain.
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Preventive Tips For Weakness
Here are a few tips to help you keep weakness and fatigue away.
Rare Causes Of Muscle Weakness
Certain rare conditions can cause muscle weakness:
- Dermatomyositis: Dermatomyositis is an inflammatory myopathy, or muscle disorder, that also causes skin irritation and rash. Due to the inflammation that develops with dermatomyositis, muscle tissue can break down, causing pain and weakness.
- Rheumatoid arthritis : RA is an inflammatory, autoimmune form of arthritis that causes progressive joint inflammation and damage, leaving joints painful and stiff and causing muscle weakness around affected joints.
- Sarcoidosis: Sarcoidosis is a systemic, inflammatory condition of unknown cause with symptoms like arthritis, joint pain, and sarcoid myopathy, which is characterized by muscle weakness, pain, and fatigue.
- Secondary hyperparathyroidism: Secondary hyperparathyroidism, or excessive parathyroid hormones, is a common complication of kidney disease. Secondary hyperparathyroidism can cause joint pain and muscle weakness as increased parathyroid hormone levels contribute to muscle protein breakdown.
- Systemic lupus erythematosus : SLE is a systemic, autoimmune condition that causes a skin rash and joint inflammation. It also causes myalgia and myositis , leading to muscle weakness.
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