Differential Diagnosis Of Fatigue In Women
- MGH/IHP, 101 Merrimac Street, Boston, MA 02114AffiliationsCheryl A. Cahill is the Amelia Peabody Endowed Professor of Nursing Research at Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions in Boston, MA
Women and Health.
Journal of Rheumatology.Heart and Lung.Journal of Advanced Nursing.
Oncology Nursing Forum.
- Weller S.
Seminars in Oncology Nursing.
Rheumatoid Arthritis And Fatigue
Symptoms: Fatigue, morning stiffness, joint pain, inflamed joints
Rheumatoid arthritis , a type of inflammatory arthritis, is another cause of excessive fatigue. Because joint damage can result in disability, early and aggressive treatment is the best approach for rheumatoid arthritis.
Medications that may be used early in mild RA include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs
Other drugs used in more serious forms of RA include the anti-cytokine therapies , as well as shots and other forms of treatment.
Other autoimmune disorders, such as lupus and Sjogrens disease, may also cause fatigue.
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How Would You Describe Fatigue Associated With Pots
People with POTS experience fatigue differently. Many describe it as feeling beyond exhausted. Its as if your energy is completely depleted. The fatigue is probably hundreds of times worse than your worst flu. People with POTS may also have trouble concentrating and thinking straight. Doing simple tasks may feel like youve just run a marathon.
This fatigue might come and go, hitting you without warning daily, weekly or less frequently. For some people, extreme fatigue lasts for days. Others may experience periodic attacks. It can come on at any moment even if you just woke up. And there is no amount of sleep or coffee that can make it go away.
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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.
What Is The Treatment For Fatigue
The treatment for fatigue depends upon the cause. Some treatments for conditions that cause fatigue include medications, antibiotics, vitamins, and exercise. Medical treatment of fatigue depends on the treatment of its underlying cause. Fortunately, many causes of fatigue may be treated with medications, for example, iron supplements for anemia, medications and machines to help sleep apnea, medications to control blood sugar, medications to regulate thyroid function, antibiotics to treat infection, vitamins, and/or recommendations for dietary changes and a sensible exercise program. Again, treatment of the underlying cause is the key to treatment of the symptom of fatigue.
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Causes Of Menopause Fatigue
As a woman nears menopause, her hormone levels fluctuate dramatically, which causes the brain to wake up at all hours of the night. Also, lower levels of progesterone make some women short-tempered and less able to relax.
Hormones like progesterone and estrogen are also known to help protect women from a condition called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. When women go through menopause, they no longer produce progesterone which means theyre no longer as naturally protected from this sleep disorder, ultimately putting them more at risk.
If you have sleep apnea, oxygen deprivation may cause you to awaken several times during the night.
But hormones arent the only thing that will keep women up at night. Other symptoms of menopause like hot flashes and night sweats are also likely culprits of poor sleep.
There are changes in the brain that lead to hot flashes, and those changes not just the feeling of heat can also be what triggers the body to wake up while youre trying to sleep. Even women who dont report having sleep disturbances from hot flashes often say that they have more trouble sleeping than they did before menopause.
In short, the more uncomfortable you are, the more likely youll wake up throughout the night, often more than once.
Fatigue Causes: #2poor Nutrition/digestion
Nutrition and digestive issues such as nutritional deficiencies, food allergies, blood sugar dysregulation, and excessive permeability in the lining of the intestines can all cause fatigue. Those suffering from fatigue are commonly eating a poor-quality diet .
In addition, fatigue sufferers have been found to have more digestive symptoms linked to altered intestinal bacteria and abnormal function of the intestinal lining compared to non-fatigued individuals. (Learn more about leaky gut syndrome here: 5 Top Reasons You Might Have Leaky Gut Syndrome and Feel Tired All the Time or Have Depression Symptoms.
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Fatigue Cause No : Depression
You may think of depression as an emotional disorder, but it contributes to many physical symptoms, as well. Fatigue, headaches, and loss of appetite are among the most common symptoms. If you feel tired and down for more than a few weeks, see your doctor.
Fix: Depression responds well to talk therapy and/or medication.
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Natural Energy Boosters So You Can Feel The Best Youve Ever Felt
What you can do today
Set a timer for 1 minute sit quietly, close your eyes, inhaling and exhaling deeply 5 counts in, 5 counts out.
Why it works
Fatigue robs you of the energy you need to keep up with lifes demands, to enjoy life, or even to make important changes to maintain your health. It adds to the pressure you feel at work and at home, and can severely disrupt your personal and social relationships. Of course, these sorts of emotional effects only make you feel more tired and worn out.
But fatigue does not have to be your new normal. Whether you are 20, 50 or even 90 years old theres a lot you can do to increase your energy naturally. We can lead you up and out of fatigue and away from the downward spiral that has you in its grip. Weve had such great success in relieving fatigue in women that an increase in energy is usually the first dramatic improvement women notice after beginning to follow our approach.
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Top 12 Reasons For Fatigue In Women
Fatigue is a common problem among men and women worldwide. If you experience weakness or fatigue rarely you dont have to worry. Also if the reason for fatigue is obvious and simple, you should not worry. For example if you do not get proper sleep or adequate sleep at night you are surely going to experience fatigue and tiredness. Experts believe that people who sleep less such as only 4 to 5 hours a day may be prone to experience fatigue. But if you sleep for 8 hours daily yet you experience fatigue, it is a matter of concern and you should do something about it otherwise it would affect your performance and life badly.
In most cases, fatigue is a symptom of some underlying health conditions. If you are a woman, your reason for fatigue would be different from men. To get rid of fatigue you need to be aware of the causes of fatigue in women. Given below are top 10 reasons for fatigue in women.
Women who bleed heavily during their periods usually suffer from fatigue symptoms. When you bleed heavily, deficiency of hemoglobin occur in your system. Hemoglobin is iron rich protein in red blood cells and these blood cells play vital role in carrying oxygen to throughout your system. When deficiency of hemoglobin occurs due to heavy discharge, your tissues and organ cells do not get sufficient amount of oxygen. Due to lack of oxygen you feel very tired and experience fatigue.
2) Deficiency Of B Vitamins
3) Kidney Diseases
For Fatigue Our Adrenal Health Program
In our experience, fatigue in women is very often a symptom of adrenal imbalance. The Adrenal Health Program helps relieve symptoms and promotes natural adrenal balance with advanced nutritional supplements, our exclusive adrenal support formulas, and practical dietary and lifestyle guidance.
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Fact: A Companion Can Help During Long Road Trips
For long road trips, itâs best to bring a companion if possible, someone who can share in the driving. Pull over and switch seats about every 100 miles or every two hours. Whoever is not behind the wheel should stay awake and talk to the driver. The passenger can also keep a watchful eye for signs that the driver might be nodding off.
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Psychological Causes Of Fatigue
Studies suggest that psychological factors are present in at least 50 per cent of fatigue cases. These may include:
- Depression this illness is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
- Anxiety and stress a person who is chronically anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
- Grief losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.
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My Face Legs Feet And Hands Are Often Puffy And I Get Lightheaded
Blame it on: Aldosterone
Some women complain that they can swell up with fluid within minutes of feeling stressed. This is not their imagination.
Or, their fluid retention may creep up after repeated stressful triggers over the course of the day. Heres why:
When your body flicks on the fight or flight reaction, it pumps out a chemical called aldosterone. This hormone has the important job of regulating levels water and electrolytes in your blood and your blood pressure.
But when youre under duress, aldosterone sends a message to your kidneys to retain salt, so your body retains as much fluid as possible.
This sodium retention is a survival strategy, just in case you need that fluid on board to face any emergency. This not only leads to puffy face, ankles and tummy, it can also lead to the appearance of cellulite in areas like the thighs, because the high levels of sodium there is pulling more water to those areas.
Frustratingly, this water retention can make you feel like youve gained weight, even though it is all fluid. Yet you may also find that you need to get up go to the toilet at night. This can happen because its the first time in the day when youre not rushing so your body feels safe enough to not have to retain as much fluid and starts to release some of it.
Since aldestrone also regulates your blood pressure, exhausted adrenals can also translate to getting light headed when getting up from a bed or chair.
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What Causes Tiredness And Fatigue In Women
A frequent feeling of excessive fatigue in women can be a sign of medical problems. The usual causes of extreme tiredness and fatigue in female include the following:
- Extreme depression due to loss of a loved one
- Prolonged stress
- Excessive work outs or exercise
- Sleep deprivation
- Adrenal fatigue due to excessive coffee intake
- High or low blood pressure
- Immune system disorders
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Phase : Tired But Wired
Once constant pressures or a taxing situation puts you under chronic stress, the repeated triggering of your adrenal glands can cause high cortisol release one moment and low another. You cant get going so you start to rely more and more on coffee and tea to try to boost your flagging energy levels. But this article explains why the caffeine only causes further hormonal imbalance.
How Stress Steals Your Other Hormones
Normally pregnenolone works as a precursor hormone to help produce testosterone, estrogen, progesterone and DHEA . When your body is struggling to keep up with stress, it diverts an important hormone called pregnenolone to making more cortisol instead of progesterone. This reaction is known as the pregnenolone steal see the chart below:
The classic example is a woman stressed about getting pregnant who then adopts a child as her stress levels go down with the new baby, she gets pregnant with her own child. Im sure you have heard of stories like that. As her pregnenolone is not longer directed to over-produce cortisol, she can now also produce sufficient progesterone and get pregnant.
Youre Skimping On Sleep
According to the National Sleep Foundation, you should be getting between seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Definitely getting less? Enter the fatigue.
Minimum seven hours of sleep is required for effective rejuvenation of the body and restfulness of the brain, Dr. Khan says. Heres the thing: Even one night of bad sleep can mess with your circadian rhythm and throw you off for a few days, she says.
How to fix it: At baseline, the solution is simply to get more sleep. But, of course, sometimes thats easier said than done. You need to first figure out whats screwing up your sleepstress? Netflix? Crappy sleep hygiene?and then address the reason for your lack of sleep. If youre still struggling, talk to your doctor about your options. You may need an intervention such as cognitive behavioral therapy to treat insomnia, for example.
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Shift Work Sleep Disorder
Shift work can wreak havoc on your body’s 24-hour internal clock, or circadian rhythm. When you work nights or rotate shifts, your body doesn’t know when to be awake and when to sleep, which causes fatigue.
Daylight is often a cue to be awake. If you must sleep during the day, try to make your sleeping area as dark, cool, and quiet as possible. If you must work at night, keep your workplace brightly lit. Try to work night shifts all in a row and avoid frequently rotating shifts. Stay away from caffeine, and stick to a regular sleep-wake schedule as much as possible on days off.
Heart Attack Or Stroke
While you may be on the lookout for chest pain to signal problems with your heart, you should also add sudden-onset fatigue to the list, per the American Heart Association. .
In addition, the AHA points out that fatigue or confusion can be one of the initial symptoms of a stroke. Other signs might include a severe headache, arm weakness and difficulty with walking or talking.
If you have sudden exhaustion along with any other symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, call 911 immediately. In either case, your likelihood of recovery is better the sooner you get treatment.
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Why The Conventional Approach To Fatigue Misses The Mark
So many serious illnesses begin with fatigue, so if you tell your physician thats becoming a concern for you, its very likely theyll run some tests particularly if youre young, like Daniela is. Unfortunately, however, many conventional doctors think that being tired is a natural part of aging, so theyll dismiss fatigue in older patients.
I strongly disagree and rely on test results to guide my approach to treating fatigue. And unlike many conventional tests that are looking only for disease, I pay attention to the big picture. For instance, if you have test results on the very top or bottom of the normal range, I recognize that even though you dont have a specific disease, you probably arent entirely healthy either. I know how quickly those numbers can change, and I also know how important it is to compare results over timewhat is YOUR normal, not just the normal.
This is especially true with fatigue. So many women with fatigue have test results considered normal but are quite far away from ideal results.
Thats why I pay such close attention to clients who complain about consistently feeling tired. If fatigue is constant, their bodies clearly need more support, regardless of what the tests say. Living with exhaustion is not an acceptable way to live long term.
What Are The More Serious Causes Of Unexplained Fatigue In Women
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes patients to suffer frequent interruptions to their normal sleep cycles, only they are completely unaware of the problem. Often the only clue a person is suffering from sleep apnea is the fact that they still feel tired despite believing they have had plenty of sleep. Sleep apnea can lead to an increased risk of heart disease and strokes, and is therefore a serious condition that will require treatment.
An undiagnosed heart condition can also cause unexplained fatigue in women, especially if ordinary activities cause extreme tiredness for no apparent reason. If heart disease runs in the family, or there are other known risk factors such as smoking or weight issues, a checkup will probably be carried out to rule out the possibility of cardiovascular disease.
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