Fatigue As A Symptom Of Underlying Conditions
So what are some common questions you may hear your doctor ask that gives clues to the underlying causes of fatigue? The first set of questions may lead to some frequently seen causes of fatigue:
- Are you possibly pregnant?
- Have you started a new exercise or diet program?
- Does any recent work change like extended hours or night shifts?
- Any new stress ?
- Are you taking any new medications?
- Do you get tired at certain times ?
- Any use of illegal or un-prescribed drugs, herbal products, or other supplements?
The answers can give the patient and their doctor some insight into three major categories of problems that can have fatigue as a symptom:
In addition, such questions can provide insight into short-term normal fatigue such as bereavement, exercise, or changes in normal activity.
Fatigue Causes: #3hormone Imbalances
Fatigue may result from low or imbalanced levels of common hormones such as thyroid, testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. Low thyroid hormone levels resulting from autoimmune thyroid disease is one of the most common hormone-related disorders, and fatigue is the main symptom of hypothyroidism. In women, menopausal symptoms such as night sweats are notorious for causing fatigue , while in men testosterone deficiency as a cause of fatigue is now being recognized more than ever before.
The Difference Between Counseling And Psychotherapy
Although the terms counseling and therapy are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between psychotherapy and psychological counseling. Counseling focuses on specific issues and is designed to help a person address a particular problem, such as addiction or stress management. The focus may be on problem solving or on learning specific techniques for coping with or avoiding problem areas. Counseling is also usually more short-term than therapy.
Psychotherapy is more long-term than counseling and focuses on a broader range of issues. The underlying principle is that a person’s patterns of thinking and behavior affect the way that person interacts with the world. Depending on the specific type of psychotherapy that is being used, the goal is to help people feel better equipped to manage stress, understand patterns in their behavior that may interfere with reaching personal goals, have more satisfying relationships, and better regulate their thinking and emotional responses to stressful situations. If someone has a form of mental illness such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or an anxiety disorder, psychotherapy also addresses ways in which the illnesses affects their daily life, focuses on how to best understand the illness and manage its symptoms and follow medical recommendations.
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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.
Physical Causes Of Tiredness
There are several health conditions that can make you feel tired or exhausted.
Tiredness can also be the result of:
- pregnancy particularly in the first 12 weeks
- being overweight or obese your body has to work harder to do everyday activities
- being underweight poor muscle strength can make you tire more easily
- cancer treatments, such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy
- carbon monoxide poisoning especially if your gas boiler has not been serviced regularly
- side effects of medicines and some herbal remedies
If you have been feeling constantly tired for more than 4 weeks, it’s a good idea to see your GP so they can confirm or rule out a medical condition that could be causing your tiredness.
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Why You Might Be Tired All The Time
Before you see a GP, you may want to work out how you became tired in the first place.
It can be helpful to think about:
- parts of your life, such as work and family, that might be particularly tiring
- any events that may have triggered your tiredness, such as bereavement or a relationship break-up
- how your lifestyle may be making you tired
A GP will look at the following causes of tiredness:
- psychological causes
Psychological causes of tiredness are much more common than physical causes.
Most psychological causes lead to poor sleep or insomnia, both of which cause daytime tiredness.
Psychological causes include:
What’s Really Causing Your Fatigue
You got a full eight hours but are still exhausted what’s the deal? Finding out what’s causing your fatigue can be challenging. In fact, getting to the bottom of what’s behind a patient’s exhaustion is among the hardest questions primary care doctors answer, Cory Fisher, DO, who specializes in family medicine at Cleveland Clinic, tells Health. Here, you’ll find a list of the conditions most often associated with fatigue, plus lifestyle habits that can contribute to the problem.
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Common Causes Of Chronic Fatigue
How does it feel to have limitations on your daily activities? It may imply a negative impact on how we perceive our lifestyle. Every day, there are habits that people often forget to recheck. Significantly, working day and night without having a good sleep can lead to one of the causes of chronic fatigue. Doctors often suggest that stretching, strength training, and anaerobic exercises can stop these causes. People that want to enhance their endurance and flexibility should go to this site . Improving your core and ensuring that your heart rate is stable defeats the chances of chronic fatigue. Yet, be careful with how you work out and read more information regarding the causes of chronic fatigue.
When To See A Doctor About Being Tired All The Time
While making certain lifestyle tweaks could help with your fatigue, its unlikely to do much if youre struggling with an underlying health condition. In those situations, youll need to seek help from a medical professional.
Of course, that can be tricky to detect on your own. So, when should you seek medical attention? If fatigue is persistent, and it is disrupting daily tasks, work productivity, or limiting your participation in enjoyable activities, it may be time to speak to your doctor, Dr. Waters says.
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When To See Your Doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor if lifestyle changes and better sleep habits arent helping you. You should also talk to your doctor if your sleepiness is accompanied by the symptoms of the conditions listed above or if you have other concerns about your health.
Your doctor can perform tests depending on what they think might be causing your exhaustion. It may be helpful for you to keep a sleep diary to give your doctor a full picture of your nighttime habits. Be sure to include when you fall asleep and wake up, how often you wake at night, and any other symptoms you feel are worth noting.
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.
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Fatigue Cause 2 Nutritional Deficiencies
Iron-deficiency and B12-deficiency are common causes of fatigue. Iron is necessary to produce hemoglobin, a protein that delivers oxygen to your cells. If your cells do not receive enough oxygen, your body has to work significantly harder, which can leave you feeling exhausted.
Vitamin B12 is a cofactor in your energy pathways, meaning that if you dont produce enough of it, your body will have trouble producing enough energy for daily functions. Furthermore, if you have one or more MTHFR mutation , your ability to convert B12 to its active form is reduced.
You can combat these nutritional deficiencies with a diet high in quality animal protein and colorful vegetables. I also recommend adding iron or B12 supplements. And if you have one or more MTHFR mutations, I also recommend a Methylation Support supplement to fight these causes of fatigue.
Fatigue Causes: #5sedentary Lifestyle And Deconditioning
Being highly sedentary increases the risk of chronic fatigue. Not getting enough exercise and physical activity causes deconditioning of the bodys musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems and depresses mood, all of which lead to fatigue. Studies show that the more regular physical activity you get, the more likely you are to feel energetic.
Exercise has been shown to help reverse fatigue associated with all kinds of medical conditions, from cancer to autoimmune diseases to depression.
To overcome fatigue, break the cycle of a sedentary lifestyle and start a regular exercise program
So if youre feeling sleepy all the time, which of the above fatigue causes might apply to you? You may need to engage the services of a qualified integrative physician to help you sort through the various fatigue causes, run the necessary tests, and develop a strategy that deals with the root cause of your persistent tiredness. Understanding the root causes, as we hear so often, is the first step to recovery.
Originally published in 2012, this post is regularly updated.
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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.
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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Sleep Disorders And Fatigue
Symptoms: Chronic fatigue, feeling exhausted upon awakening, snoring
Sleep disorders are a group of conditions that disrupt or prevent restful, restorative sleep. That can take a toll on your health and quality of life, so its important to look out for signs and symptoms.
Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders. If you or your partner notices loud snoring and you wake up tired and stay that way, you could have sleep apnea. More than one-third of adults in the U.S. snore at least a few nights a week. But if the snoring stops your breathing for seconds at a time, it could be sleep apnea. Learn more about the best sleep positions and see if sleeping on your stomach is bad or not.
Obstructive sleep apnea causes low blood oxygen levels. That’s because blockages prevent air from getting to the lungs. The low oxygen levels also affect how well your heart and brain work. Sometimes, the only clue that you might have sleep apnea is chronic fatigue.
Your doctor may prescribe a medical device called CPAP that helps keep your airways open while you sleep. In severe cases of sleep apnea, surgery may help. The surgeon will remove tissues that are blocking the airways. If left untreated, sleep apnea can increase your risk of a stroke or heart attack.
But sleep apnea is just one of many sleep disorders that cause fatigue. Other common types include:
Erratic Or Changing Sleep Patterns
Another common cause of fatigue is simply not getting enough sleep. Your teen may have lots of homework that keeps them up late during the week, and/or have to wake up early. On weekends they may go to bed even later and then not feel like getting up until noon on Saturday and Sunday.
These changes in sleep pattern, coupled with stress during the week, can lead to fatigue.
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What Can I Do To Help My Recovery
During your recovery, it is important to find the right levels of activity for you to avoid severe symptoms, but remain healthy. When in the recovery process you will need to listen to your body. You may have some setbacks but getting the right balance is important to avoid de-conditioning even further.
Can Fatigue Be Prevented
Fatigue as a symptom can occur as the result of many causes and therefore, prevention is not an issue. More importantly, the early recognition of fatigue will allow a person to seek medical care and potentially have an earlier diagnosis of the underlying cause made.
Sometimes, symptoms like fatigue arise gradually and it is difficult for the person to realize that there is a problem. It may take an outside perspective from a friend or family member to appreciate a difference in function. Self-awareness of gradual decline in body performance is often difficult as a person makes repeated small accommodations to complete daily activities.
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What Causes Muscle Fatigue
ByWill McAuleypublished 7 May 22
Want to keep your performance high? Heres what causes muscle fatigue and how to avoid it
To understand what causes muscle fatigue, its worth looking at what exactly muscle fatigue is. If you exercise regularly, you may be familiar with the sensation of a dull ache in your muscles or experienced a feeling of tiredness or lack of energy that makes it hard to complete your usual daily tasks. But its not just exercise that can cause muscle fatigue, several health conditions also list muscle fatigue as a common symptom.
A study in the Journal of Physiology defines muscle fatigue as a transient or temporary decrease in the capacity to perform physical actions. More specifically, muscle fatigue describes any reduction in the force or power that the muscles can produce, which develops soon after the onset of physical activity.
You will surely have experienced this in your own life – whether in a reduction in your running speed, your strength when lifting weights, or simply in that you find it more difficult to sustain the same level of performance. Not only can it be frustrating struggling to maintain a given level of output, but fatigue-induced decreases in performance can lead to worse training adaptations, as shown by a study from the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance.
Your Doctor May Also:
- take your sleep history, including how much sleep you get each night, what the quality of your sleep is like, and whether you snore, wake or stop breathing in the night
- do a physical examination to check for signs of illness or disease
- carry out tests to rule out physical causes, such as blood and urine tests.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Fatigue
Fatigue can cause a wide range of symptoms.
- Physical: feeling tired all the time, headaches, lightheadedness, sore, aching or weak muscles, loss of appetite, prone to getting sick.
- Mental: slowed reflexes and responses, poor decision making and judgement, short-term memory problems, poor concentration.
- Emotional: moodiness, irritability, low motivation, feeling depressed and hopeless.
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 Sjogren’s disease, may also cause fatigue.
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Exercise Can Help Counter The Effects Of Fatigue
Exercise can often help relieve the effects of fatigue, especially more short-lived, acute forms of fatigue. Remaining physically active is important for patients with CFS, however, the approach to exercise must be individualized since exercise can cause the symptoms to become worse for some people. Other things that may help: better hydration, better diet, relaxation, and, of course, more rest and better sleep.
Caffeine and other stimulants may help fight fatigue in the short term, but longer-term, they may actually contribute to the problem.
Symptoms Of Chronic Fatigue
According to the Institute of Medicine of National Academies in the US, ME/CFS affects 836,000 to 2.5 million Americans since 2015. For this reason, early prevention and treatment for chronic fatigue can avoid this disease. If youre experiencing some of these chronic fatigue symptoms, it may be best to visit your local hospital right away.
- Unending body, joint, and muscle pain for more than six months
- Extreme exhaustion even after short periods of exercise
- Restless leg syndrome
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