Fatigue Causes: #4anxiety And Depression
Mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, the most common mental health disorders in the United States, either cause or are strongly associated with fatigue and daytime sleepiness. The majority of people with depression suffer from fatigue.
In fact, fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of depression that patients complain to their healthcare providers about. In one recent study, more than 90 percent of patients with major depression had severe fatigue despite the fact that more than 80 percent of these patients were already taking antidepressant medications. Depression-related fatigue is often associated with impaired concentration, irritability, and reduced productivity.
Fight Fatigue By Finding The Cause
- By Kay Cahill Allison, Former Editor, Harvard Health
Feeling tired? If so, its not surprising. Fatigue is one of the most common problems people report to their doctors. The Health and Retirement Study of more than 17 million older people ages 51 and up reported recently that 31% said they feel fatigued.
Fatigue is a symptom, not a disease. Different people experience it in different ways. The tiredness you feel at the end of a long day or after a time zone change might feel similar to that resulting from an illness. But fatigue from stress or lack of sleep usually subsides after a good nights rest, while disease-related lethargy is more persistent and may be debilitating even after restful sleep.
If you feel unaccountably fatigued, make an appointment to see your doctor, especially if you feel so weary that you cant do your regular activities as well or as often as you once did. Fatigue is a symptom of many illnesses, so try to describe your symptoms in detail to help your doctor narrow down the possible causes. How, exactly, does the fatigue feel to you? Do you have trouble concentrating? Does your body tire more quickly? Answers to these questions indicate how severe your fatigue is and whether it mainly involves muscle fatigue, brain fatigue, or both.
Medical conditions that cause fatigue. Once youve described your symptoms, your doctor may want to do some tests to rule out underlying causes listed here. Conditions that cause fatigue include:
What Are The Main Causes Of Constant Fatigue
When Dr. Winter sees patients who say theyre tired all the time, he often tries to distinguish whether theyre sleepy or fatigued. Sleepiness is pretty easyits a defined group of problems, he says. But if theyre talking about fatigue, you could make a list a mile long of what could be causing it.
When Yvonne Bohn, M.D., an ob-gyn at Providence Saint Johns Health Center in Santa Monica, hears her patients talking about extreme fatigue, she starts asking questions about certain lifestyle factors first. Sleep, stress, and diet can have a huge influence on how some people feel, she tells SELF.
If those types of factorslike using your phone too much before bed, or recent life events such as caring for a new baby or training for a marathonare ruled out, shell typically do a blood panel to dig a bit deeper. Remember, constant fatigue is a symptom, so it can be a sign of a health issue. Here are a few culprits that may easily fly under the radar:
Sleep apneaa condition in which you intermittently stop and start breathing while sleepingis a particularly common sleep disorder to pay special attention to, as the symptoms are often missed. Even though it is estimated that up to 1 in 15 people have moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea, researchers believe that 85% of people with clinically significant symptoms have never been diagnosed.1
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Causes Symptoms Diagnosis Treatment And Support
Endless energy, unexplained weight lossthe initial symptoms of an overactive thyroid are often seen as good symptoms. Thats why hyperthyroidism is one of the most underdiagnosed endocrine conditions. But if left unchecked, it can lead to serious complications. Were here to empower you with clear answers to all your hyperthyroid questions.
In This Article:
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When Should You Seek Medical Advice
If you are feeling fatigued rather often and you cannot pinpoint the reason, you must make an appointment to visit your doctor. Fatigue can sometimes be caused by a serious medical condition.
If you notice any unnerving symptoms, please visit your nearest hospital immediately. Some examples are:
- Unexplained bleeding
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Why Its Important To See A Doctor About Constant Fatigue
Sure, many health conditions can lead to overwhelming fatigue, but so can being super overwhelmed by work for months or going through a period of grief that screws with your sleep.
However, if this exhaustion comes out of nowhere or doesnt get better when you take the time to relax and catch up on sleep, especially if it lasts for at least six months, thats when you should consider seeing your primary care doctor. Whether its an undiagnosed condition or the result of lifestyle factors that need an overhaul, they can help you get to the bottom of it or refer you to a specialist if needed. If its interfering with you getting your usual activities done, its a day-in and day-out problem, and you dont feel restored after a good nights sleep, thats a problem, Dr. Kane says.
Youll also want to seek help ASAP if sudden fatigue develops alongside these symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic:
- chest pain
- feeling like you might pass out
- severe abdominal, pelvic, or back pain
- thoughts of harming yourself or someone else
- abnormal bleeding, including bleeding from your rectum or vomiting blood
- severe headache
Fact: A Short Nap Is The Best Solution
According to the National Sleep Foundation, pulling over for a short nap is the most effective way to restore alertness on the road. Park in a safe, well-lit area. Set your watch or phone to wake you up in 15. Then let yourself really wake up before you get back on the road. Longer naps can increase grogginess and disorientation. If you plan to nap longer than half an hour, it may be best to stop for the night.
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The Doctor May Examine You
The doctor may check your weight and height, if it seems relevant. You may not be examined, as it may depend on your answers to some of the questions above however, the doctor may think it relevant to:
- Check your lymph glands to see if they are enlarged.
- Check your thyroid gland to see if it is enlarged.
- Look at your eyes to see if you might be anaemic.
- Listen to your chest and feel your tummy and the organs in your tummy.
- Check your joints for swelling or inflammation.
- Check the strength of your arms and/or legs.
- Ask you for a sample of your urine to check for sugar or infection.
Questions You May Be Asked
These are to help give some clues about the cause of the tiredness, and may include:
- Do you have any other symptoms?
- Sleep: Do you sleep well? Is your sleep interrupted? Do you snore? Has your partner noticed any changes to your breathing at night?
- Mood: Do you feel low, or more worried than usual? Are you under any stress? You may be asked to complete a specific questionnaire about your mood.
- Has your weight changed?
- Do you have heavy periods?
- How much alcohol do you drink?
- Are you on any medication?
- Can you remember when this started? Did it start suddenly and can you date it from a particular date, event, holiday or illness? Or did it come on more gradually?
- How is the tiredness affecting you in your everyday life?
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Treatment Of Normal Fatigue
If one has fatigue from any of the things that cause it listed above, you don’t have to be a doctor to understand that if you eliminate the cause, then this should remedy the problem. In other words, if you are not getting enough sleep, then get enough by trying to be regular in time of retiring and getting up. If you are doing too much to too little then do the opposite. For example, moderate exercise on a regular basis is a very good treatment for couch potato syndrome. If medicines are the problem, talk to your physician about substitutions with a medicine that does not cause fatigue in you. Today there are often many good medicines that can be used for treatment of a medical problem that vary in their degree of side effects, especially drowsiness.
Not Eating Enough Calories
Consuming too few calories can cause feelings of exhaustion.
Calories are units of energy found in food. Your body uses them to move and fuel processes like breathing and maintaining a constant body temperature.
When you eat too few calories, your metabolism slows down in order to conserve energy, potentially causing fatigue.
Your body can function within a range of calories depending on your weight, height, age and other factors.
However, most people require a minimum of 1,200 calories per day to prevent a metabolic slowdown.
Experts on aging believe that although metabolism decreases with age, older people may need to eat at the top of their calorie range in order to perform normal functions without becoming fatigued .
In addition, its difficult to meet your vitamin and mineral needs when calorie intake is too low. Not getting enough vitamin D, iron and other important nutrients can also lead to fatigue.
Your body requires a minimum number of calories in order to perform daily functions. Consuming too few calories can lead to fatigue and make it difficult to meet nutrient needs.
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How Can I Help My Child
To help your child cope with the emotional symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome:
- Encourage your child to keep a daily diary to identify times when he or she has the most energy and help plan activities for these times.
- Have your doctor plan an exercise program to maintain strength at whatever level is possible. This can help your child feel better physically and emotionally.
- Help your child to recognize and express feelings, such as sadness, anger, and frustration. Its OK to grieve the loss of energy.
- Get support from family and friends because emotional health is important when coping with a chronic health problem.
- Allow more time for your child to do things, especially activities that take concentration or physical exertion.
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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Does Your Lifestyle Need A Tweak
First off, ask yourself this: Do you treat your body right?
“If you aren’t getting good sleep, it’s hard to eat well, and it’s hard to exercise. And the same is true the other way around. They’re all related.”
If you’ve checked all those boxes and you still drag through your days, it might be time to check possible medical causes of fatigue.
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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How Much Sleep Do People Need
It varies, but on average studies say we need at least 7 to 9 hours every day. Studies have reported that most night shift workers get about 5 to 7 hours less sleep per week than the day shift. Humans follow an “internal” or “biological clock” cycle of sleep, wakefulness, and alertness. Although these circadian rhythms are influenced by external clues such as the sun setting and rising, it is the brain that sets your pattern. Most cycles are 23-25 hours long and there are natural dips or periods when you feel tired or less alert – even for those who are well-rested.
Your Thyroid Could Explain Your Fatigue And Other Symptoms
But hypothyroidism may not be the only explanation for your health symptoms.
1 in 4 people on levothyroxine take too much.
One morning in 2011, Cathy Newman woke up in a stupor. It was like a hangover minus the alcohol, says the now-34-year-old assistant professor of biology at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. She tried to sleep it off, but fatigue dogged her like a shadow. Shed been sluggish from stress and work before, but this was differenther exhaustion went bone-deep.
After blood tests for mononucleosis, anemia, and thyroid-stimulating hormone all came back normal, Newman settled into a diminished version of her old life: Since childhood she had been a focused, ambitious morning person now her thinking was fuzzy, her motivation flagged, and she had to drag herself from bed.
But Newman had her thyroid checked twice more, and in 2014, the results put her in the range for mild, also known as subclinical, hypothyroidism. Her thyroidthe butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the throat that governs how the bodys cells use energydidnt seem to be producing enough thyroid hormone to keep her metabolism functioning normally.
Women are 5 to 8 times more inclined than men to develop thyroid problems.
These days, you hear a lot about the thyroid, especially if youre a woman . Its the likely cause of your weight gain, exhaustion, and thinning hair, not to mention your persistent malaise.
Or so many people believe.
But is medication the right answer?
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B12 Deficiency Or Insufficiency
Getting enough vitamin B12 is crucial for brain health, your immune system, and your metabolism. As we age, though, our ability to absorb B12 declines. Fatigue is one of the first signs of B12 deficiency,Lisa Cimperman, RD, told Prevention in a previous interview about B12 deficiency symptoms. Certain diabetes and heartburn medications and digestive disorders like IBS and Crohn’s hinder your body’s ability to absorb B12. And if you follow a plant-based diet, you also have an increased risk, since B12 occurs naturally only in meat, eggs, shellfish, and dairy.
The symptoms: In addition to fatigue, you may be low on B12 if you’re experiencing bouts of tingling in hands and feet, memory lapses, dizziness, anxiety, and vision problems.
The tests: If your doctor expects you’re low on B12, you’ll undergo a simple blood test.
The treatments:Depending on your blood test results, your doctor may suggest working more dietary sources of B12 into your eating plan or taking a vitamin B12 supplement.
The Impact Of Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, is when the thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone. In a lot of ways, its the opposite of hypothyroidism. Instead of causing a slow metabolism, hyperthyroidism can cause the metabolism to operate too quickly, making it difficult to gain and retain weight. Instead of feeling depressed, you may feel anxious or nervous with hyperthyroidism. You might also experience heart palpitations, difficulties with sleeping or tolerating heat, and muscle weakness. Anxiety is the most common mental health concern caused by hyperthyroidism, with 60% of hyperthyroidism patients reporting it. However, hyperthyroidism can also occasionally cause depressive symptoms, especially among elderly people. People with hyperthyroidism can also develop a large thyroid, or goiter, in the neck. It may also lead to Graves ophthalmopathy, which causes the eyes to bulge out of their sockets. If you notice any of these symptoms, its important to contact your doctor for further evaluation.
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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.”
Know When To Say ‘enough’
Rather than lying in bed tossing and turning, you could get up and watch television or read a book. Wait until you feel tired again and then go back to bed. Audiotapes with stories may help you to sleep, and are stocked in most bookshops and libraries.
Mental exercises can also help you to sleep. These usually take about 10 minutes and include:
- trying to remember the lines of a song or poem
- making alphabetical lists of girls or boys names, countries, trees or flowers
- reliving a favourite experience in every detail
- writing a letter in your head
- relaxation exercises
Your body will still get some benefit from lying quietly in bed resting, even if you are not actually asleep. Although you may feel as if you have been awake all night, you may well have managed to have several hours of good quality sleep.
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