Sunday, June 9, 2024

Why Do I Feel So Much Fatigue

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How Is Fatigue Managed

Why do we feel tired after a good night’s sleep? – Dr. Sulata Shenoy

Making sure you have good quality sleep can help you manage fatigue. Ensure you go to bed at the same time each night and stick to healthy sleep habits.

Eating a healthy diet and doing regular physical activity will also help improve your sleep and lessen fatigue. Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables avoid junk food and try to avoid alcohol and caffeine since these can affect your sleep.

If you have fatigue, talk to your doctor about whether it is safe to drive or carry out your normal work duties.

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.

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.

In order to keep your energy levels up, avoid drastic cuts in calorie intake, even if your goal is weight loss. You can calculate your calorie needs using the calorie calculator in this article.

SUMMARY:

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.

Also Check: How Do You Cure Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

When Should I See A Doctor For Fatigue

If you’ve been tired for several weeks with no relief, it may be time to call your healthcare provider. He or she will ask questions about your sleep, daily activities, appetite, and exercise and will likely give you a physical exam and order lab tests.

Your treatment will be based on your history and the results of your exam and lab tests. Your doctor may prescribe medications to target underlying health problems, such as anemia or irregular thyroid activity. He or she may suggest that you eat a well-balanced diet and begin an exercise program.

Heart Attack Or Stroke

Why Am I So Tired After Meals?

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.

Warning

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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Youve Been More Sedentary Than Usual

While going hard during your at-home workouts can wear you out, the opposite is true too. The human body gets more tired with progressive sedentary habits due to generalized deconditioning of the body and, ultimately, muscle loss, says Sobia Khan, MD, assistant professor of general internal medicine and Director of Women’s Center for Comprehensive Care at Baylor College of Medicine.

Basically, your body takes a use it or lose it approach to fitness. And, if you dont exercise regularly, youre going to feel more tired when you actually do start moving, and during the time when you’re not expending energy.

How to fix it: This solution is pretty simpleget moving more. Just a reminder, the general physical activity recommendation is that you get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week, along with two or more days a week of muscle-strengthening activity. Once you start moving again, itll be easier to get through your day-to-day stuff without being a zombie.

What Helps Me Manage My Fatigue

Expect you or a loved one may develop post-COVID fatigue, regardless of how unwell you or they were during the actual infection.

Vaccines help reduce the risk of post-COVID fatigue by lowering the chance of catching COVID in the first place. Vaccinated people who do catch COVID are less likely to report fatigue and are less likely to develop long COVID.

However, vaccination is not 100% protective and there are plenty of fully vaccinated people who go on to develop longer term fatigue.

The evidence for what helps you recover from post-COVID fatigue is in its infancy. However, a few things do help:

1. pace yourself: adjust the return to normal activities to your energy levels. Choose your priorities and focus on what you can do rather than what you cant

2. return to exercise gradually: a gradual return to exercise may help your recovery, but you may need some support about how to manage or avoid fatigue afterwards. Some therapists occupational therapists, physiotherapists and exercise physiologists specialise in this. So ask your GP for a recommendation

3. prioritise sleep: rather than feeling guilty about sleeping so much, remind yourself that while you sleep, your body conserves energy and heals. Disrupted sleep patterns are an unfortunate COVID symptom. Having a strict bedtime, while also resting when you feel tired during the day, is important

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An Underlying Health Problem

Depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder and going through menopause can all make you feel tired, fed up and sluggish as well as disrupt your sleeping pattern.

People who have SAD need a lot of sunshine to boost their mood and energy levels, so much so that many buy light boxes to simulate sunshine during the winter. And if you suffer from depression or are struggling with the symptoms of the menopause there are natural ways you can boost your energy levels which will make you feel happier, more awake and help you cope with all that the menopause might throw at you!

There are other health problems which can make you tired too. These include Restless Leg Syndrome, hypothyroidism, diabetes, high and low blood pressure and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Talk to your doctor or health provider if you are concerned.

If youre feeling tired for longer than a couple of weeks, see your GP, says Dr Shah.

As soon as you notice any change in your appetite, you feel pain, notice blood in your stools or urine, or are worried about any other symptoms, go and see your doctor.

Cancer Can Also Be A Cause Of Tiredness And Low Energy

Why you’re always tired

Another one to add to the category of unlikely, but worth knowing. Cancer-related fatigue is incredibly common: At least 80 percent of people diagnosed with cancer experience it, according to the American Cancer Society . While people can experience fatigue from cancer treatments, they can also feel wiped out from the cancer itself. Cancer leads to fatigue by various mechanisms, explains Dr. Khan. It overtakes almost all the metabolic pathways and sabotages the mitochondrial energy of the body, she says.

How to fix it: Don’t freak out that you have a serious health issue. But know that getting a proper diagnosis is important and, from there, proper treatment is needed to target the health issue, including a specific type of cancer. That’s why seeing your doctor to rule out a serious issue is key if you haven’t been able to shake your tiredness for a prolonged period.

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You May Be Experiencing Depression

While there is no one reason that people experience depression, the effects it takes on ones mental health tend to be multifactorial and are affected by a combination of various biological, psychological, and social factors, Dr. Singh. It can be a cause or contributor of why you feel tired all the time.

Depression not only affects our mood, but it also affects our ability to concentrate and obtain restful sleep, he says. can lead to a vicious cycle no matter which came first, fatigue can lead to or worsen depression which, in turn, can lead to or worsen fatigue.

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.

Also Check: Can Fatigue Be A Sign Of Cancer

You Have An Issue With Gluten

In case youre not familiar with it, gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. In some people, gluten damages the small intestine and causes symptoms like bloating, diarrhea, constipation, gas, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, and yep, fatigue, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases .

Celiac disease can also cause long-term digestive issues and keep you from getting the nutrients you need, and in turn, cause ongoing fatigue.

How to fix it: Celiac disease can be a tricky one to diagnose, but after doing a physical exam, your doctor may recommend you take a blood test and undergo an intestinal biopsy to look for inflammation in your small intestine. If you are diagnosed with Celiac disease, youll need to avoid foods containing gluten in the future.

When To See A Doctor About Being Tired All The Time

Why Am I So Extremely 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.

Read Also: How Do They Test For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

What Factors Contribute To Ra Fatigue

There are a lot of things that can contribute to fatigue. Among these are pain and inflammation and to the point that a biologic reduces those, fatigue can also diminish. However, other things can cause fatigue such as depression and sleeplessness which biologics do not address. Nor can biologics or other treatments reverse permanent joint damage which can cause pain which can cause fatigue directly or lead to sleeplessness or depression which, in turn, can contribute to fatigue.

Interestingly, some of the medications used to treat RA and associated conditions, also contribute to fatigue via having drowsiness as a side effect. These include certain antidepressants, pain medications, NSAIDs, some DMARDs and antihistamines. While drug-induced drowsiness is not truly fatigue, being drowsy or fuzzy-headed can aggravate the symptoms of fatigue.

Is It Like Long Covid

Early in the pandemic, we realised some patients had a cluster of debilitating symptoms that dragged on for months, which we now call long COVID.

Some 85% of long COVID patients experience fatigue, making it one of the most common long COVID symptoms.

However, people with long COVID have a range of other symptoms, such as brain fog, headaches and muscle aches. Patients with long COVID therefore experience more than fatigue, and sometimes dont have fatigue at all.

We knew about chronic fatigue syndrome, otherwise known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, well before COVID.

This often develops after a viral infection . So, understandably, there has been concern around the coronavirus potentially triggering chronic fatigue syndrome.

Read more:Explainer: what is chronic fatigue syndrome?

There are striking similarities between chronic fatigue syndrome and long COVID. Both involve debilitating fatigue, brain fog and/or muscle aches.

But at this stage, researchers are still untangling any link between post-COVID fatigue, long COVID and chronic fatigue syndrome.

For now, we know many people will have post-COVID fatigue but thankfully do not go on to develop long COVID or chronic fatigue syndrome.

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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.

What Am I Eating And Drinking

Why Am I So Tired? Understanding Extreme Fatigue

What you eat and drink can affect how tired you feel. If you dont get enough vitamins and minerals in your diet, or enough glucose in your blood, this can make you feel tired, lack energy and feel foggy.

Not having enough iron in your blood can cause fatigue. This is called Iron deficiency. It may be that youre not getting enough iron in your diet. If you have periods or are pregnant, you can have a higher chance of iron deficiency. Speak to your GP who may arrange a blood test and iron tablets.

Drinks containing caffeine may interfere with your sleep and make you feel tired the next day. And if you drink alcohol in the evenings, this can wake you during the night. Eating a healthy balanced diet and keeping well hydrated may help you to feel less tired.

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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.

Testing And Further Diagnosis For Fatigue

The other types of questions are a bit harder for both the patient and the doctor to use as clues because if the patient responds positively, often the physician will need some additional testing is done to uncover or clarify an answer. If you have a primary physician, that doctor should already have most of these questions partly or fully answered. However, the primary care doctor may not have these answers if you see multiple physicians, have not seen your doctor “…in quite a while…” or you are seeing a physician for the first appointment. Examples of such questions include:

  • Did fatigue develop gradually or quickly?
  • Do you have a history of diabetes, thyroid, or other medical problems in your family?
  • Have you had a recent illness ?
  • Have you traveled outside of the U.S.?
  • What is your surgical history ?
  • What are the current medications you take, their dose and frequency?
  • Have you had any medical tests performed recently and what were the results?

Answers to these questions can lead to clues and further tests for underlying causes of fatigue that stem from:

  • metabolism or hormonal problems ,
  • heart or lung problems .

These diseases listed between parentheses are only a few examples of the major categories of diseases and other fatigue problems that can stem from underlying diseases such as cancer, autoimmune diseases, and even therapy such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

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Being Overweight Or Underweight

Overweight increases the risk of fatigue by increasing the risk of conditions that have fatigue as a common symptom, such as diabetes or sleep apnea.

Carrying more weight and experiencing joint or muscle pain can lead to or exacerbate fatigue.

Similarly, people with underweight may tire easily, depending on the cause of their condition. Eating disorders, cancer, chronic diseases, and an overactive thyroid can all cause weight loss, as well as excessive tiredness and fatigue.

How Active Am I During The Day

Why Am I Always So Sleepy, No Matter How Much Sleep I Get?

You may feel youre too tired to exercise. But being active during the day actually helps you feel less tired and improves the quality of your sleep. Try starting with a small amount of exercise, then build it up so you get the benefits of regular activity. Choose something you enjoy. Exercising with friends or family, or joining a group, might help you to stay motivated. But dont over exercise, as this can make you more tired. And try not to exercise in the four hours before you go to bed. It can be difficult to go to sleep so soon after exercising.

Regular exercise has benefits foreveryone.

This information is based on the UK recommendations for adults.

You’d be surprised just how many benefits there are, and the good news is it can beas easy as getting off the bus a little earlier. Introduce active habits to yourday and you’ll be well on your way.

So what are the benefits of regularexercise? Regular exercise is great for the heart, reducing your risk of a strokeand cutting your chance of cardiovascular disease by a third. Whynot take a lunchtime walk, leave your car at home or up your walking pace whenyou’re out and about? Regular exercise keeps your muscles,bones and joints strong and functioning well, but also helps prevent falls andfractures. Try doing exercises that strengthen your bones and muscles twicea week. Exercise burns calories and helps to maintain a healthy weight which inturn reduces your risk of many health problems.

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