Fatigue often indicates an underlying health problem. With all of life’s challenges, nearly everyone gets tired. It’s when symptoms become chronic that your health can become compromised. Fatigue often indicates an underlying health problem.
The cause of being tired can be identified. Maybe you had a longer workout, or attended a business function that had too much alcohol and you went to bed later than your normal time. In these cases, it will pass within a few days. However, chronic fatigue lasts for an extended period, usually more than a month. When you have chronic fatigue, you may lack motivation and have difficulty with concentration. If you are experiencing these symptoms, a visit to your primary care physician can help get to the root of the problem.
What Causes Fatigue?
There are many causes. Sleep disorders or poor sleeping habits are big attributors. You should generally get seven to eight hours of sleep every night. But are you getting quality sleep? Sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome may be keeping you awake. Plus, illnesses such as a cold or the flu can cause fatigue.
Fatigue can indicate a more serious medical issue. Are there changes in your appetite? Are you experiencing weight loss or weight gain? Do you have enlarged lymph nodes? Or do you have a cough, pain, or fever? These are things that may point to an infection or a more serious cause of fatigue.
Thyroid disorders, such as an under active thyroid gland, can leave someone feeling tired. Anemia and other blood disorders can also deplete your energy. Even everyday stress can interrupt sleep and take away your energy if it isn’t managed properly. Fatigue can also be from a psychiatric disorder, particularly depression or anxiety which lasts for six months or longer.
Relief for Fatigue
Treatment for fatigue depends on the cause. But in most cases, there’s an effective way to help the patient. If lack of sleep is the problem, you may want to remove your TV or phone from the bedroom. There are studies that say the light that comes from your TV or mobile phone can interrupt your ability to sleep.
You should avoid exercise an hour before to going to sleep. However, there are benefits to exercising earlier in the day. Thirty minutes of cardiovascular exercise three to four times a week can help you maintain normal sleep cycles.
A healthy diet can also help with sleeplessness. Try eating a well-balanced diet, don’t drink too much alcohol or caffeine, and drink plenty of water. You should also avoid sugar and heavy carbohydrate meals. These cause fatigue after your blood glucose level spikes and then plummets.
Visiting a Physician
A physician will look for patterns during an office visit. He or she will ask if the symptoms come on suddenly, or have they been more gradual? Are your fatigue symptoms getting better or worse? A complete medical history will help with your diagnosis. You physician may also want to do a thorough physical examination, including a blood test to check for anemia, diabetes or inflammatory diseases. It is important to make sure illness isn’t the source of the problem.
Fatigue can impact more than just your energy level. It can have a negative impact on your daily quality of life. If you can’t concentrate, your ability to focus at work will be affected. Your everyday duties may take longer and deadlines may be missed. You may also find it harder to stick to your usual exercise routine, which could lead to weight gain.