All of us have felt tired or overworked at some point as a result of some physical or mental activity. The temporary tiredness can be connected to jet lag, lack of sleep, side effects of medications, lack of physical activity, or an unhealthy diet.
Nevertheless, unrelenting fatigue or exhaustion is more profound, and although it can appear at the same time with drowsiness, it is in fact different. If you suffer from fatigue, what you experience is persistent, unexplained, and relapsing exhaustion that doesn’t improve with rest.
In case you have ongoing fatigue or a constant lack of energy, the reason might be some health problems. The following 10 medical issues can be the reason for your ongoing fatigue and tiredness.
1. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is one of the main medical causes of fatigue.
It involves disabling and severe fatigue and tiredness which lasts for months. People with CFS can suffer from extreme fatigue even after some normal mental or physical activities, and sometimes it can last more than 24 hours. Rest won’t help in such instances.
Although the exact CFS causes are unknown, researchers consider that hypotension, viruses, hormonal imbalances, and a weakened immune system are contributing factors. People with CFS might find few treatment options and self-care measures helpful.
A team from King’s College London, Oxford University, and the Queen Mary University of London conducted a 2015 study that analyzed 4 potential treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome. According to the study, the best treatments were graded exercise therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.
One of the symptoms of all anemia types is fatigue. In cases of anemia, the levels of hemoglobin are low, and since hemoglobin is the chemical that carries oxygen in the bloodstream, its deficiency leads to constant tiredness and fatigue.
“Seminars in Oncology” has published a 2002 study that proves the strong link between anemia and fatigue. Along with fatigue, more symptoms of anemia are dizziness, shortness of breath, cold hands and feet, headaches, chest pain, and pale skin.
Check your blood to see if you have anemia since proper diagnosis and management are crucial for your general health.
3. Underactive Thyroid (Hypothyroidism)
People who suffer from thyroid disease, and an especially underactive thyroid, can have fatigue as a debilitating symptom.
This gland aids in the regulation of metabolism which in fact is the rate at which our organism uses energy. When the thyroid isn’t producing sufficient thyroid hormones, it leads to constant tiredness, fatigue, and low energy.
The European Journal of Endocrinology has published a 2012 study that tells that patients with autoimmune hypothyroidism had extremely higher fatigue levels in comparison with patients with differentiated thyroid carcinoma.
Besides fatigue, more symptoms of hypothyroidism are muscle soreness, dry skin, weight gain, increased sensitivity to cold, and hair loss. In case you have these symptoms, you should consult a doctor. A simple blood test can show if you have an underactive thyroid.
Diabetics often complain of tiredness and fatigue, which inhibits the performance of their everyday activities. Diabetes Care has published a 2014 study which shows that chronic fatigue is usual in patients with Diabetes Type 1.
Although the exact reason why diabetics feel so tired is not so clear, the assumption is that their body requires plenty of energy to deal with the continual changes in the sugar levels in the blood, leading to fatigue. Although they might eat properly and sleep sufficiently, weakness and fatigue might still occur.
Another common reason for musculoskeletal pain and chronic fatigue, especially in women, is fibromyalgia. This disorder affects the joints, muscles, and fibrous tissues. People suffering from this disorder have feelings of social withdrawal and depression, besides fatigue.
Arthritis Research and Therapy has published a 2013 study that proved that one of the most usual complaints among people with fibromyalgia is fatigue. Other symptoms of this disorder include painful tender points, deep muscle pain, depression, anxiety, and sleep problems.
In case you experience some of the mentioned symptoms, consult your doctor to prevent worsened conditions that might affect your life quality.
6. Multiple Sclerosis
This autoimmune disease known as MS affects the brain and spinal cord- the central nervous system. The immune system in people with MS attacks the insulating coating around nerve cells, called myelin. Women are more prone to multiple sclerosis than men.
A common symptom of multiple sclerosis is fatigue. In fact, about 80% of MS patients suffer from fatigue, as claimed by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, which can worsen in time. Humidity and heat can further aggravate the condition.
The Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research has published a 2008 study that claims that daytime fatigue, poor sleep quality, and restless legs syndrome are common in people with multiple sclerosis.
The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine has published a 2014 study which shows that obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep disturbances might be usual but under-recognized fatigue contributors in MS patients.
More MS symptoms include pain or tingling in parts of the body, weakness or numbness in one or more limbs, dizziness, and slurred speech. This disease is incurable, but you can slow its progression and lower the severity of its symptoms if diagnosed in time and properly treated.
Even if a person with depression gets enough sleep, s/he can still be very tired. Moreover, people who suffer from depression often experience sleep problems. Sleep problems of any kind can have effects on your energy levels. Over 350 million people worldwide, suffer from depression, as stated by WHO.
Psychiatry has published a 2004 study that proves that one of the common symptoms in people with depression is fatigue. The reason is that depression causes reduced production of different neurotransmitters, leading to chronic fatigue.
Depression and Anxiety have published a 2014 study which shows that fatigue diagnosis and treatment are poor which leads to more serious and longer depression. Depression can sometimes lead to suicide if untreated. If you have ongoing fatigue, and you feel hopeless, sad, helpless, and worthless, consult a doctor.
8. Glandular Fever
This viral infection known as infectious mononucleosis causes severe fatigue. More symptoms are loss of appetite, fever, sore throat, aching muscles, and swollen glands. Although the other symptoms of this viral infection last about a month, fatigue lasts for several months.
The Journal of Infectious Disease has published a 2007 study that says that the risk of either chronic fatigue syndrome or prolonged fatigue in this viral infection is 5 to 6 times that of any other usual infection on the respiratory tract. Consult your doctor if you think you might have glandular fever.
9. Sleep Apnea
This sleep disorder can cause daytime tiredness and fatigue, and it’s characterized by interrupted or stopped breathing while sleeping. It happens as a result of narrowed or blocked airways in your nose, throat, or mouth.
If you have chronic fatigue and you have headaches after waking up, you snore, and you feel exhausted upon awakening, you might suffer from this sleep disorder (sleep apnea). Since even the slightest sleep deprivation can affect your mood and health, you should consult a doctor.
It’s common for perimenopausal women or those going through menopause to experience fatigue. Progesterone, estrogen, adrenal, and thyroid hormones are involved in the regulation of cellular body energy. At the time of menopause, the levels of hormones fluctuate a lot, leading to fatigue.
Moreover, during menopause, hot flashes and night sweats are further hampering the sleep of women. Lack of sleep leaves these women dragging throughout the day. Fatigue can even worsen other symptoms of menopause, like poor concentration, anxiety, and a lack of confidence.
“Menopause” has published a 2015 study which shows that menstrual abnormalities, early menopause, hysterectomy, pelvic pain, and endometriosis are all connected to chronic fatigue syndrome, which is 2 to 4 times more common in women, especially in their 40s, than in men.