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Fatigue - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

Fatigue is the lack of motivation or energy (both mental and physical). Fatigue is different from drowsiness (the urge to sleep). Usually fatigue and drowsiness is diagnosed by a healthcare professional as it can be difficult to tell the difference between drowsiness and fatigue. It is usually difficult for the patient to describe fatigue it is characterized by feelings of exhaustion, lethargy and tiredness. Sometimes, fatigue can also be an underlying symptom of a much fatal disorder such as various sleep disorders, hear diseases, COPD, thyroid diseases, diabetes and anemia. In severe cases, fatigue can also result to Chronic fatigue syndrome.

Fatigue is not a disease, it is a symptom. It can either be psychological or physical.

Primary complaints of individuals experiencing fatigue:

  • Lack of ability or motivation to begin any activity.
  • The person gets tired easily once the activity has started.
  • The Individual experiences difficulty concentration or mental fatigue to start or finish an activity.

What causes fatigue?

  • Metabolic/Endocrine- Diseases like Cushing’s disease, liver disease, kidney disease, electrolyte abnormalities, diabetes, hypothyroidism and anemia can cause fatigue.
  • Infections- Many infections such as malaria, influenza (flu), HIV infection, cytomegalovirus, tuberculosis, hepatitis and infectious mononucleosis contributes to fatigue.
  • Heart and lung diseases- A lot of pulmonary and cardiac disorders such as pneumonia, asthma, COPD, valvular heart disease, coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure are also leading causes of fatigue.
  • Medications- Some medicines like blood pressure medicines, steroids, antistamines, drug withdrawal medicines and antidepressants can also give rise to fatigue.
  • Vitamin deficiencies- Certain inadequacy of vitamin D, vitamin B12, iron and folic acid can cause fatigue.
  • Psychiatric health- Bereavement, grief, alcohol abuse and depression can also cause fatigue.
  • Other issues- Illnesses such as fibromyalgia, systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer and rheumatology contributes to fatigue. Sometimes radiation therapy and chemotherapy can also cause excessive fatigue.


Sometimes, fatigue can be serious and should be diagnosed as soon as possible. The doctor or the healthcare professional usually includes tests like CBC (complete blood count test), electrolytes test, blood sugar test (electrolytes test), thyroid hormone, CPK (illnesses which cause muscle inflammation), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG), CT scans and X-rays.

How is fatigue treated?

Since fatigue is a sign of an underlying disorder, the treatment usually depends on the condition which causes fatigue. The disorder can be psychological, physical or a combination of both.

Usually self diagnosable Lab test not required Non communicable
Chronic tiredness Headache Dizziness Aching muscles Moodiness Impaired decision

Popular Health Tips

Headache - Can Bad Eating Habit Cause It?

Dr. Kishore Sabbu 92% (372 ratings)
MBBS, Diploma in Child Health (DCH), MD Internal Medicine
General Physician, Visakhapatnam
Headache - Can Bad Eating Habit Cause It?
Headache is one of the most common maladies which refers to a pain sensation in the head. It may itself be an ailment or may be the symptom of any other illness. Headaches can last for a short time or may persist up to several weeks depending on its cause or type. Many reasons can trigger headache. The following are eight reasons why you might get that headache Stress: Physical stress or emotional stress can be identified as one of the most common causes for your headache. Tension, anxiety and depression may trigger a headache. This is also known as tension headache. In this condition, the muscles of your scalp, neck, face and jaw tighten, thus causing pain. Fatigue may also lead to this type of headache. Eye problems: Sometimes eye problems may be the cause of your headache. Diseases such as glaucoma can cause headache. Straining your eyes for seeing distant objects or glaring at your computer screen for long can also result in headache. Eating and sleeping pattern: Change in eating and sleeping pattern can also cause headache. Inadequate sleep or caffeine withdrawal can give you terrible headache sometimes. Ear, nose or throat disorders: Ear, nose or throat problems can also give rise to headache. Sinus caused by cold or infection, tonsillitis or throat infections can also prompt a headache. Medication: Excessive use of medication can be a factor responsible for your headache. This is also known as rebound headache. Dental problems: Jaw or dental problems sometimes may trigger a mild headache which can turn severe also. The alignment of lower and upper jaw, tooth decay may be some of the causes for headache. Hormonal problems: Sometimes a decline of your estrogen levels can also be a reason for your headache. Bad posture: Sometimes, poor posture may strain the muscles of your back and neck, triggering a headache. Headache can be very annoying. Sometimes pain relief medicines help in controlling headache, but consuming them regularly may affect your health. You must consult a doctor in order to get your headache treated in a proper manner.
2 people found this helpful

How To Handle Depression In Children & Young Adults?

Mrs. Rachna Mimani 92% (24 ratings)
M.A. Clinical Psychology, Diploma In Counselling, Diploma In Mental Illness
Psychologist, Kolkata
How To Handle Depression In Children & Young Adults?
Depression in children and young people affect people from ages 5 to 18. About one in four children in India suffer from childhood depression. Boys and girls up to the age of 10 and 16 respectively, are more prone to depression. As per the report released by WHO, among 10 South-East Asian countries, India has the highest suicide rate. An estimated rate of suicide per 1 lakh population of the age group of 15-29 is 35.5 percent. Definition and Signs According to Thompson (1995), depression is an overall lowering of normal functions which is not specific to any one component of the mind. Clinically, the signs and symptoms of depression have the following components: Mood Changes: sadness, irritability, sense of loss of interest even in cherished activities Cognitive changes: inefficient thinking, poor self-esteem, a feeling of hopelessness, loss of concentration, poor attention span, indecisiveness. Rarely, suicidal tendencies, delusions, hallucinations. Physical changes: low energy, apathy, tiredness, increase or decrease in appetite, disturbed sleep, low emotional responsiveness. Children in primary school stage may report of headaches and stomach aches, limb pain. Impairment in personal and/or social functioning: Self-harm, deterioration in school work without any specific reason, sudden and persistent levels of aggression and irritability. Causes: Marital or family disharmony Divorce and separation Physical and sexual abuse Domestic violence Problems at school: bullying, social isolation, exam failure Severe personal assault Children with parents suffering from depression Diagnosis of Childhood Depression Any child suffering from symptoms of depression for at least 2 weeks, should be scheduled to visit his health care provider. Parents and guardians should eliminate any physical reasons for the symptoms before visiting a mental health professional. There are no specific medical or psychological tests that can clearly diagnose childhood depression. Following measures can help to make an accurate diagnosis: Questionnaires for both the child and parents. Interviews and study of the patient's history by a mental health professional. Information from friends, teachers, and classmates can be useful to detect early symptoms of childhood depression. Treatment To alleviate depressive disorder To reduce concurrent related conditions like ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder) and learning disabilities To promote normal social and emotional development and school performance Relieve family distress To prevent or reduce the risk of relapse Psychological therapy is the first line of treatment and includes: Cognitive behavioural therapy in group and individual format Interpersonal psychotherapy focuses on interpersonal issues like interpersonal conflicts, grief and loss and its effect on current feelings and problems Psychodynamic child psychotherapy where children are given a way to express their issues through playing, drawing, talking Family therapy deals with solving family-related issues and management of crisis Art therapy is an approach to vent out your negative feelings using creative expression as an outlet. Guided self-help helps you in understanding the core of the problems and finding ways to manage the same with the help of a professional. Relaxation and self-modelling can go a long way in dealing with depression. Relaxation techniques like exercising, meditating and yoga help your mind soothe and reduce stress and anxiety which in turn elevates the mood and reduces depression. Counselling has help people overcome loneliness and discuss the things that make them feel low openly. This helps in seeking a solution for that particular cause.
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3 Powerful Reasons of Feeling Tired Even After a Lot of Sleep!

Dr. Parimal Swamy 86% (14 ratings)
Diabetologist, Jabalpur
3 Powerful Reasons of Feeling Tired Even After a Lot of Sleep!
One of the most common scenarios that most people are faced with is a constant feeling of tiredness and lethargy even after you have had a full night s sleep. The questions popping in your mind right about now is, why is this happening? Why does the lethargic feeling fail to leave you even after you had a proper 8 hours sleep? Why is your sleep getting into the way of your professional productivity? Though there are a number of different explanations to this constant feeling of cloudiness throughout the day, hence, experts in the field have listed down some of the factors that prove to be the major causes behind this condition. Some of these most common and powerful reasons are listed below. Thyroid: The moment your thyroid levels start soaring, you will automatically find it difficult to keep up with the pace that your day to day life demands. The thyroid gland, which is placed right in front of the throat, is the size of the knot on your tie. This gland produces a hormone. When the activity of the thyroid gland, it starts secreting more and more of the hormones, leading to a condition termed as hyperthyroidism. The same gland when underperforms, it starts holding back the hormone secretion, leading to a condition called hypothyroidism. In both the cases the metabolism of the body slows down, leading to an increased level of tiredness even after proper sleep. Anaemia: Another leading cause of that nagging feeling of sleepiness and draining energy is Anaemia. Anaemia causes a certain amount of fatigue in an individual. The main cause influencing this situation is the lack of presence of enough red blood cells. The main function of these red blood cells is to transfer oxygen constantly from the long to the cells and tissues. A break in this process leads to you feeling weak and also short of breath. Diabetes: Diabetes poses a serious threat to the all over functioning of your body. It is termed as the slow killer and constantly works towards undermining the level of energy a normal individual can hold. This adversely affects your day to day life, including your performance at work and also performing your daily chores at home. The glucose in your body serves as a fuel for your daily activities. Since patients with type 2 diabetes cannot use this rising glucose in their blood properly, they end up being more tired than they ought to be. Other conditions that lead to the same draining feeling and constant tiredness even after lot of sleep are depression, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue, sleep apnea, sleep inertia, periodic limb movement disorder, constant exposure to computer screens, tv screen, monitors, etc. There are a whole bag of other factors that lead to the constant feeling of tiredness that you are feeling. Before the end of the day, you are drained, your productivity drops and you cannot wait to hit the bed, and the same is the condition when you get out of bed. Consulting a general physician will not only help you put a finger on the cause, but also cure it with proper treatment.

Childhood Depression: Causes and Symptoms

Dr. Sachin Kumar Mangla 93% (304 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Psychiatry
Psychiatrist, Faridabad
Childhood Depression: Causes and Symptoms
Childhood depression is a condition marked by persistent sadness. It causes the child to feel lonely, hopeless, helpless and worthless. If this type of a sadness persists, it can disrupt his/her childhood and may have lasting effects even into adulthood. If neglected, childhood depression can lead to suicide. What are the causes? The exact cause of childhood depression is not known but a combination of other factors can lead to such. Some of them are: Physical health Family and external environment Mental health Genetic vulnerability and Biochemical disturbance Children who suffer from such depression can behave and misbehave erratically. Yet, some children may continue to behave reasonably well in structured environments. Some young children may impulsively attempt suicide due to anger and frustration. Studies show that girls are more likely to commit suicide than boys. What are the symptoms? Children who suffer from such depression exhibit certain symptoms. Some of them are: Increased or decreased appetite Changes in sleeping patterns Difficulty in concentration Fatigue Sadness and hopelessness Vocal outbursts Disobedience Irritability and anger Increased sensitivity to rejection Suicidal thoughts Some children start to use drugs or pick up detrimental habits like smoking and drinking to evade their depression. Children with a family history of physical or sexual abuse are at a greater risk of experiencing depression. Consulting a therapist or a counselor in this case is duly advised.
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Tummy Tuck Surgery: Things To Know Before Getting A Tummy Tuck!

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MCh - Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, MS - General Surgery, MBBS
Cosmetic/Plastic Surgeon, Chennai
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1 person found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

I am suffering frm obesity and I am doing morning walk as well as surya namaskar then pranayam after that full day I feel tiredness and drain so can you please suggest me some energy food or energy supplement to avoid tiredness whole day.

Dt. Vishal Wadi 96% (945 ratings)
Diploma In Human Nutrition, Certified Diabetes Educator, Diploma in Holistic Nutrition, Diploma in Sport & Exercise Nutrition, Lifestyle Medicine, BSc
Dietitian/Nutritionist, Bangalore
If you do only physical activity without paying attention to food, this will happen. It is not about taking any energy supplement, it is about whole food. Unless you change your food habits, weight will not reduce just by exercising. For weight loss you should be avoiding all packed and market foods, take less cooked food, avoiding all kinds of stuff having white sugar, reduce intake of milk and milk products, increase intake of fruits, raw vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouts. All the best.

Hi, I generally feel tired especially fatigue pain below my knees / calf muscles. I take thyronorm 100 mcg. My latest tests show TSH at 0.5.

Dr. Akanksha Tayal 93% (1886 ratings)
Homeopath, Delhi
Your thyroid level is normal .so you can decrease the mg of tablet .or you can start taking half tablet .and for this pain you can take arg nit 30 three times a day for a week .after that consult online for follow up.

I want to quit smoking. But every time I try I have withdrawal issues like anxiety, uneasiness and tiredness. Can you help me.

Dr. Jagadeesan M.S. 97% (9570 ratings)
MD - Psychiatry
Psychiatrist, Chennai
Detailed assessment is needed. Like the reason behind smoking, number of cigarettes and comorbid medical condition. Next you should be assessed for withdrawal from smoking and for reducing further craving. Thre are medications to reduce nicotine craving too. If you consult a psychiatrist they will be able to help you. All the best.
1 person found this helpful

I am suffering fatigue from last 3 months and back pain. And I have leg pain continue.

Dr. Ankush Kaushik 90% (192 ratings)
Physiotherapist, Faridabad
This may be due to some vitamins like vit D .calcium or vit b12. Or accumulated excess oxident in your body take these vitamins after poper deficit blood test n do regularly paranayam and yoga asans under my guidance as I am PhD in Yoga and meditation n neturopathy for more information call me through lybrate.

Health Quizzes

Depression - How to Overcome it!

Dr. Anuj Khandelwal 89% (145 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Psychiatry
Sexologist, Mumbai
Being surrounded by people all the time as well as having improper food can worsen depression. True or false? Take this quiz to know more.
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