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Thursday, October 1, 2020

Fatigue: Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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Fatigue is a term used to describe a feeling of lack of energy or all motivation that can be physical mental or in most cases both.

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Lack of energy and fatigue are different problems for different people but this problem can only be addressed if you know what is wrong.

Fatigue can make it very difficult to stay awake or wake up in the morning. If you don’t recover from fatigue after proper nutrition and resting well, then you need to go see a doctor because it could be other health issues that you’re unaware of.

Although fatigue is described as tiredness, it is actually different. Some people feel tired at a point in time but they feel better after taking a nap.

If you feel you are exercising well and you sleep well and still you are not able to perform your day-to-day job then you might need further investigation.

Fatigue can also be due to an array of medical conditions and health problems. If a health condition like diabetes is diagnosed and properly managed then fatigue may go away.

Symptoms of Fatigue

Fatigue is described by people in different ways. It includes;

  • Muscle weakness
  • Sore or aching muscles
  • Moodiness
  • Appetite loss
  • Constantly tired
  • Lack of energy
  • Slow reflexes/responses
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Headache
  • Chronic tiredness
  • Blurry vision
  • Not being able to pay attention to situations at hand

Types of Fatigue

There are different types of fatigue

  • Mental Fatigue: This is a situation where a person finds it difficult to concentrate on any task. In this case, the person feels really sleepy and have serious difficulty staying awake to work.
  • Physical fatigue: In this situation, an individual finds it very challenging to do things they normally feel at ease to do before. For example, walking or even carrying items from your car.

Causes of Fatigue

1. Lack of sleep

Typically, adults need about 8 hours of sleep. But some people tend to get a few hours of sleep.

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Lack of sleep can also make one get up very late in the morning. Working late and insomnia can also lead to fatigue.

2. Chronic pain

Patients with chronic pain tend to take up regularly during the night depriving them of quality sleep. The combination of this pain and lack of sleep can cause fatigue.

3. Alcohol and Drugs

Drugs like nicotine found in cigarettes tend to stimulate the nervous system which causes sleeplessness.

Alcohol also is a depressant drug that slows down the nervous system and disturbs sleep patterns which may end up causing fatigue.

4. Being Overweighted

People that are overweight are more likely to have joint and muscle pain, they are also likely to carry more weight.

Obese people are also more likely to get diabetes which has fatigue as its common symptom.

5. Too much of activity

Staying awake for long hours and also working for long hours and indulging oneself in different activities at a time also tend to cause fatigue.

6. Lack of regular exercise

Physical exercise is known to reduce stress and also it is for the well-being of individuals who engage in it.

It boosts energy and also makes you sleep. So not working out regularly can also lead to fatigue.


Iron deficiency anaemia is a common cause of fatigue in most women. You become anaemic due to iron deficiency.

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You may be able to replenish your body’s iron through diet. Iron-rich foods include meats, beans, tofu, potatoes, nuts, iron-enriched cereals, and brown rice.

Talk to your doctor if you think you need iron supplements to determine the proper dosage.

8. Depression

Depression causes anxiety and sadness and it also causes fatigue. If you or someone you know is depressed, you have to seek medical attention. Depression may not go away without treatment.

Treatments like therapy and medications can help to reduce symptoms.

9. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Common symptoms of urinary tract infection (UTIs) include pain or burning during urination or the feeling of needing to urinate urgently or frequently. But UTIs can also cause fatigue and weakness.

If you have UTI you should go see a doctor but the common treatment is antibiotics.

10. Unemployed

When you have searched for a job for too long, you go through emotional stress and even depression and financial pressures which can cause fatigue.

11. Individual factors

Personal illness or injury, illnesses or injuries in the family, too many commitments (for example, working two jobs) or financial problems can cause fatigue.

12. Heart disease

When you have heart failure, the heart is less effective in pumping oxygenated blood to muscles and other tissues in the body.

Even regular daily activities, like walking or carrying your items from the car, can become difficult. Other symptoms include chest pain, dizziness and even shortness of breath.

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Things that can help you reduce fatigue

A lot of things can help reduce fatigue. They include;

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Drink enough fluids
  • Abstinence from alcohol and other hard drugs
  • Take part in relaxing activities
  • Eat often
  • Talking therapy also helps in reducing fatigue
  • Reduce stress
  • Cut out caffeine
  • Make sure to exercise on a daily basis

These lifestyle changes can help reduce fatigue. And also follow up on your doctor’s treatment for any diagnosed illness because if left untreated it can bring back fatigue.

When to see a doctor about fatigue

You should book an appointment with your doctor when you start experiencing the under-listed situations.

  • If you have higher than normal body temperature
  • If you find it difficult falling or staying asleep regularly
  • If you cannot think of anything that might be causing your fatigue
  • If you are experiencing weight loss for no known reason
  • If you feel sensitive to cold temperatures
  • If you feel you may be depressed
  • You have made an effort to address your lifestyle causes such as your dating habit and some weeks later you still feel fatigued

But in some cases, fatigue may be caused by some medical condition. So you should go see a doctor if you are

  • Feeling fatigued and vomiting blood
  • Having severe headache
  • Experiencing rectal bleeding
  • Shortness of breath
  • If you have severe pain in your abdominal region
  • Irregular heartbeat and also
  • If you are having the thoughts of harming yourself(suicide).

How doctors might treat fatigue?

Your treatment plan will depend solely on the causes of your fatigue.

Your doctor may ask questions like

  • Symptoms that you have been experiencing
  • Your other medical conditions, if you have any
  • Your sources of stress and also your lifestyle
  • When your fatigue started and whether it gets better or worse as time progresses.
  • Your doctor may also ask for medications you have been taking

Your doctor may order blood or urine test if he finds out that you have a medical condition that has not been attended to.


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Disclaimer: This article is purely informative & educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

Emmanuel Ekokotu
Ekokotu Emmanuel Eguono is a mass communicator and fashion designer. When he is not behind a laptop screen or on a sewing machine, he spends his time netflixing and swimming.
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