Fatigue : Symptoms, Causes and How To Reduce Fatigue

Fatigue is defined as an ongoing and persistent feeling of weakness, tiredness, and lowered energy level. This should be distinguished from drowsiness, which implies an actual urge to sleep. Fatigue involves lack of energy rather than sleepiness.

Fatigue can be a normal and important response to physical exertion, emotional stress, boredom, or lack of sleep. However, it can also be a nonspecific sign of a more serious psychological or physical disorder. When fatigue is not relieved by enough sleep, good nutrition, or a low-stress environment, it should be evaluated by your doctor. Fatigue is a common symptom, and is usually not due to a serious disease.

There are many possible physical and psychological causes of fatigue. Some of the more common are:

* An allergy that leads to hay fever or asthma
* Anemia (including iron deficiency anemia)
* Depression or grief
* Persistent pain
* Sleep disorders such as ongoing insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, or narcolepsy
* Underactive or overactive thyroid gland
* Use of alcohol or drugs such as cocaine or narcotics, especially with regular use

Fatigue can also accompany the following illnesses:

* Addison's disease
* Anorexia or other eating disorders
* Arthritis, including juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
* Autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus
* Cancer
* Congestive heart failure
* Diabetes
* Fibromyalgia
* Infection, especially one that takes a long time to recover from or treat such as bacterial endocarditis (infection of the heart muscle or valves), parasitic infections, AIDS, tuberculosis, and mononucleosis
* Kidney disease
* Liver disease
* Malnutrition

Here are some tips for reducing fatigue:

* Get adequate, regular, and consistent amounts of sleep each night.
* Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and drink plenty of water throughout the day.
* Exercise regularly.
* Learn better ways to relax. Try yoga or meditation.
* Maintain a reasonable work and personal schedule.
* Change your stressful circumstances, if possible. For example, switch jobs, take a vacation, and deal directly with problems in a relationship.
* Take a multivitamin. Talk to your doctor about what is best for you.
* Avoid alcohol, nicotine, and drug use.