Fatigue

Causes | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment
It is important to remember that fatigue is actually a symptom and not an actual condition or disease.  Everyone feels tired from time to time, especially in the afternoon.  Usually this type of fatigue has a specific cause and an easy remedied by rest.  However, daily exhaustion that lasts longer or throughout the day and cannot be relieved by sleep or rest is not normal.

Causes

There are a multitude of reasons why a person could be fatigued.  They can be related to both health conditions as well as lifestyle factors.
Common conditions contributing to fatigue include:
Metabolic/Endocrine related diseases such as: anemia, hypothyroidism, diabetes, kidney disease, liver diseas

  •  Cardiac related issues such as: heart failure, coronary artery disease, COPD, asthma, pneumonia
  • Infectious diseases such as: mononucleosis, hepatitis, tuberculosis, auto-immune diseases
  • Medication related issues while using drugs like: antidepressants, anti-anxiety, antihistamines, steroids, blood pressure medications, etc.
  • Mental health conditions such as: depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, stress
  •  Vitamin deficiencies: Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, folic acid
  •  Sleep issues such as sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, issues related to varying work hour.

Other health issues such as cancer, rheumatology, arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, obesity, etc.
Common lifestyle issues may include:

  • Excess physical activity
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Lack of sleep for a prolonged period of time
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Excess travel

Symptoms

Because fatigue is actually a symptom of an underlying condition it is important to note any known conditions which may be causing your fatigue as well as any symptoms that accompany the fatigue.
People who experience any of these symptoms in addition to their fatigue should seek medical help immediately:

  • Chest pain
  • Irregular or racing heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Passing out or the feeling like you might pass out
  • Abdominal, back or pelvic pain
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Severe headache

People with medical conditions may experience symptoms specific to their condition such as:

  • People with heart disease may experience shortness of breat
  • People with diabetes may experience the need to urinate, excess thirst
  • People with hypothyroidism may feel cold and have dry skin and brittle hair

Other things to consider:

  •  Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Fever or chills
  • Muscle fatigue or pain
  • Change in diet or appetite
  • Any negative or stressful outside indicators

Diagnosis

It is important to find the correct underlying cause of a person’s fatigue in order to treat it correctly.  A complete medical history is necessary in order to rule out possible conditions.  It is also important to know what other symptoms the patient has as this provide information as to what is causing the fatigue and what organ system is involved.  Other pertinent information will be gathered as well such as what time of day a person is fatigued, how long it lasts, does it come on suddenly, etc.
In addition to a physical examination and medical history, your doctor may also order other tests to rule out possible conditions.  Blood tests are usually ordered to rule out various diseases or vitamin deficiencies.  Diagnostic imaging may also be ordered if your doctor feels it necessary.

Treatment

Because fatigue, especially chronic fatigue syndrome affects people in many different ways, treatment is customized to a patient’s specific symptoms.  At SCU we take a holistic approach to treating fatigue.  Through treatment options such as acupuncture, massage and Ayurveda, we aim to help patients reduce stress, improve their sleeping habits and help with lifestyle changes that may help patients suffering from chronic fatigue.  SCU may also incorporate yoga and tai chi into a patient’s lifestyle to help with pain that may be associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Request Information