Fatigue is a general phrase that refers to a state of exhaustion or a lack of energy. This is not the same as feeling sleepy or drowsy. When you are exhausted, you lack motivation and energy. While being drowsy is a symptom of exhaustion, it is not synonymous with it.
Fatigue is a frequent symptom of a wide variety of medical problems ranging in severity from mild to severe. Additionally, it is a natural effect of certain lifestyle choices, such as inactivity or a bad diet.
Consult your doctor if your fatigue does not improve with enough rest and nourishment, or if you feel it is caused by an underlying medical or mental health condition. They can assist you in determining the source of your exhaustion and working with you to treat it.
Types of Fatigue
Fatigue is classified into two types: physical and mental.
A person who is physically fatigued may find it physically difficult to perform routine tasks, such as mounting the stairs. Muscle weakness is one of the symptoms, and diagnosis may require completing a strength test.
Mental fatigue can make it more difficult to concentrate on tasks and maintain attention. They may feel drowsy or struggle to stay awake while working.
Causes of Fatigue
- physical exertion
- lack of physical activity
- lack of sleep
- being overweight or obese
- periods of emotional stress
- taking certain medications, such as antidepressants or sedatives
- using alcohol on a regular basis
- using illicit drugs, such as cocaine
- consuming too much caffeine
- not eating a nutritious diet
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- infections, such as cold and flu
- Addison’s disease, a disorder that can affect your hormone levels
- hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid
- hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid
- sleep disorders, such as insomnia
- eating disorders, such as anorexia
- autoimmune disorders
- congestive heart failure
- kidney disease
- liver disease
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
When To See The Doctor
You should make an appointment with your doctor if you’re feeling fatigued and you:
- can’t think of anything that might account for your fatigue
- have a higher-than-normal body temperature
- have experienced unexplained weight loss
- feel very sensitive to colder temperatures
- regularly have trouble falling or staying asleep
- believe you may be depressed
If you’ve made efforts to address the most common lifestyle causes, such as lack of rest, poor eating habits, and stress, without success, and your fatigue has continued for two weeks or more, make an appointment with your doctor.
In some cases, your fatigue might be caused by a serious medical condition. Go to the hospital immediately if you experience fatigue along with any of the following symptoms:
- rectal bleeding
- vomiting blood
- severe headache
- pain in your chest area
- feelings of faintness
- irregular heartbeat
- shortness of breath
- severe pain in your abdominal, back, or pelvic region
- thoughts of suicide or self-harm
- thoughts of harming another person
Treatment of Fatigue
The treatment plan recommended by your doctor will depend on the underlying cause of your fatigue. To make a diagnosis, they will almost certainly ask you the following questions:
- the nature of your fatigue, including when it started and whether it gets better or worse at certain times
- other symptoms that you’ve been experiencing
- other medical conditions that you have
- your lifestyle and sources of stress
- medications that you’re taking
If your doctor suspects you have an underlying medical condition that’s causing your fatigue, they may order some medical tests. For example, they may order blood or urine tests.