What Causes Fatigue

Fatigue is a medical symptom that can be caused by a variety of reasons. It is regarded as a symptom, and not as a medical sign, because it is experie...


Fatigue is a medical symptom that can be caused by a variety of reasons. It is regarded as a symptom, and not as a medical sign, because it is experienced by the patient as opposed to being noticed by others. There are two types of fatigue: physical fatigue and mental fatigue. Physical fatigue refers to the incapacity of the muscles to use force that can be usually exerted by the person. Mental fatigue on the other hand refers to a diminished level of concentration with accompanying somnolence.

Following the two types of fatigue, the major causes of it are musculoskeletal and psychological. Some of the common activities and experiences that induces fatigue are overworking, mental stress, overstimulation and understimulation, jet lag, active recreation, depression, boredom, some diseases, and lack of sleep. Fatigue can also be caused by chemicals vitamin and mineral deficiencies and poisoning. Fatigue can also be caused by massive blood loss.

While fatigue can be a body response to physical exertion and stress, it can also be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Temporary fatigue is a normal body behavior after the immune system fights an infection. Chronic fatigue, something that is experienced for at least 6 months, on the other hand is usually an indication of a serious disease.

Some of the conditions that have chronic fatigue as a symptom include autoimmune diseases, blood disorders, cancer, depression, eating disorders, endocrine diseases, fibromyalgia, heart disease, infectious diseases, leukemia, neurological disorders, pain-causing conditions like arthritis, pregnancy, sleep disorders, uremia, and hepatic failure. Some medications can also cause fatigue such as lithium salts, ciprofloxacin, beta blockers, chemotherapy, and radiotheraphy. Also, a rare condition called chronic fatigue syndrome can also cause chronic fatigue. It is currently unknown what causes this condition and therefore it can only be diagnosed after ruling out the other possible conditions. This is somewhat difficult as chronic fatigue syndrome shares many symptoms with other conditions, namely fibromyalgia, autoimmune diseases, and depression.

It is therefore important for those who experience prolonged fatigue to seriously consider consulting a professional about their condition as it may cause serious implications in one’s health.

Treatment for Chronic Fatigue


Treating chronic fatigue is a great challenge for medical practitioners as the condition is not well understood and experts have varying opinions on which is the best approach. In treating chronic fatigue, the symptoms are basically managed instead of cured. The effectiveness of each treatment can vary from case to case therefore it is a good idea to find out a combination that will work best for you.

The most common treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome is management techniques in the form of cognitive behavioral therapy, graded exercise therapy, psychodynamic counseling and pacing. These are primarily psychological therapies that are designed to help those with the condition improve their functioning and allow them to regain their ability to work. These are done by changing the patient’s beliefs about their condition and through training them to improve their physical ability in a gradual manner.

Since some cases of chronic fatigue syndrome is associated with prior viral infections, antiviral treatment is also used to address chronic fatigue syndrome. These include Ampligen, Valacyclovir, interferon, and IGG.

Some pharmacological treatments can also help those with chronic fatigue syndrome manage the symptoms. Antidepressants can help treat for depression and mood swings, improve sleep quality, and reduce pain. Other pharmacological treatments that were used to treat chronic fatigue are steroids like cortisol and thyroid hormones, NADH, and the Staphylococcal toxoid vaccine.

Finally, there are also alternative treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome. One of them is the through engagement in Qigong, an ancient Chinese system of physical and mental training for health, martial arts, and self-enlightenment. In the studies that were conducted, it was found out that Qigong can help improve the chronic fatigue symptoms of sleep disturbance, limited mobility, and pain. Alternative medicinal practices such as traditional Chinese medicine and ayurveda, or traditional Indian medicine have also treatments for a condition that is very similar with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Another natural alternative treatment is through dietary supplements: ginseng, L-Carnitine, Coenzyme Q10, DHEA, essential fatty acids, probiotics, Vitamin C, magnesium, beta-carotene, melatonine, glutamine, whey protein, folic acid, and tyrosine are among those that are considered for treating chronic fatigue syndrome.

The Different Symptoms of Fatigue


Chronic fatigue syndrome is a rare condition that is characterized mainly by chronic fatigue that lasts for at least six months already. The cause of this condition is currently unknown although some hypothesize that it is related to a previous viral infection. There are alternative names for this condition and some are considered subtypes of it. These include myalgic encephalomyelitis, chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome, and post-viral fatigue syndrome. Chronic fatigue syndrome produces symptoms that are utterly debilitating, severely affecting the person’s functional capacity and well-being. Here are the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.

The key symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome is persistent fatigue that is not related to physical exertion and cannot be relieved by any amount of sleep or rest. This is what primarily makes this condition impairing as those who suffer from it are always tired. For some people, even moving a little can take so much out of them and therefore they are confined to their beds. This also reduces the functioning capacity and activity level of those who are affected by it.

Aside from the chronic fatigue symptom, a person must also have at least four of the following symptom in order to be diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome: impaired memory or concentration, post-exertional malaise that lasts for more than a day, unrefreshing sleep, muscle pain, pain in multiple joints without inflammation, headaches that have different patterns or severity, recurring sore throat, and tender cervical or axillary lymph nodes.

While the symptoms stated above are based on the official definition of chronic fatigue syndrome, other people who have the condition also reported having other symptoms as well. These include abdominal pain, sensitivity to foods, alcohol, odors, chemicals, medications, or noise, bloating, chest pain, chronic cough, diarrhea, dizziness and coordination problems, dry mouth, earache, irregular heartbeat, jaw pain, morning stiffness, nausea, chills and night sweats, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, tingling sensations, shortness of breath, weight loss or gain, and visual disturbances such as blurring, sensitivity to light, eye pain and dry eyes.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a very serious condition that should not be taken for granted. If you experience most of these symptoms, then don’t hesitate to consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

Prevent Fatigue


Chronic fatigue syndrome is a medical disorder that is characterized by an unrelenting fatigue that is not related to exertion that is not alleviated by rest for over six months. Currently it is still unknown what causes this condition and it can only be diagnosed by ruling out other conditions. Because of that, it is actually hard to understand how to prevent fatigue. Some people however suggest that a healthy overall lifestyle can help avoid acquiring this impairing condition. Here are some tips on how to do so.

One way to prevent chronic fatigue syndrome is by getting rid of unnecessary stress in your life. Although stress is mainly emotional and mental, it can severely affect your health condition in many ways than you can imagine. Worrying too much about everything can only harm you in the long run.

Eating a healthy diet can also help you prevent having chronic fatigue syndrome. Limit your sugar consumption. Minimize intake of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco if you must. Avoid eating unhealthy, processed foods. A healthy diet can work wonders on your overall lifestyle.

Live in moderation and make sure that you properly balance work, rest, and play. Do not overwork yourself as it causes stress. Make sure that you get sufficient sleep every night. Relaxation and recreation is also an important part of life but too much of it can cause lead to a toxic lifestyle.

Exercising regularly will greatly improve your overall lifestyle and help you prevent having fatigue. This will greatly help your cardio-vascular system, strengthen your muscles, and keep your body fit. You need not to work out excessively as it can cause unnecessary muscle exertion. It is also advisable to maintain playing a physical sports that you like so that you will enjoy exercising and you will be encouraged to do it regularly.

Improving your immune system through vitamins and mineral supplements can also help you prevent chronic fatigue syndrome. Some cases of chronic fatigue syndrome were observed after a cold or a respiratory problem so it’s a good idea to strengthen your body’s defenses. Consult a nutritionist if necessary if you want to learn more about what vitamins and mineral supplements you should take.

While this may not a clear cut procedure for preventing fatigue, trying them out can only be good for you and your body as it will surely enhance your quality of life.

Managing Fatigue


Fatigue can be easily obtained in the stressful realities of work. Therefore in order to ensure productivity at the workplace, a company must always have a fatigue management policy that should be implemented by the human resources division. A fatigue management policy is basically a company policy that will serve to educate and train employees on fatigue awareness.

Fatigue management policy is especially important for companies with employees that work long irregular hours that may cause inadequate sleep. Fatigue management makes employees understand the risks of working fatigued without adequate sleep. Fatigue can severely affect the employees’ moods, communication, speed, accuracy and wakefulness. It is important since fatigued employees are liabilities to the company as they are stressed easily, lack concentration and focus to do tasks properly, and they potentially increase the risks of workplace accidents due to reduced alertness. The aim of fatigue management for employees is to increase their productivity, improve their morale, and decrease their absenteeism. This will help in achieving the full potential of your business leading to increased profits, reduced accident risks, and increased performance.

Fatigue management policy should be carefully and specifically designed depending on the employees’ line of work as there can be varying requirements for each type of job. The fatigue management policy should primarily teach the employees the causes and consequences of fatigue. It is important to educate them of how one can acquire fatigue and it must be able to provide an explanation on how fatigue can affect them not only in the workplace but also in their individual lives and their community. The second point that fatigue management policy should teach its employees are strategies on how to manage fatigue effectively. Of course fatigue can be inevitable at times so the employees should possess the knowledge on how to prevent such situations or handle it when it’s already there. Finally, the risk management policy should also utilize risk assessment tools in the workplace regularly in order to measure and monitor the risks associated with fatigue in the workplace.

The company and the employee have a shared responsibility to avoid fatigue using a well thought out fatigue management framework as it will be beneficial for both parties.

Is Fatigue A Disease?


While fatigue is a common response to physical overexertion and stress, it could also be a symptom that can indicate a lot of serious medical conditions. Chronic fatigue, a prolonged state that lasts for at least 6 months is a very severe circumstance that should be taken seriously. Here are some diseases that has fatigue as a symptom.

Celiac disease is a digestive disease that disrupts the absorption of the protein gluten and causes the immune system to damage the linings of the small intestine. Because of this, the body cannot absorb nutrients and therefore the person becomes malnourished. As such, the person who have celiac disease can experience fatigue due to lack of energy source.

Lyme disease meanwhile is a systemic bacterial infection that is transferred through tick bites. It can affect any part of the body and multiple systems as well. This condition causes profound exhaustion to those who have it as the body uses energy to fight off the systemic infection.

Liver diseases such as cirrhosis and hepatitis can also cause fatigue to those who have them. The liver’s function is to filter, regulate and store blood. Once the liver is impaired due to the disease, the blood will be loaded with toxins, therefore limiting its capacity to carry oxygen and nutrients that are needed for energy production. Because of this, those who have a liver disease will often feel fatigued.

Graves’ disease or hyperthyroidism is also another disease that can bring fatigue to those who have it. This happens when the thyroid gland produces too much hormone, causing bodily functions to increase to a dangerous level. Those who have this disease often feel fatigued due to the insomnia that comes with it. It can also be caused by the stress on the body brought about by other symptoms such as rapid pulse, higher blood pressure, and diarrhea.

Crohn’s disease is also another condition that causes fatigue. It is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that can cause obstructions in the small intestines, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and anemia. Stress and certain foods can cause flare ups to those who have the disease so that the person will experience weariness and exhaustion because the body is combating the disease.

A prolonged experience of fatigue is a serious issue as it could be a sign of any of these diseases and many other more. If your fatigue persists, you should definitely check with a doctor to find out immediately what is wrong with your body.

Hard Look At Fatigue Statistics


Chronic fatigue syndrome is a medical condition wherein the patient feels persistent fatigue that cannot be relieved with rest, for already about six months. Other symptoms include sleep difficulties, cognitive impairment, impaired concentration, sore throat, tender glands, stiff muscles, multijoint pain, and headaches. A person with this condition always feels tired and therefore cannot function properly in his/her daily life.

Studies have show that chronic fatigue syndrome is a relatively rare condition. It is estimated that there are half a million people in the US have chronic fatigue syndrome while only a quarter in UK. The prevalence rate of the condition is approximately 1 in 544 or 0.18% of the population in the USA.

Most of those who have this condition are adults as it usually develops in the early 20s to mid 40s. However, children and adolescents can also be affected by this condition, although at a lower rate. Statistics also show that women are more prone to chronic fatigue syndrome as they are four times more likely to have the condition.

Social class can also factor in the prevalence of chronic fatigue syndrome. It is found out that people from the lower socioeconomic classes are more likely to be fatigued. This may be due to the fact that they are prone to social adversity, a known predictor of fatigue. Community surveys have also shown that Caucasians have lower risk of having the condition compared with Latinos, African Americans, and Native Americans.

It is also observed that there are family members who have developed chronic fatigue syndrome, suggesting that the condition is a genetic predisposition. However, there is not enough evidence to support this claim.

Other people that are known to be susceptible to this condition are those who were infected with virus, Gulf War veterans, and high-risk occupational groups such as health workers, airline pilots, and shift workers.
The future of those who have chronic fatigue syndrome is also grim as only 5-10% of the cases fully recovers from the condition. However, through the right combination of treatments, the symptoms of the condition can still be managed, allowing the patient to function again in his/her daily life.

Fibromyalgia and Fatigue


Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are two rare medical conditions that have a lot of similiraties when it comes to their symptoms. In fact, some doctors even consider them as a same thing and recommend a similar treatment. Both conditions are very difficult to diagnose. There have been a lack of consensus in the scientific community as to what causes them and some doctors do not even consider them as a disease due to lack of objective, replicable diagnostic tests that will indicate their instances. Therefore both diseases are only diagnosed when other possible conditions have been ruled out.

As mentioned earlier, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome share many parallel symptoms. Among these are chronic pain and fatigue, unrefreshing sleep, new type of headaches, association with Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ), cognitive impairment, dizziness, and impaired body coordination. Both of these conditions are also debilitating and impairing because the symptoms drastically reduces the person’s functioning. As such, both of them can also lead to the depression of those who have those conditions.

There are however some key differences on the symptoms of the two conditions. The patient is asked which symptom is worse, the pain or the fatigue. Pain is the key feature of fibromyalgia and people who have it have a heightened pain sensitivity and are easily hurt by pressure. People who have chronic fatigue syndrome does not feel increased pain from pressure. On the other hand, the key feature in chronic fatigue syndrome is fatigue, as people who have it feels tired all the time.

Another important difference between the two is that chronic fatigue syndrome onset usually after flulike symptoms, or after a viral infection, while fibromyalgia onsets after a physical or emotional trauma. Those who have chronic fatigue syndrome have an active immune system, as if combating an infection. This is not found in patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Also, the pain of fibromyalgia is lessened with heat while the pain of chronic fatigue syndrome is not.

At the end of the day, the distinction between the two hardly matters anymore as there have been no cure found for both conditions. However, their symptoms can be managed and those people who have chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia should focus on the approaches on how to treat them.

Fatigue and Depression


Depression and chronic fatigue syndrome are two conditions that can be easily mistaken for each other. The former can be a symptom of the latter and both can cause very similar effects to those who have the condition. However, these two conditions are different and therefore require different treatments as well (although antidepressants can be used in both cases). Therefore in diagnosing a condition, it is important to distinguish which is which.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is characterized by a relentless fatigue that is not related to exertion and lasts for at least 6 months, have a hard time with concentrating or short-term memory, sore throat, tender lymph nodes, muscle pain, multi-joint pain without inflammation, headaches of a new type, unrefreshing sleep, discomfort after a physical exertion that lasts for at least a day, dizziness, body coordination balance problems, bloating, nausea, confusion and weight loss. These symptoms have a sudden, rapid onset, and is commonly accompanied with flulike symptoms.

On the other hand, the symptoms of depression tend to advance slowly on those who have it. Among its symptoms that are also found in chronic fatigue syndrome patients are change in weight, nonrestful sleep, sleeping more than usual, fatigue and low energy, and problem with thinking, concentrating, and making decisions.

The differences between the two conditions can be found in the predispositions of the people who have them. People with chronic fatigue syndrome still have the desire to do activities although they are unable to do so due to their condition, while depressed people have no interest at all in doing things that they used to love. Depressed people often have insomnia and therefore unable to get a good rest while those who have chronic fatigue syndrome can sleep but it doesn’t relieve their fatigue. Also, depressed people have feelings of low self-esteem, unreasonable guilt, hopelessness, and helplessness; people who have chronic fatigue syndrome does not have those feelings, unless they already have depression due to their condition.

While these two conditions are closely related to each other, the distinction between the two is important so as to be able to treat the problem with the proper solution and not cause further complications anymore.

Different Approaches To Beat Fatigue


Chronic fatigue syndrome is a debilitating and impairing condition that will severely affect the lives of those affected by it. People who have it often feel pain in their body and doing even the slightest activity will cause great exertion to them. Some people who have the condition are even confined to their beds as moving will take its toll on them. As such, chronic fatigue syndrome will greatly reduce the functional capacity of the person affected by it and even cause depression due to its effects.

However not all hope is lost for those who have chronic fatigue syndrome. Although there is no exact cure for this condition, the symptoms can still be managed. There are many approaches on how to do this and some can even restore the person’s functional capacity. Here are two alternative mind-and-body approaches that can help people beat chronic fatigue syndrome.

Meditation is a simple exercise that is practiced by many ancient cultures. The goal of meditation is to allow the mind to relax and let go of the worries and stress of everyday life. It uses a variety of techniques such as breath, visualization, repeating a mantra, sound meditation, and mindfulness mediation. People who have chronic fatigue syndrome can benefit from meditation as it can greatly reduce stress which aggravates the effects of the condition. It can also improve their sleep patterns and increase their energy. Meditation can be done anywhere at anytime, it doesn’t require special equipment and clothing, and it doesn’t take much time and effort to do it.

Another alternative approach in beating the effects chronic fatigue syndrome is Yoga. Yoga uses a combination of mediation and gentle stretching exercises that does not use much energy. Yoga exercises also do not take away energy and puts energy back into that person instead, leaving him/her feeling refreshed and renewed. This is extremely important as those who have chronic fatigue syndrome are already lacking in energy. Yoga promotes more oxygen in the body, improve blood circulation, and release muscle tension. Yoga can also help reduce stress reactions, teach conservation of energy, and build self-confidence, allowing those who have chronic fatigue syndrome face the realities of their condition.