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Overcoming Fatigue

Updated on October 17, 2009

Fatigue is a complaint that stalks many in our contemporary society. But what causes fatigue? And what can you do if you are struggling with it?

Fatigue has been defined as chronic tiredness that is unrelieved by rest or sleep. It can be the result of physical stressors such as hard physical labor, lack of sleep, or be due to emotional stress. However, it can also be a symptom of  illness or an underlying emotional disorder that requiress treatment.

Fatigue may have a pattern, such as showing up late in the day after physical exertion, or be a numbing accompaniment from the first rising in the morning until going to bed at night.

The causes of fatigue can be physical, psychological, or a combination of both. Fatigue can be a symptom related to many different disorders, which is why a complete medical evaluation by your physician is important if this symptom  persists over a period of time. If the cause is unknown, your doctor may test for several illnesses.

Fatigue can be a symptom in certain physical illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, heart failure, infection hypothyroidism, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, depression, and other  disorders.

Fatigue can also be a result of poor or inadequate nutrition. Diet does make a difference, and if your body is deprived of essential vitamins and nutrients, fatigue can result.

Depression can cause a feeling of fatigue in some people, making it difficult to rise out of bed in the morning. Sleep patterns are often disrupted when a person is depressed, meaning that they wake up feeling tired, and "drag through"  the day.

Boredom, and doing work that you don’t like can also contribute to fatigue.

These are only a few of the possible causes of fatigue. Because fatigue has so many causes, it can be difficult to pinpoint why it is occurring without careful evaluation.

It is important to first identify what is causing the fatigue if possible, since fatigue is often a symptom of an underlying problem. Treating the problem will often help relieve fatigue.

This is one reason that it is important to give your doctor as much information as possible about your fatigue. It can help with accurate diagnosis if they know how long you have felt fatigued and whether certain activities cause it.  Your doctor will also need to know whether you are having difficulty sleeping, or if you experience any other symptoms when you feel fatigued (such as shortness of breath, pain, difficulty concentrating, or others). He will also need to  know how you are eating (and whether your appetite has changed recently).

Getting adequate sleep is important in overcoming fatigue. If a person is unable to sleep well because of illness, pain, or stress, then they will often battle fatigue. Providing a quiet, calm atmosphere that promotes sleep and planning  adequate time to rest can be a first step in overcoming fatigue.

Eating a balanced, nutritious diet that contains vitamins and minerals is also important, since becoming run-down will make a person more susceptible to fatigue as well as infection.

Exercise in moderation, as allowed by your physical condition, can help promote deeper sleep and relief from fatigue. People who exercise regularly (even if it is just a daily walk to start with) often report having more energy and  feeling better.

Learning stress management techniques can also be helpful, since chronic stress can contribute to fatigue (as well as other health problems). .

If fatigue is due to a known physical cause such as an illness that is being treated, then creating a daily routine that allows for plenty of rest, or even a nap during the day may provide relief. Our bodies need more rest when they are  fighting infection and illness.

Many disorders are very treatable with appropriate medication , which can help relieve fatigue. For instance, if fatigue is caused by depression, appropriate medication can help a person renew their interest in activities and their  energy level will increase.

Fatigue can be a difficult symptom to cope with. But by treating the underlying cause and learning management techniques, it can be better dealt with and relieved.


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    • Hal Licino profile image

      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      Vizey: Er... ya... if your lifestyle is working late and not getting enough sleep, you're way past due for a lifestyle change! :)

      Sandyspider: That's why I lead a stressfree lifestyle. Herman Hesse's Siddhartha: I can think, I can wait, I can fast. I aint that hot on fasting, but the other two I've got DOWN! :)

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      So many factors can cause fatigue. Stress is also another one. Thanks for the information.

    • Vizey profile image

      Vizey 8 years ago

      I think working late nights and did not taking proper rest make us all fatigue.So we need not to change our lifestyle.

    • Hal Licino profile image

      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      Glad to help. Now stay alert. We need more lerts! :)

    • queenbe profile image

      queenbe 8 years ago from NY

      Fatigue is a definate bummer. Thanks for the helpful info.