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Why Are You Tired All The Time?

Updated on August 2, 2016

Feeling tired all the time is frustrating for many of us and is part of the modern world. There may be a medical cause but finding it can be equally frustrating because there are so many possible reasons. It’s one of the problems that makes a doctor’s heart sink.

In this hub we’re going to look at a few of the medical reasons for tiredness and fatigue.

Coeliac Disease.

Coeliac Disease is a digestive problem in which your body reacts badly and can’t digest gluten. Gluten is found in wheat products – bread, pasta, pastry, cereals etc – and it’s suggested that up to 90% of people don’t realise they have it or it has been diagnosed as another bowel condition such asirritable bowel syndrome.

It causes symptoms of diarrhoea, anaemia (which is another cause of tiredness), bloating, abdominal pain and weight loss so you can imagine that if the body isn’t able to digest food well and extract the energy and nutrients from it, you will feel tired.

Coeliac, or celiac is an autoimmune disease which means that the body doesn’t recognise a harmless substance – in this case gluten - and treats it as if it were a hostile invader by attacking itself. In celiac it attacks the lining of the small intestine. The symptoms can range from mild to severe; it’s more common in women than men, and it can occur at any age.

Diagnosis is made by a blood test and treatment is through a gluten-free diet.


Not sleeping well is one of the main non-medical causes of tiredness. Sleeplessness can make you depressed but depression can also lead to sleeplessness.

Depression is more than feeling ‘fed up’ or ‘down in the dumps’ for a while which is something that happens to all of us at some time. It affects different people in different ways with a variety of symptoms that range in severity. These include:

  • Constant sadness, hopelessness, loss of hope for the future and/or suicidal thoughts.
  • Loss of interest in the things you used to love to do.
  • Tearfulness, anxiety, low appetite, having odd aches and pains.
  • Feelings of guilt and/or irritability.
  • Difficulty in making decisions, low sex drive.
  • Changes to a woman’s menstrual cycle, constipation, weight changes.

There are plenty of good treatments for depression and many of them are drug free, such as exercise, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and counselling. Talk to your doctor about the help you need.

Restless legs.

Restless Legs Syndrome is a phenomenon that has grown in its reported rate in recent years. No one is clear why more people seem to have it but it can lead to a disturbed and poor quality sleep that leaves you feeling tired during the day.

Doctors know it’s a common condition that affects the nervous system, giving an overwhelming urge to move the legs, a crawling sensation in the legs and feet or pain in them. Symptoms can be mild or quite severe.

It may be caused by low levels of the chemical dopamine which plays a part in controlling muscle movement or be part of another health problem such as Parkinson’s Disease, kidney failure or anaemia. Many pregnant women also experience restless legs syndrome but the problem goes after delivery.

Talk to your doctor about the problem you’re having. There are treatments that may help:

In mild RLS, giving up smoking, avoiding alcohol and caffeine and regular exercise are recommended.

For more severe symptoms medication to regulate dopamine may be necessary and of course if there is an underlying condition that is causing RLS, this should be corrected or treated.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Now recognised as a clinical problem, CFS or ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis) is not fully understood and not directly treatable but many people find a number of different strategies help them manage the condition and gradually get back to normal.

Doctors have sought to get a definition of ME and say that:

Fatigue that is new and not a result of exertion and doesn’t improve with sleep or rest, and it results in people not being able to perform their daily living activities for a consecutive period of 6 months or more is a starting point.

In addition diagnosis is made if a person has one or more of the following:

  • Sore throat
  • Enlarged or tender lymph glands in the neck or in the armpits
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain that doesn’t come along with swelling or redness
  • Sleep that doesn’t refresh you.
  • Malaise that lasts for 24 hours or more after exertion.
  • Management, like the symptoms, is an individual experience in that what works for one sufferer may not work for another.

Strategies include:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Graded exercise – starting gently and gradually increasing the time and intensity of activity
  • Pacing – doing what you’re able to do and resting before doing more
  • Antiviral drugs
  • Antidepressant drugs
  • Steroids or other hormone drugs
  • Dietary supplements
  • Complementary therapies are also helpful for some people.

Diagnosing your tiredness problem can take some time and be frustrating for both you and your doctor. It may help to keep a journal of your symptoms between visits to your doctor.

There are 5 more reasons for tiredness at


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