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Fatigue Checker

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Your Fatigue May Also be Known as:
Always tired
Child is lethargic
Cold symptoms
Daytime sleepiness
Exhausted
Exhaustion
Feeling weak all over

Fatigue Symptoms

Have you been feeling like your get up and go has got up and went? You are not alone, at all. Many individuals complain of fatigue after those energetic years of childhood, when we could eat everything, sleep anytime, and had unlimited free time full of play and freedom from all worry of bills, work, and kids.

Fatigue can be caused by many factors in our modern world. Blue light robs us of sleep quality and quantity; environmental toxins impact hormones that regulate sleep, and technology flies at us so fast it creates levels of sleep we cannot even fathom anymore, constantly assailing us with new, email, and—again, more blue light.

Fatigue is not only by excesses in lifestyle factors such as blue light and stress but also lacks—you may feel fatigued, for example, if you're not exercising, eating right, or taking care of yourself.

The symptoms of fatigue are quite obvious and include feeling:

  • Sleepy
  • Tired
  • Weak
  • Unable to start or participate in usual activities
  • Unable to concentrate
  • Forgetful
  • Emotionally drained/moody
  • Nothing to do sounds like such a great idea
  • Feeling like your bones feel leaden

Fatigue symptoms affect our abilities to function in our daily lives, impacting work, school and family. Let's review some of the common causes of fatigue, and what you can do to overcome fatigue.

Fatigue Causes Overview

  • Poor sleep hygiene/sleep deprivation: Sleep hygiene refers to habits that affect the quality of your sleep. Sleep hygiene means being a selfish sleeper, prioritizing sleep, eliminating lights and even digital clocks from your room, sleeping in complete darkness, avoiding late night eating that will disrupt sleep, and trying to get to bed early so you can get 8 to 9 good, deep restorative hours of sleep.

  • Infection: Any infection—fungal, viral, or bacterial—can cause fatigue. Fighting illness or disease requires a lot of energy. The fatigue symptoms associated with illness is our signal to slow down. Sleeping during illness improves both recovery and survival rates. Sure, you can push through feeling "sick and tired," but chances are, you will just feel sicker, longer.

  • Depression : Fatigue (both mental and physical) can be a symptom of depression. With depression, this loss of energy and feeling of exhaustion often persists even if you have adequate sleep. Some people with depression have bursts of enthusiasm and exuberance, but it is more common to have a loss of energy and great feelings of listlessness and lethargy.

  • Hypothyroidism: The thyroid is a gland that produces the hormones that regulate temperature and metabolism. Metabolic changes caused by hypothyroidism will cause fatigue because when the metabolism slows, your manufacturing of energy slows as well as you are not processing food into energy.

  • Lack of exercise/movement: Exercise gets your heart rate up, which will help you feel peppy and energetic. It also heals much of the damage that is done by sitting for long periods of time—and sitting, as you might have heard, is now being deemed more harmful to the body than smoking.

  • Medications: Individuals who take medications such as bi-polar medications or medications for allergies, arthritis, and fibromyalgia often complain of fatigue, as these medications tend to make you feel very tired/sleepy.

  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies: Being deficient in minerals like iron or vitamins such as the B vitamins, such as B-12, can cause great feelings of fatigue.

Top 9 Fatigue Causes

  1. 1.Sleep Deprived

    Sleep is very important to health and adults should get a minimum of 7 hours each night. Sleep deprivation causes daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and headaches.

    You should try to sleep more.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating
    Symptoms that always occur with sleep deprived:
    hidden: sleep: duration: less than 7 hours, daytime sleepiness
    Symptoms that never occur with sleep deprived:
    nausea or vomiting, being severely ill, fever, unintentional weight loss
    Urgency:
    Wait and watch
  2. 2.Insomnia Disorder

    Insomnia is a very common sleep disorder that prevents one from falling asleep, staying asleep, or a combination of both.

    Sleep is of critical importance to physical and mental wellbeing. You should speak with your primary care physician about your inability to sleep well. Things you can do to improve your sleep are: regular exercise, keeping a regular bedtime and routine, avoiding caffeine several hours before going to bed and putting away your electronic devices before bedtime. In addition, try to do something relaxing like reading, listening to music or breathing exercises.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, mild headache, insomnia
    Symptoms that always occur with insomnia disorder:
    insomnia
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Common Cold

    The common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract.

    The common cold is treated symptomatically. Since this is a viral infection, antibiotics are not effective. You can safely treat the symptoms of this condition with over-the-counter pain relievers, decongestants, antihistamines & cough medicines.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, cough, sore throat, congestion
    Symptoms that never occur with common cold:
    being severely ill, severe muscle aches, rash, severe headache
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  4. 4.Chronic Sinusitis

    Chronic sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses (hollow cavities behind the nose & cheeks) that lasts more than 12 weeks and can continue for months or years.

    You should visit your primary care physician, who may send you to a specialist to examine your nasal passages. A doctor may prescribe a topical or oral corticosteroid.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, trouble sleeping, headache, congestion, runny nose
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Fatigue Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having fatigue.

    Take a quiz
  5. 5.Acute Bacterial Sinusitis

    Acute bacterial sinusitis occurs when the sinuses become infected and, in turn, inflamed, which causes pain and other symptoms. The sinuses are air-filled cavities in the face that are generally clean and empty but when sick collect excess mucus and can become infected.

    You should visit a physician or urgent care facility in the next day or two. It’s likely your sinus infection is caused by a bacterial infection, which requires treatment with antibiotics. In the mean time, ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be taken to help with pain & fever.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, cough, muscle aches, sore throat
    Symptoms that always occur with acute bacterial sinusitis:
    sinusitis symptoms
    Symptoms that never occur with acute bacterial sinusitis:
    clear runny nose, being severely ill
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  6. 6.Vitamin B12 Deficiency

    Vitamin B12 is a vitamin crucial to healthy neurological and cardiovascular functioning. If deficient, symptoms include trouble thinking, anxiety, stomach issues, and weakness.

    You should visit your primary care physician to discuss your symptoms.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, racing heart beat, history of headaches
    Symptoms that never occur with vitamin b12 deficiency:
    menstrual period changes
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Type 2 Diabetes

    Diabetes causes that blood glucose (blood sugar) levels to become high. With Type II Diabetes, the more common type, the body does not make or use insulin efficiently. Insulin is necessary to metabolize glucose.

    You should visit your primary care physician to get screened for type II diabetes. If the screen is positive, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy diet, increasing physical activity, and losing weight. There are also glucose-lowering medications that your doctor may prescribe.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, increased appetite compared to normal, vision changes, feeling itchy or tingling all over, hearing loss
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Generalized Anxiety Disorder (Gad)

    Anxiety is a common emotion from time to time; however, persistent, excessive, and unrealistic worrying are signs of generalized anxiety disorder. Generalized anxiety disorder is diagnosed when a person worries more days than not for at least six months and has symptoms like fatigue, muscle tension, difficulty concentrating, and irritability.

    You should visit your primary care physician to further discuss your symptoms. It is likely you will be referred to a mental health professional. Your doctor will likely recommend talk therapy and/or antidepressant medication.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, trouble sleeping, irritability, nausea, general anxiety (stress)
    Symptoms that always occur with generalized anxiety disorder (gad):
    general anxiety (stress)
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  9. 9.Mild Chronic Depression (Dysthymia)

    Dysthymia, also called persistent depressive disorder, is a form of depression that is chronic. The causes of dysthymia are complex, and often are a combination of biological, genetic, and environmental factors. Dysthymia can interfere with everyday life, and people with this condition report feeling loss of interest in their daily activities, sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of energy.

    You should visit your primary care physician who will likely coordinate care with a psychologist or psychiatrist. Dysthymia is treated similarly to depression with therapy and antidepressant medication.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    depressed mood, fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbance
    Symptoms that always occur with mild chronic depression (dysthymia):
    depressed mood
    Symptoms that never occur with mild chronic depression (dysthymia):
    severe sadness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Fatigue Treatments and Relief

To avoid fatigue, sleep experts recommend:

  • Sleeping and waking on a regular schedule
  • Eat a very balanced diet rich in plants antioxidants, and energy-yielding phytonutrients and amino acids—a balanced diet will help address any nutritional deficiencies that might be causing fatigue
  • Avoiding caffeine, especially in the afternoon (it will only disrupt sleep quality, even if you are sleeping long periods of time)
  • Avoiding alcohol and sleeping pills (these stimulants/drugs ruin sleep quality)
  • Avoiding all blue light-emitting devices during the two to three hours before going to bed
  • Use black-out curtains to eliminate all light that might filter through windows, waking you up and inhibiting sleep quality
  • Avoiding long afternoon or evening naps
  • Exercising in the morning or afternoon, but not in the evening
  • Getting sun exposure in the mornings. Early morning sun exposure tells your body it's daytime now and helps your circadian rhythms "set" so your body will better recognize nighttime as well!
  • Avoiding eating too close to bedtime (within two hours)
  • Sleeping in a cool room

You should seek immediate medical care if you have fatigue and:

  • Symptoms of depression
  • Fever
  • There is no improvement despite adequate sleep
  • Think you might have been bitten by a tick

FAQs About Fatigue

Here are some frequently asked questions about fatigue.

Why am I so tired?

Fatigue can be caused by many things. Major causes may include psychological disorders (e.g. depression, anxiety, malnutrition), drugs (e.g. antidepressants, drug abuse, withdrawal, addiction), endocrine-metabolic disorders (e.g. hypothyroidism, diabetes), cancers, infections, cardiopulmonary diseases (e.g. chronic heart failure, COPD), rheumatoid disease, and disturbed sleep.

What are the symptoms of fatigue?

Fatigue can be manifested as difficulty or inability initiating activity (feeling generally weak); reduced capacity maintaining activity (tiring easily); and difficulty with concentration, memory, and emotional stability (mental fatigue). Tiredness, lack of energy, and excessive sleepiness are frequently used to describe fatigue.

Why am I sleeping so much?

Many causes can contribute to excessive sleepiness, which include insufficient sleep, sleep disorders (e.g. sleep-related breathing disorders or sleep-related movement disorders), medications (e.g. benzodiazepines, non-benzodiazepine sedatives, or antihistamines), certain neurological disorders (e.g. Parkinson disease), genetic disorders (e.g. Prader-Willi syndrome), medical conditions (e.g. hypothyroidism or obesity), and psychiatric disorders (e.g. depression or anxiety).

Why do I feel so weak and tired?

A variety of systemic disorders can give you the feeling of weakness without making you truly weak, which include cardiopulmonary (heart/lung) disease, joint disease, anemia, body wasting due to malignancy/chronic infectious or inflammatory disease, depression, and fatigue. Causes for primary muscle weakness include muscle diseases (myopathy), and damages to various parts of the nervous system.

What is chronic fatigue syndrome like?

Key features include easy fatigability and difficulty concentrating, and are often associated with additional symptoms (e.g. difficulty sleeping and muscle aches). Onset is often sudden and associated with a typical infection such as an upper respiratory infection or mononucleosis (mono). Excessive physical activity typically exacerbate the symptoms.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Fatigue

  • Q.Is your fatigue getting any better or worse?
  • Q.Is your fatigue constant or come-and-go?
  • Q.How long has your fatigue been going on?
  • Q.How fatigued are you?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our fatigue symptom checker.

Take a quiz

Fatigue Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced fatigue have also experienced:

    • 6% Nausea
    • 5% Headache
    • 4% Muscle Aches
  • People who have experienced fatigue had symptoms persist for:

    • 34% Over a Month
    • 24% Less Than a Week
    • 19% Less Than a Day
  • People who have experienced fatigue were most often matched with:

    • 6% Common Cold
    • 3% Sleep Deprived
    • 2% Insomnia Disorder

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Fatigue Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having fatigue.

Take a quiz