Why We Can Become Fatigued

Young lady going to sleep

Fatigue is a common condition. In fact, to a certain extent fatigue is a fact of life. It is well within your interests, though, to understand what fatigue is, what is acceptable, and how to best manage your life to moderate fatigue and related conditions.

What Is Meant By Fatigue?

If you are feeling extremely weak or tired, and finding it more difficult to perform your usual activities, then you may be suffering from fatigue.

Everyone is affected differently by fatigue. Some people may feel exceptionally tired, as if all they want to do is stay in bed and get more sleep. Fatigue affects some people as pain and others may feel out of control.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is fatigue accompanied by other symptoms for an extended length of time.

Individuals with this condition may experience:

  • Recurrent muscle pain
  • Sore throat
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Sensitive lymph nodes

Many people who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome often complain of impaired concentration or memory.

Why We Become Fatigued

For many people, the problem lies with too much multi-tasking and not getting an adequate amount of quality sleep. However, if you are getting the recommended seven or eight hours of sleep every night and you are still fatigued, you should let your doctor know so he or she can help you determine the cause, especially if you have felt extraordinarily tired for more than a week.

Occasionally, fatigue is a sign of a more serious condition, but most of the time it is a simple problem that can be easily fixed.

  • Anaemia – Some women who have heavy menstrual cycles, have recently given birth or have uterine polyps or fibroid tumours may develop anaemia due to the loss of blood.  The blood loss leads to decreased haemoglobin, which is an iron-rich protein found in red blood cells that transports oxygen from the lungs to all other parts of the body. When the organs and tissues do not get an adequate amount of oxygen, fatigue is the result.
  • Hypothyroidism – An underactive thyroid can leave you feeling run down, sluggish or depressed.
  • Urinary Tract Infection – Although the more popular symptoms of a urinary tract infection are urgency or burning, fatigue may also be a symptom of the condition.
  • Excessive Caffeine – For many people, a cup of coffee or a bottle of cola is great for a quick energy boost; however, for some, caffeine may actually have the opposite effect. Recent studies indicate that even though caffeine is a stimulant, if taken in excess it can lead to fatigue.
  • Intolerance to Certain Foods – Food is supposed to provide energy, but the mildest food intolerance can cause fatigue. Prolonged ingestion of the offending food may lead to constant exhaustion.
  • Sleep Disorder – If you do not get enough quality sleep, you will be understandably tired. However, if you are unaware that you are not getting the sleep that you need, you may suffer from a condition known as sleep apnoea.  This condition causes you to stop breathing momentarily, which wakes you repeatedly disrupting your cycle of sleep. If you suffer from sleep apnoea, you may feel fatigued no matter how long you think you are sleeping at night.

How To Overcome Fatigue

There are many causes of fatigue, several of which can be overcome. Here are a few tips to help keep you healthy and energized:

  1. Drink plenty of water – If you become dehydrated, your bodily functions slow down. In addition, drinking more water will help your get rid of waste.
  2. Breathe easy – Often, people breathe rapidly, taking in only small amounts of oxygen with every breath. Without enough oxygen, the metabolic reactions of the body are unable to do their job.
  3. Eat less more often – Instead of consuming three large meals, try eating more small meals all throughout the day to keep your bodily functions running smooth.
  4. Eat right and exercise to stay healthy – but if you notice an increase in fatigue no matter what you do, talk with your health care provider about the possibility of a more serious condition.

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