Generally feeling tired all the time, with a lack of energy and motivation to complete tasks, is known as fatigue. For the most part, fatigue is caused by habits, diet, and routine behaviors, but occasionally, it can be a sign of an underlying health condition. 

Fatigue goes beyond just feeling sleepy all the time, and tiredness is symptoms of fatigue. With fatigue, you also lack motivation, and the feeling persists despite rest and sleep. 

Causes of Fatigue

Fatigue can be caused by one of several lifestyle factors including:

♦ Unhealthy eating and obesity
♦ Use of illicit drugs
♦ Excessive alcohol consumption
♦ Lack of physical activity
♦ Periods of emotional stress
♦ Use of illicit drugs
♦ Sleep disturbances or sleep disorders

There are also several medical conditions that can cause fatigue, and in these cases, fatigue will not be resolved until the underlying cause is treated. A proper diagnosis and effective treatment plan can help reduce the symptoms of these conditions, and fatigue should go away. 

The most common health conditions that are known to cause fatigue are:

Anemia: The lack of red blood cells associated with this condition, means oxygen is not transported through the body effectively. As a result, muscles become tired and weakened.

Arrhythmia: This condition affects the heart’s ability to pump blood effectively, which can result in a lack of blood to the body, causing fatigue.

Cancer: As your body fights cancer, you expend energy and become easily fatigued. The treatment for cancer also causes fatigue, but energy levels are usually restored six months after treatment is complete.

Chronic Infections: As your body fights infection, the immune system uses all energy resources, leaving your bran and body tired and weak until the infection is clear. 

Chronic Inflammation: Inflammation triggers faster metabolic reactions in the body, which use up energy. As a result, you feel tired and fatigued more often.

♦ Congestive heart failure: Heart failure weakens your heart, preventing it from efficiently pumping blood through the body, which makes fatigue a common symptom of this condition.

♦ Coronary artery disease: This disease typically only causes symptoms once it is advanced, but when symptoms occur, they can include dizziness, shortness of breath, and fatigue. 

Diabetes: Uncontrolled blood glucose levels can result in hyperglycemia, which is commonly associated with fatigue. Anemia is also common with diabetes, which further increases the likelihood of fatigue. 

♦ Heart medications: Medications such as beta-blockers are designed to lower blood pressure, but they also cause tiredness and fatigue as they slow your heart rate down.

Thyroid issues: An underactive (hypothyroidism) or overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) both affect metabolic rate and body function. Both conditions can leave you feeling fatigued every day. 

Fibromyalgia: This chronic condition is characterized by widespread pain, and fatigue is often a common complaint. Being that the pain is likely related to inflammation, the increased metabolic rate caused by inflammation also causes tiredness and fatigue.

Depression: Depression causes a lack of interest and motivation, which results in low activity. As a result, fatigue develops, which then contributes to a relapse of lack of motivation. 

Types of Fatigue

You can experience different types of fatigue. Mental fatigue relates to difficulty concentrating and having problems staying awake. Physical fatigue involves finding it difficult to perform activities you normally complete in the day, such as walking upstairs. 

You can also experience muscle weakness. It is important to distinguish between tiredness and fatigue because tiredness can be resolved with sleep, whereas fatigue does not improve with rest. 

It’s important to note that sleepiness is a symptom of fatigue.

Treatment for Fatigue

In most cases of fatigue, your doctor will prescribe medications like antibiotics or vitamins. They also might recommend lifestyle changes, such as getting more exercise and following a healthy and balanced diet. 

In cases where fatigue is caused by an underlying medical condition, treatment will depend on that cause. Testing can be performed to identify underlying causes of fatigue, with the most common tests being blood tests and urine tests. 

Anti-inflammatory medications are commonly prescribed, along with other medications to reduce fatigue or inflammatory-based fatigue. In cases where the heart and circulatory system are implicated, medications that regulate heart rate, blood pressure, and cholesterol may be prescribed. Thyroid disorders are treated with medications that help stabilize the production of thyroid hormones. 

Natural Treatment for Fatigue

The doctor may give you prescriptions to treat any underlying conditions causing fatigue, but there are also additional things you can try at home to reduce fatigue. 

♦ Drink plenty of water throughout the day to avoid dehydration.
♦ Get plenty of sleep each night.
♦ Practice healthy eating habits, and follow a balanced diet.
♦ Get regular exercise daily.
♦ Avoid known stressors and triggers of emotional stress.
♦ Practice relaxation therapy by including yoga and meditation in your routine.
♦ Avoid alcohol, smoking, and illicit drug use.

When to See Your Doctor

Fatigue can begin to interfere with your quality of life by preventing you from performing daily activities. When fatigue becomes persistent and presents alongside other symptoms, then it is important to seek medical attention right away. 

The additional symptoms to watch out for include:

♦ Dizziness or feeling faint
♦ A high body temperature
♦ Unexplained weight loss
♦ Sensitivity to cold temperatures
♦ Severe abdominal, back, or pelvic pain
♦ Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
♦ Severe headache or migraines
♦ Shortness of breath or chest pain
♦ Vomiting blood
♦ Irregular heartbeat
♦ Suicidal thoughts or severe depression

What Is the Long-Term Outlook?

Lifestyle changes are the best way to improve your health and reduce fatigue. If you have any medical conditions that are causing or contributing to fatigue, then treatment for these conditions. The best long-term approach to fatigue is prevention. 

Promoting a healthy lifestyle through regular activity and a good diet ensures better health and less risk of diseases that can contribute to fatigue. Even if diagnosed with fatigue, you can make these changes and successfully treat and reduce symptoms.