Fatigue is more than just feeling sleepy or tired. When you feel fatigued, you are too exhausted and unmotivated to do anything. Even the simplest tasks seem too difficult. Fatigue affects nearly everyone at one time or another. It can be caused by stressful situations in your life that may affect your eating habits, exercise schedule and sleep quality. Other times, there seems to be no reason for your fatigue. Here are some common medical causes of fatigue, when to see your doctor and ways to fix it.
When to See a Doctor
Fatigue is often caused by non-medical issues like lack of sleep, poor diet and lack of exercise. If you have a cold or the flu, you will also feel fatigued. Going through a stressful time can also affect your energy levels. The first thing to do when you experience fatigue is to make changes to your lifestyle. Change your diet so that it is full of healthy, whole foods and drink plenty of water. Begin exercising regularly and focus on getting enough sleep. You may also need to take steps to reduce stress in your life, like practicing yoga, confronting a friend or coworker, or leaving a relationship. If you have taken these steps and still experience fatigue, then it is time to visit your doctor.
What to Expect from Your Doctor
When you see your doctor, they will ask you about your diet, exercise habits, sleep and stress levels. They will also want to know more about how you feel and if anything helps you feel less fatigued. Expect to have a full physical done and to answer many questions about your mental and physical wellbeing. Your doctor will probably also order blood work to help determine if there are any underlying diseases or conditions causing your fatigue. They will want to check for vitamin deficiencies, electrolyte levels, glucose levels, and get a complete blood cell count. Your blood may be also tested to check for signs of inflammation, thyroid hormones, and iron levels. Your doctor may also recommend a sleep test, cardio tests, and further testing, depending on your symptoms.
Common Medical Causes of Fatigue
There are several medical causes of fatigue. Here are just a few diseases and complications your doctor will be checking for:
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Infection or Inflammation
How Fatigue is Treated
Fortunately, there are many easily fixable issues that cause fatigue. If you have anemia, your doctor may prescribe iron supplements and recommend changes to your diet. For thyroid diseases (both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism), you can take medication and hormones to adjust your thyroid levels. If you have a vitamin deficiency, then your doctor can tell you the proper number of supplements you should take to increase your vitamin and mineral levels. Other treatments for fatigue include heart medication, antibiotics, and CPAP machines. Your doctor will be able to answer all your questions about the best treatment for your fatigue.
Fatigue can make you feel overwhelmed. You may feel like you will never have energy again. However, there is hope. The best way to fight fatigue is to maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet and get enough sleep. Regular physical exams are also important in fighting fatigue. Your doctor can catch diseases or complications that can cause fatigue before your symptoms become difficult to manage. If you feel like you are suffering from fatigue and cannot figure out why, then call your doctor immediately. They can help you find relief so you can have energy and enjoy life again.