We all live such busy lives these days that it is easy to ignore, or write off, feeling tired as a product of being over extended. And lots of the time, this is the case but it isn't always so. Give yourself 2-3 weeks to make lifestyle changes: get more sleep, quiet your social life, eat better, drink more water, cut back on caffeine and alcohol and take a multivitamin. "If you're still feeling the symptoms of fatigue after those changes, then you need professional help," says Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, MD, an internal medicine doctor in Atlanta. Being constantly exhausted could be a sign of something else.
Here are a few things
it could be:
The fatigue that accompanies anemia is due to the lack of red blood cells, which carry oxygen from your lungs to your other tissues. Anemia may be caused by an iron or vitamin deficiency, blood loss, internal bleeding, or a chronic disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, or kidney failure. Women in their childbearing years are particularly susceptible to iron deficiency anemia due to the blood loss each month during menstruation.
Fatigue is a big one. Other symptoms include, extreme weakness, difficulty sleeping, lack of concentration, rapid heartbeat, chest pains, and headache.
Physical exams and blood tests, including a complete blood count, to check red blood cell levels are often conducted. It is also not unusual to test the stool for blood loss.
2. Thyroid Disease
When thyroid hormones are not working properly, it is easy to feel exhausted by everyday life. The thyroid produces hormones that are crucial to the functioning of your metabolism. Too much and your metabolism speeds up (hyperthyroidism), too little and it slows to a crawl (hypothyroidism).
Hyperthyroidism causes muscle fatigue and weakness. Other symptoms include unexplained weightloss, feeling warm all the time, increased heart rate, shorter and less frequent menstrual flows, and increased thirst. This is most commonly diagnosed in women in their 20s and 30s. Hypothyroidism causes fatigue, n inability to concentrate, and muscle soreness, even with minor activity. Other symptoms include weight gain due to water retention, feeling cold all the time (even in warmer weather), heavier and more frequent menstrual flows, and constipation. This is most common in women over 50.
Thyroid disease can be detected in a blood test. "Thyroid disorders are so treatable that a thyroid test should be done in all people who complain of fatigue and/or muscle weakness," says Robert J. McConnell, MD, codirector of the New York Thyroid Center at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.
Over a million people are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes annually and countless others don't even know they have it. People with type 2 diabetes are not able to use glucose properly and since that is the main fuel for the body, they often report fatigue as their first symptom.
Outside of fatigue, symptoms include increased thirst, frequent urination, hunger, weight loss, irritability, yeast infections and blurred vision.
There are two main tests for diabetes. The fasting plasma glucose test, which is more common, measures your blood glucose level after fasting for 8 hours. With the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), blood is drawn twice: just before drinking a glucose syrup, then 2 hours later.
Depression is a major illness that affects the way we function in life from how we eat to how we sleep. Left untreated, it could continue for years.
The symptoms are not the same for everyone but they commonly include, decreased energy, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, problems with memory and concentration, and feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and negativity.
There isn't a simple blood test or anything for depression but your doctor may be able to diagnose it by asking a series of questions.
5. Rheumatoid arthritis
RA is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the immune system on itself and begins attacking healthy joint tissue.
Rheumatologists look for at least four of the following criteria in diagnosing RA: morning stiffness in and around the joints lasting at least 1 hour before maximum improvement; at least three joint areas with simultaneous soft tissue swelling or fluid; at least one joint area swollen in a wrist, knuckle, or the middle joint of a finger; simultaneous involvement of the same joint areas on both sides of the body; lumps of tissue under the skin; and bone erosion in the wrist or hand joints, detected by x-ray.
A physical exam by a rheumatologist can detect a lot but there is also a test for the rheumatoid factor which is an antibody found in the blood. The test is not conclusive but 80% of the people who have RA test positive for the antibody.
6. Chronic Fatigue
This condition causes extreme fatigue that comes on quickly. These people become extremely exhausted with little exertion.
Other signs include headache, muscle and joint pain, weakness, tender lymph nodes, and an inability to concentrate. What's scary is the chronic fatigue has no known cause.
Unfortunately, there isn't one. Your doctor will have to rule out other illnesses with similar symptoms (like lupus and multiple sclerosis) before a diagnosis can be made.
7. Sleep Apnea
If you are waking up tired, no matter how much rest you, you may have this sleep disrupting disorder. Sleep apnea is a disorder that is characterized by interruptions to breathing while sleeping. This airway closure alerts your brain to wake you up so you can start to breathe again. This may mean you wake dozens of times a night without even realizing it.
Sleep apnea often characterized by snoring and waking tired the next day. Sleep apnea can lead to a whole bunch of other illnesses so it is important to get checked out.
Generally speaking, you will have to spend the night at a sleep clinic where they will monitor your breathing, sleep patterns and brain activity.
Are you someone who is always tired? Do you see yourself in any of these possible causes?
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