January 21, 2021 9:24 am
In the chaos of everyday life, it’s normal to feel tired sometimes. But when you lack energy and your feelings of tiredness linger, you could have a condition known as fatigue. When you feel fatigued more often than not, something more serious than a bad night’s sleep may be to blame.
Most Americans don’t get enough sleep. In fact, 70% of American adults report getting insufficient sleep at least one night each month. That means many of us spend a good bit of our time feeling tired.
But there’s a difference between feeling sleepy sometimes and being tired all the time. When fatigue takes over your life, it can diminish your energy and your motivation to get things done—and it’s worth uncovering the cause.
Potential Causes of Fatigue
If you’re affected by fatigue, there are many different possible causes, ranging from minor to serious.
Your first step should be to revisit your sleep habits, ensuring that you’re positioning yourself for optimal sleep. Set and maintain a consistent sleep schedule, keep your bedroom cool and dark, limit electronics use inside the bedroom, and build a routine to help you wind down at night.
But if those sleep basics don’t help, one of these causes might to be blame and it’s worth speaking with your doctor:
- A virus. You’d probably know it if you were sick, but it’s worth mentioning that most viruses, including the flu and COVID-19, cause extreme fatigue. If you’re also experiencing respiratory symptoms, it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor about testing.
- A sleep disorder. Sleep disorders, like narcolepsy and sleep apnea, are incredibly common in the United States, affecting about 70 million Americans. Because these impact the quality and duration of your sleep, they can contribute to fatigue.
- Depression or another mental health condition. Sleep is closely linked with your mental health. When you’re not getting enough quality sleep, your mental health can be affected. The reverse is also true: When you’re affected by a mental health issue such as depression, your sleep may suffer.
- Thyroid issues. The thyroid may be a small gland, but when it isn’t working correctly, it can have a big impact. An underactive thyroid, known as hypothyroidism, can cause fatigue and a lack of energy.
- Diabetes. While intense thirst and frequent urination are the most common symptoms of diabetes, fatigue can also be a symptom. When your body isn’t getting the right amount of insulin, energy may diminish.
- Cancer. Persistent or overwhelming fatigue can be an initial symptom for some types of cancer, including lymphoma or leukemia. But it’s important to note that if cancer is the cause, you will typically have other symptoms along with fatigue.
Feeling fatigued more often than not? Check in with your primary care provider to determine if an underlying medical condition is to blame.
This post was written by Magnolia Regional Health Center