Feeling tired, fatigued and exhausted is something that affects all of us sometimes, but for some of us, this fatigue never seems to leave us. Over time this ongoing fatigue can wear us down, reducing our performance at work, taking the fun out of family time, and just making everyday life a struggle. In this article we take a closer look at the possible causes behind ongoing fatigue and what you can do about it.
It Isn’t Normal
Fatigue may be common, but that doesn’t mean it’s normal, and it certainly doesn’t mean that you have to live with it. Many of us with fatigue may chalk it up to a busy lifestyle, and most of the time we’re probably right. But constant fatigue is our bodies giving us a sign that something is not right, so if your lifestyle is too busy, it’s time to step it down. Give yourself 2-3 weeks to reduce your workload, manage your stress, get to bed earlier, eat better and exercise regularly and see how you feel.
If those changes don’t seem to make much of a difference to your fatigue levels, it may be time to take your investigations further. Exhaustion can be due to a variety of medical conditions, many of which can be treated to help you get your energy and zest back.
Causes of Fatigue
There are many potential causes of fatigue that you could be suffering from, some more serious, and others not so serious. Trying to maintain a healthy, balanced diet, keeping up with a moderate exercise routine and practising good sleep hygiene can help improve many cases of fatigue. Some medical causes of fatigue include low iron and anaemia, thyroid disease, diabetes, depression, auto-immune disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, among other medical conditions.
If you are concerned that a medical condition may be causing your fatigue, visiting your doctor is the best first step towards solving your fatigue issues. From here your doctor may be able to conduct tests or recommend other steps towards managing your fatigue.
Sleep Related Issues
Some fatigue is caused by issues that arise during sleep, that prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep and feeling refreshed. These sleep related issues can include insomnia (sleeplessness), snoring and sleep apnoea, which reduce the quality of sleep and cause major problems in various areas of your life. While those who suffer from sleep apnoea, snoring and insomnia have reduced quality of sleep, these conditions also affect the partners of sufferers, who may have difficulty trying to sleep in close quarters with a sufferer.
How to Get Help
As well as visiting your doctor for some initial tests, if your doctor suspects that sleep related issues such as sleep apnoea, snoring and insomnia are behind your fatigue problem, they may recommend that you visit a sleep clinic for a definitive diagnosis and report about your condition. At a sleep clinic you and your doctor can get a more detailed look at what is going on while you are asleep to identify more precisely the conditions and issues you may be facing during sleeping hours that are causing you to be fatigued.
At a sleep clinic, you will stay the night and sleep there so that various aspect of your bodily function can be monitored while you sleep. Your breathing, brain activity and movement patterns will be tracked during the night to provide data that will help your doctor make a diagnosis of your sleep issues.
Diagnosing and treating sleep issues and fatigue early is crucial as it helps to prevent more serious complications such as lifestyle diseases (diabetes and heart disease), and it may point to areas of your life and health that require a focus of improvement, such as your weight, exercise routine or diet. As new research shows the potentially dangerous and even deadly effects of poor sleep and fatigue on our lives, it’s important to make it a priority to get a good night’s sleep for better health and wellbeing.