Chronic fatigue is fatigue that lasts for a prolonged period of time.
We tend to get overtired or overworked from time to time. At such times of temporary fatigue, they are usually an identifiable cause and a likely remedy.
Chronic fatigue, on the other hand, lasts for a longer period of time and isn’t relieved by rest. It is nearly a constant state of weariness which develops over time and reduces your energy, motivation, and even concentration. Fatigue at this level can also have impacts on your emotional and psychological well-being.
What Is Fatigue – Fatigue Definition
Fatigue is described as a lack of energy and motivation (both physical and mental). Fatigue is different than drowsiness, which is a term that describes the need to sleep.
Aside drowsiness, other symptoms that can be confused with fatigue include shortness of breath with activity and muscle weakness.
Fatigue can also be a normal response to physical and mental activity, but in most normal individuals it is relieved quickly by reducing the activity.(usually some hours to about a day, and depends on the intensity of the activity).
Depression, anxiety and other psychiatric issues may also be the reason for fatigue, it is important to make certain that there is not an underlying physical illness that is the root cause.
Causes Of Fatigue
Most of the causes of fatigue can be traced to one or more of your habits or routines, and also a lack of exercise. Fatigue is also commonly related to depression and anxiety. On some occasions, fatigue may likely be a symptom of other underlying conditions requiring medical treatment.
Identifying the things or factors that might be responsible for your fatigue is often the first step towards achieving relief. Fatigue may be related to the following:
- Lack of sleep
- Use of alcohol or drugs
- Excessive physical activity
- Jet lag
- Lack of physical activity
- Certain medications, such as antihistamines, cough medicines
- Some unhealthy eating habits
Chronic fatigue may also be a sign of some conditions or effects of the drugs or therapies used to treat it. They include:
- Acute liver failure
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Diabetes mellitus
- Chronic infection
- Chronic inflammation
- Chronic kidney disease
- Meralgia paresthetica
- Heart diseases
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Sleep apnea
- Traumatic brain injury
- Persistent pain
- Multiple sclerosis
- Certain medications and treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, pain drugs, heart drugs and antidepressants.
Symptoms Of Chronic Fatigue
Sometimes, the symptom of chronic fatigue has a gradual onset and the person may not even be aware of how much energy have been lost until they try to compare their ability to complete tasks from one-time frame to another. They may even presume that their fatigue is as a result of aging and ignore these symptoms of chronic fatigue which may lead to a delay in seeking care.
Fatigue may be a symptom of an underlying disease and may be described in many ways from feeling weak to being constantly tired or even lacking energy.
Other associated symptoms of chronic fatigue which may be dependent on the underlying cause include:
- Persons heart disease, lung disease, or anemia who may complain of shortness of breath or tire easily from a minimal activity.
- Persons with diabetes mellitus
- Persons who have hypothyroidism and may also have symptoms of feeling cold, dry skin and brittle hair.
Other symptoms associated with fatigue include:
- Weight loss
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle weakness
Treatment Of Fatigue
Since fatigue is a symptom of an underlying medical condition, the treatment usually depends on the condition that is causing the fatigue, regardless of if its physical, psychological or a combination of the two.
Some symptoms of chronic fatigue may resolve as soon as the underlying condition is treated. For instance, individuals who are anemic will begin to feel much better as soon as their red blood cell count increases, while those who are recovering from infectious mononucleosis may require few weeks to have their energy levels return to normal.
Read more on the treatment of fatigue here.