6 Causes Of ‘Fatigue’ – Feeling Of Tiredness

6 Causes Of ‘Fatigue’ – Feeling Of Tiredness

Anju is coming today. We were desperately waiting for her. Its Manju’s wedding. Mom had called her 15 days prior to the wedding. Everybody was very excited. Anju got married 2 years ago and was coming to her mother’s place after many months.   

Manju was chatting with Anju. She wanted to tell Anju about the new man in her life, his nature, his job, his side of the family, and her shopping. Anju was listening to Manju while having tea and snacks and also was answering to mom’s questions, and slowly was settling down.

Anju was very happy for Manju and was enjoying also. But she knew that she was feeling tired. Everybody was asking for her suggestions. She wanted to help, but was not able to understand what was happening to her?

You know what they say is actually correct – A mother understands what a child does not say. Mom noticed the change in Anju and asked her if everything is alright. Anju told her mom that she was feeling tired all the time.

Mom immediately took her to the doctor. Anju told the doctor that she can’t think of anything that might account for her fatigue.

What is Fatigue?

Fatigue is a feeling of tiredness or lack of energy. Feeling drowsy or sleepy is not fatigue. When you are fatigued, you have no motivation and no energy. It can be caused by some lifestyle choices such as lack of exercise or poor diet. 

If your fatigue doesn’t resolve with proper rest and nutrition or you suspect it’s caused by an underlying physical or mental health condition, see your doctor.

Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar, also known as B. K. S. Iyengar was the founder of the Yoga as exercise known as “Iyengar Yoga”. He said- 'Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disability and mental distractions, the gate of the soul opens. Our fatigue is often caused not by work but by worry, frustration and resentment.' 

Causes Of Fatigue

1. Not Enough Sleep –

Fatigue is more than just tiredness. It can make it hard for a person to get out of bed in the morning and prevent from fulfilling daily tasks. Poor sleep, particularly when it occurs for a long time, can also lead to fatigue. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

2. Sleep Apnea –

This is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for a short period during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening but it can cause loud snoring and day time fatigue. Being overweight, smoking and drinking alcohol can worsen sleep apnea.

3. Not Eating Right –

What you eat or don’t eat can affect how much you do or don’t sleep. Eat a balanced diet, complete with fruits and vegetables, whole grains and proteins. Eating too little causes fatigue but eating the wrong food can also be a problem. Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

4. Anaemia –

Anaemia is an iron deficiency in the blood. It is one of the leading causes of fatigue in women. Menstrual blood loss can cause an iron deficiency. Taking iron supplements and eating iron-rich food can help.

5. Hypothyroidism –

The thyroid is a small gland at the base of your neck. It controls your metabolisms, the speed at which your body converts fuel into energy. When the gland is underactive and the metabolism functions too slowly, you may feel sluggish and put on weight.

6. Dehydration –

Fatigue can be a sign of dehydration. Whether you are working out or working a desk job, your body needs water to work well and keep cool. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. 

Sleepiness or Fatigue?   

Sleepiness is not fatigue. Sleepiness can occur when a person doesn’t get enough good quality sleep. Sleepiness is more likely to be short-termed than fatigue. Fatigue can result from mental health illness i.e. stress, anxiety, life events, eating disorder etc. Along with mental health, there are endocrine and metabolic reasons for fatigue like thyroid, diabetes, hormonal contraception, kidney disorder etc.  

Being overweight or underweight also increases the risk of fatigue. Overweight can lead to diabetes or sleep apnea etc. and being underweight may tire easily, depending on the cause of their condition. The eating disorder causes chronic diseases and an overactive thyroid can cause weight loss as well as excessive tiredness and fatigue.

The main symptom of fatigue is an exhaustion with physical or mental activity. It might be hard for them to carry out their daily activities including work, household chores, and caring for others.

Symptoms of Fatigue

The symptoms of fatigue may be physical, mental or emotional. Common symptoms associated with fatigue can include –

  • Aching of sore muscles
  • Apathy and lack of motivation
  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Gastrointestinal problems like bloating, abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhoea
  • Headache
  • Moodiness
  • Vision problems

Symptoms tend to get worse after exertion. Diagnosis can be difficult as the causes and symptoms are varied and nonspecific.

Ways to Prevent Fatigue

A small step in the right direction can turn out to be the biggest step of your life. What comes easy won’t last long and what lasts long won’t come easy. Some lifestyle changes can lessen fatigue caused by daily activities

  • Drink enough fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Healthy eating habits
  • Regular exercise
  • Enough sleep
  • Avoid known stresses
  • Start relaxing activities like Yoga
  • Stop alcohol, tobacco and other illicit drugs

Types of Fatigue

Physical fatigue concerns the inability to exert force with one's muscle to the degree that would be expected. This leads to mental fatigue. Mental fatigue may include sleepiness, a general decrease of attention and ability to perform simple or complex tasks.

There are 3 types of fatigue

1. Transient Fatigue – This is acute fatigue caused by extreme sleep restriction.
2. Cumulative Fatigue – This happens when there are repeated mild sleep restriction.
3. Circadian Fatigue – It is the reduced performance during night time hours, adjustment of the body internal clock due to the shift pattern or jet lag etc.

Life is a series of baby steps. Take care of your body. It is the only place you have to live in. Fatigue is the common symptom of many illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, thyroid etc. Talk to your doctor about it. You might not be in the mood to exercise but studies show that physical activities boost energy levels, Yoga is especially effective. 

  • Keep yourself hydrated
  • Lack of sleep leads to day time fatigue
  • Losing extra weight can provide a powerful energy boost. 
  • Check your eating pattern.

As Harry J. Johnson very aptly said that – “The human body has been designed to resist an infinite number of changes and attacks brought about by its environment. The secret of good health lies in successful adjustment to changing stresses on the body.”