Fatigue - Causes

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Fatigue Causes

The potential causes of fatigue are numerous. The majority of diseases known to man often list fatigue or malaise as possible associated symptoms. This is complicated by the fact that fatigue can occur in normal healthy individuals as a normal response to physical and mental exertion. However, normal fatigue may begin to become abnormal if it becomes chronic, extreme or prolonged fatigue; usually this occurs when a person experiences chronic or prolonged physical or mental exertion. For example, unusually hard physical or mental exertion for one day can result in normal fatigue that may last about a day or sometimes more, depending on the exertion level, while daily unusually hard physical or mental exertion may result in prolonged fatigue (usually greater than 24 to 48 hours). This latter situation may develop into abnormal fatigue.

The causes of fatigue can be classified under several broad disease entities or lifestyle problems that have fatigue as an associated symptom. The following table categorizes numerous causes of fatigue. This table is not meant to be all inclusive.

The following table summarizes some common causes of fatigue but is not meant to be comprehensive:

Common Causes of Fatigue

Metabolic/
Endocrine
anemia; hypothyroidism; diabetes; electrolyte abnormalities; kidney disease; liver disease; Cushing's disease
Infectious infectious mononucleosis; hepatitis; tuberculosis; Cytomegalovirus; HIV infection; influenza (flu); malaria and many other infectious diseases
Cardiac (heart) and Pulmonary (lungs) congestive heart failure; coronary artery disease; valvular heart disease; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); asthma; arrhythmias; pneumonia
Medications antidepressants; anti-anxiety medications; sedative medications; medication and drug withdrawal; antihistamines; steroids; some blood pressure medications; some antidepressants
Psychiatric (Mental Health) depression; anxiety; drug abuse; alcohol abuse; eating disorders (for example; bulimia; anorexia); grief and bereavement
Sleep Problems sleep apnea; reflux esophagitis; insomnia; narcolepsy; work shift work or work shift changes; pregnancy; extra night hours at "work"
Other cancer; rheumatology illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus; fibromyalgia; chronic fatigue syndrome; normal muscle exertion; obesity; chemotherapy and radiation therapy

Return to Fatigue

See what others are saying

Comment from: sk, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: May 30

Feel listless all the time for last one year. Though my work does not involve much physical activity, yet by evening the exhaustion is so much that I do not feel like socializing but just wait for dinner and then in a hurry to go to sleep. I sleep for 7-8 hours but I wake up feeling exhausted.

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Comment from: mom73, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 17

I am also plagued by severe fatigue. I have all kinds of blood work done and am now on a ferrous sulfate supplement and monthly B12 shots. Things have improved somewhat but my body still feels exhausted no matter how much sleep I get. I do work and keep busy. I have to push myself very hard to do so. I wish there was some help for this problem.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

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