Fatigued all the time? Possible causes

By: Osler Health International
Posted on: 6 May 2022

Feeling tired from time to time is usually not a cause for concern, but chronic fatigue can be debilitating and a sign of underlying medical conditions. To treat fatigue, you must first identify the root cause. Here are five possible reasons why you’re fatigued all the time.

1. Poor sleep quality

On top of getting the recommended 7 hours of sleep every night, the quality of sleep matters as well. To wake up refreshed and energised, it is essential to get restful, uninterrupted sleep that allows your body to go through multiple sleep cycles. Each sleep cycle comprises three stages of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and one stage of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Obtaining sufficient sleep in each stage is critical for the brain and body to recuperate for optimal performance.

To improve your sleep quality, make it a point to maintain healthy sleep habits. This includes:

  • Sticking to a consistent sleep schedule
  • Avoiding caffeine, nicotine and alcohol before bed
  • Ensuring a conducive sleep environment by removing electronics and keeping your bedroom dark, cool and quiet

If you find that you’re still experiencing fatigue despite lifestyle adjustments, consult your doctor for advice and to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

2. Anaemia

Anaemia is a medical condition where the body produces insufficient red blood cells to transport oxygen around the body. As a result, anaemic individuals often suffer from fatigue and weakness. Other signs of anaemia may include shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, dizziness and chest pain.

Anaemia could be hereditary or caused by external factors, including iron and vitamin deficiencies, chronic inflammatory diseases and autoimmune diseases. If left untreated, it could lead to severe health complications, including debilitating fatigue, heart issues and even death. If you suspect that you have anaemia, please consult us immediately and we can do the necessary tests.

3. Thyroid issues

Fatigue is one of the most common signs of thyroid conditions. When the thyroid hormones are unregulated, an overactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) or an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can result. Apart from extreme fatigue and exhaustion, you may also observe symptoms of weight gain or loss, a fluctuating pulse rate, skin changes and altered vision.

Speak to your doctor if you suspect thyroid issues are the cause of your fatigue. Medication may be prescribed to regulate your thyroid hormone levels.

4. Depression

Depression is a mood disorder characterised by intense feelings of sadness, grief and anger. People who suffer from depression may experience low energy levels, resulting in daytime tiredness. They may also find it challenging to fall asleep at night.

Other signs of depression may include:

  • Lack of interest in activities that were once enjoyable 
  • Irritability 
  • Appetite changes 
  • Weight loss
  • Crying a lot 
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Please speak to your doctor immediately if you find that you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms. The doctors at Osler Health have a wealth of experience in supporting those who are going through mental health challenges.

5. Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that occurs during sleep. With sleep apnea, your breathing stops temporarily when you’re in a slumber, resulting in a lower blood oxygen level. This prompts your brain to awaken you briefly so that you can start breathing normally again. While you may not remember these occurrences, they could hinder your ability to achieve deep, restful sleep. As a result, people who suffer from sleep apnea often feel fatigued even after a complete night’s sleep. Other signs of sleep apnea include loud snoring, gasping for air while asleep, difficulty focusing during the day and waking up with a headache.

If you suspect you have sleep apnea, consult your doctor for a diagnosis and available treatments.

6. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a disorder characterised by extreme fatigue and exhaustion. This complex condition does not improve with sufficient sleep, and cannot be explained by an underlying medical condition.

While there is no cure for CFS, there are treatments available to alleviate its symptoms. If you’re experiencing persistent fatigue with no apparent cause, speak to your doctor to rule out underlying conditions.

Sleep is so important to our daily functioning however 35% of all adults in the U.S. report sleeping on average for less than seven hours per night. This can adversely affect your health and wellbeing.

If you are experiencing persistent tiredness and fatigue, Osler Health can help. Speak to our kind and experienced doctors today.

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