Symptoms

Constant Fatigue – Causes, Treatment

Constant tiredness

The feeling of constant tiredness is a daily burden for many people. In many cases, however, no exact cause can be found despite extensive diagnostics. Tiredness during the day often tends to become chronic and can negatively affect life in all areas.

What is constant fatigue?

Tiredness that occurs at times during the day is still normal in adults and does not necessarily have to be pathological. Diagnostic and therapeutic action is only necessary from a certain degree of severity and when physical or mental processes are affected by fatigue.

Sporadic tiredness in and of itself has no disease value, but constant tiredness does, which must be evaluated as a medical alarm signal. The constant tiredness is usually associated with other unpleasant symptoms such as listlessness , exhaustion , lack of sleep or exhaustion .

The more pronounced the sequence of these symptoms is, the more dramatic and restrictive the reduced quality of life is felt by the affected person. Constant tiredness occurs in all social classes. According to the unanimous opinion of sleep physicians, women are more affected, which is likely to be related, among other things, to the special female hormone system.

After all, more than 30 percent of all adults over the age of 16 state that they suffer from constant tiredness from time to time or frequently. Interestingly, the investigations and surveys have also shown that people from higher social classes and those who live in a partnership are less frequently affected by constant tiredness.

causes

Research into the causes of constant fatigue is particularly important, since serious, life-threatening clinical pictures can also be hidden behind this symptom. In the vast majority of patients, however, no exact cause can be found, despite thorough diagnostics and despite the often high level of suffering. These patients often go to many doctors and therapists in the hope of finding an explanation for their persistent symptoms. The most common cause of constant tiredness is lack of sleep, caused by problems falling asleep or sleeping through the night.

In turn, the lack of sleep can be caused by an unfavorable lifestyle against the natural sleep-wake cycle, for example through shift work. Lack of exercise , obesity , diets , stress and dry, polluted air can also lead to constant tiredness. The more serious causes of constant tiredness include hypothyroidism , anemia , infectious diseases , low blood pressure or tumor diseases .

Anemia can lead to the so-called chronic fatigue syndrome , which is also associated with leaden fatigue. Certain allergies or side effects of certain medications can also make people feel weak and tired all the time. It is known from psychiatry that neuroses , depressions and psychoses can also be temporarily or permanently accompanied by severe feelings of tiredness.

diseases with this symptom

Diagnosis & History

The course of the disease is often chronic, in which case the symptom of constant exhaustion can significantly reduce the overall quality of life. The doctor can often use the anamnesis to narrow down the possible causes of constant tiredness more precisely. For example, the doctor will want to know how tiredness progresses during the day, how long the tiredness lasts or what other symptoms are associated with it. It is also important to know how a patient sleeps or whether he snores.

In this case, extended diagnostics can follow in a sleep laboratory in order to diagnose or rule out the presence of a sleep apnea syndrome. The extended diagnostics include an extensive blood test with which it is possible, for example, to rule out an iron deficiency as the cause. In order to rule out possible organic causes, an ECG , an EEG or a long-term blood pressure measurement can be carried out, among other things .

complications

Chronic fatigue, if left untreated, can worsen to the point of being completely bedridden. This has a massive impact on the quality of life of those affected. Consequential diseases due to lack of exercise or an unbalanced diet are favored. Relatives and friends often react with incomprehension.

In addition, there are their own feelings of being overwhelmed and inadequate, which many patients feel. This mental stress can promote depression . Death is sometimes an indirect result of excruciating exhaustion. A small percentage of suicidal patients actually take their own lives.

Even with treatment, many sufferers have great difficulty coping with their everyday lives. The social environment suffers as a result, primarily the family. Work is limited to what is absolutely necessary, and there is no longer any energy left for activities with children or partners. As some patients report, the energy available to them is barely sufficient for housework.

In addition, the often expensive medicines and dietary supplements as well as the frequent visits to the doctor put a strain on the household budget. Many people who are constantly tired lack the energy to work. Others are forced to work part-time. In any case, the quality of work suffers and the accident potential increases.

When should you go to the doctor?

Constant tiredness can have various causes and does not always require treatment by a doctor. In most cases, this occurs due to stress or sleep disorders and can usually be treated relatively well through self-help means. However, if constant tiredness suddenly occurs and severely restricts the patient in everyday life, a doctor can be consulted. In the worst case, the patient suffers from cancer that leads to fatigue.

It is also advisable to consult a doctor if you are tired due to stress. A psychologist can also be visited directly , since stress and fatigue usually have psychological causes. If the patient does not yet know the cause of the tiredness, a general practitioner can usually be asked for advice. A visit is also recommended if fatigue occurs for no particular reason or without heavy physical exertion. It can also be a serious underlying condition.

Treatment & Therapy

The therapy of constant tiredness should be based on the underlying cause. This applies in particular when serious illnesses or health disorders are the cause. Sleep apnea can now be easily treated with medical aids such as breathing masks. When a patient stops snoring, the constant daytime tiredness often disappears spontaneously.

The heart and circulation are also significantly relieved. Since many patients with sleep apnea are significantly overweight, every pound you lose is also a way to reduce daytime sleepiness. Hypothyroidism, iron deficiency or infections as a cause of chronic fatigue can often be treated surprisingly well once the diagnosis has been made.

If mental illnesses are the cause, then behavioral or movement therapies can help. If a drug side effect is responsible for the symptom of constant tiredness, then in most cases alternative preparations with other active ingredients can often ensure that the tiredness disappears. Drugs for high blood pressure , antihypertensives , often cause fatigue as a side effect.

If the symptom is too severe, then the dose can also be reduced if the main effect of lowering blood pressure is still retained. The so-called power napping, i.e. the small, controlled nap in between, can also be very helpful in overcoming a constant feeling of tiredness.

Outlook & Forecast

Constant fatigue can be caused by many different diseases. In most cases, constant tiredness leads primarily to stress and an aggressive attitude that arises due to lack of sleep. This often leads to social problems. Without treatment, persistent fatigue will not improve unless its cause is identified and treated.

Treatment can take place either through a psychologist or with the help of medication. Often there is another symptom that is the cause behind the constant tiredness. If this symptom is treated successfully, the constant tiredness will also disappear and will not lead to further problems.

In addition to the fatigue itself, those affected often suffer from headaches, back pain and general malaise. Tiredness also affects everyday work and can have a negative impact if left untreated. Changing your diet or exercising often helps to counteract and contain the constant tiredness. Treatment usually leads to a positive course of the disease.

prevention

Even with constant tiredness of unknown cause, patients can do a great deal to feel more vitality and resilience again through sustainable and really consistent changes in lifestyle. It is important to create an individual balance between relaxation and performance so that the vicious circle of overwork and lack of sleep can be broken.

It is always important to ensure a balanced, vitamin-rich and low-fat diet and sufficient fluid intake during the day. Regular exercise, contrast showers and stress reduction also get the circulation going again.

You can do that yourself

Since constant tiredness can significantly limit concentration, special caution is required for certain activities. This includes, for example, driving a car, operating machines or working on scaffolding or ladders. If fatigue is severe or associated with other complications, sufferers may need to avoid such activities. Otherwise, at least very careful consideration is required in each individual case in order not to drastically increase the risk of an accident for yourself and other people.

If the constant tiredness is due to a lack of sleep (e.g. in the case of insomnia ), good sleep hygiene can support treatment. The bed is only used for sleeping and not for sitting or lying down during the day. Quiet evening rituals and relaxation exercises also bring improvements in some cases. Set bedtimes are also an important part of good sleep hygiene .

In addition, eating a healthy diet and staying hydrated can help combat constant fatigue—especially fatigue caused by malnutrition. A nutrient-rich diet can also have positive and supportive effects in the case of mental fatigue (e.g. in the context of depression ), but without replacing targeted treatment.

In order to cope with everyday life with constant tiredness, some sufferers need help from other people. Therefore, it often makes sense to address the problem openly in the family and, if necessary, to ask for temporary support.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.