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Chronic Tiredness: 5 Common Causes of Fatigue

A woman lying in bed with her hand on her head looking miserable

Chronic tiredness and fatigue can have a major impact on your life, making it difficult to perform daily tasks. Work, social life and family relationships can all suffer when you’re feeling too tired to participate fully. Finding the cause of chronic tiredness is the key to beating fatigue. Here are five common causes of fatigue.

What is fatigue?

Fatigue is a feeling of constant tiredness or weakness and can be physical, mental or a combination of both. It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. Fatigue can be caused by a number of factors working in combination, such as medical conditions, unhealthy lifestyle choices, workplace problems and stress.

Fatigue can cause a vast range of other physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

  • chronic tiredness or sleepiness
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • sore or aching muscles
  • muscle weakness
  • slowed reflexes and responses
  • impaired decision-making and judgement
  • moodiness, such as irritability
  • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
  • appetite loss
  • reduced immune system function
  • blurry vision
  • short-term memory problems
  • poor concentration
  • hallucinations
  • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand
  • low motivation.

Let’s dive into the top five most common causes of fatigue:

  1. Weight
    • Being overweight puts a strain on your heart, limbs and general health, making it more difficult to maintain stable energy levels. Carrying extra weight also puts you at risk of insulin resistance, which can cause an imbalance of blood glucose levels, leaving you feeling tired, weak and irritable. Being underweight can also have a negative impact on your energy levels.
    • Diets and weight loss programs that rely on calorie restriction or avoiding major food groups, such as carbohydrates or fats, can also cause fatigue, as well as nutritional deficiencies. Eating a balanced diet is crucial for maintaining physical and mental health, so it’s important to seek advice from a doctor or nutritional therapist before starting a restrictive diet plan
    • Physical activity is known to improve fitness, health and wellbeing, reduce stress, and boost energy levels. It also helps you sleep.
  1. Diet
    • Eating a diet high in processed food, refined carbohydrates and sugar can cause wild fluctuations in blood glucose levels, causing sudden tiredness, weakness and irritability. It can also lead to food cravings and nutritional deficiencies that make the problem worse. Increasing your intake of whole grains, high-quality protein, fruit and vegetables can make a huge difference to your physical and mental health.
    • Low kilojoule diets, low carbohydrate diets or high energy foods that are nutritionally poor don’t provide the body with enough fuel or nutrients to function at its best. Quick fix foods, such as chocolate bars or caffeinated drinks, only offer a temporary energy boost that quickly wears off and worsens fatigue.
  1. Digestive Problems
    • Digestive problems and diseases, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), leaky gut syndrome and reflux disease, can all affect your energy levels. In addition, digestive problems and diseases of the gut can make it more difficult for your body to absorb nutrients from your food, increasing the risk of nutritional deficiencies.
  1. Stress
    • Stress takes its toll on your body, leading to fatigue, lethargy, unexplained pain and a general sense of being unwell. Stress also robs your body of vital vitamins and minerals, leading to nutritional deficiencies that can affect your energy levels, stamina and cognitive abilities. Chronic stress that lasts for several weeks or months can even lead to serious disease, including hypertension and heart disease, so it’s important to address the cause of long-term stress as quickly as possible.
  1. Sleep
    • Lack of sleep or too much sleep can often cause fatigue. It is recommended that adults get about 8 hours of sleep per night to allow their body to feel recharged. If you do not get an adequate amount of sleep your body won’t feel recharged and you can feel its effects physically and mentally. At the same time getting too much sleep can also negatively impact you. Adults sleeping more than 11 hours per night can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness.

Fatigue is a common problem that affects people of all ages. Weight, diet, digestive problems, stress and sleep can all cause or make fatigue worse. However, it’s important to talk to your doctor if fatigue is affecting your daily routine, as it could be a sign of health problems that require medical treatment.

Speaking with your doctor is the number one step to help you fight chronic tiredness/fatigue. Your doctor may suggest you booking a consultation with our Tomah Health Sleep Services to see if there is a reason for low quality sleep. To learn more visit: Sleep Services | Tomah Health

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