How to handle fatigue: There’s more to it than tiredness!
Bajaj Finserv Health Team, General Physician
November 24, 2020
From time to time, you may find yourself feeling lethargic, unexplainably drowsy, or experiencing tiredness. This feeling can mistakenly be thought of as fatigue when, in fact, fatigue is a medical condition that has other serious symptoms linked to it. What is the meaning of fatigue? Simply put, it is the lack of motivation and energy with regards to both the mental and physical aspects of normal function. It can affect almost anyone, at any age, and the reasons for fatigue span a variety of factors, a common one being lifestyle choices.
In some cases, the fix is usually fairly simple to arrive at if the cause is known. For more complicated underlying health conditions, specialised medical care may be needed for fatigue treatment. An example of the latter is the chronic fatigue syndrome, which is an illness that is more than just chronic fatigue. Meaning that the treatment involves everything from lifestyle changes and home remedies to medical diagnosis and assistance.
Given how common fatigue can be, being informed about it is immensely beneficial and this involves a deeper understanding than just a general fatigue definition. Here is a breakdown of the different fatigue symptoms and their causes, alongside key treatment-related pointers.
What is fatigue?
A practical fatigue definition is that it is a symptom that arises in response to physical or mental activity, resulting in an overall lack of motivation and energy. In most cases, fatigue can be relieved by reducing the activity, mental or physical, that caused it. However, there are times when it persists, and you may start experiencing symptoms beyond those of tiredness or lethargy. Fatigue is often confused with drowsiness, but it is important to note that these both symptoms can occur at the same time and are different from each other. This distinction is made by a healthcare professional, considering all the factors that may serve as the reasons for fatigue.
Generally, there are 2 types of fatigue, physical and mental. With the former, the afflicted may find it particularly difficult to undertake physical activities and feel great strain when performing them. With the latter, concentration and focus is affected, resulting in lowered productivity and increased drowsiness, especially when doing work that is mentally demanding.
As it is a symptom and not a disease in itself, there are numerous fatigue causes, encompassing physical and mental health issues. Good examples include improper bodyweight, both being underweight or overweight, and daily activity levels. With the former, being overweight can cause complications like sleep apnoea, of which a common symptom is fatigue. Similarly, being underweight can cause you to tire easily, which can also result in fatigue. With the latter, intense mental activity over a prolonged period results in tiredness, even in healthy individuals.
These are just a few examples, and to highlight the rest, here is a categorised list offered by Medical News Today.
- Metabolic and endocrine health conditions
- Hormonal contraception
- Kidney disease
- Thyroid condition
- Cushing’s syndrome
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Lung and heart conditions
- Coronary heart disease
- Valvular heart disease
- Congestive heart failure
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Medical conditions
- High blood pressure
- Systemic lupus
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Heart disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Drugs, chemicals, substances, and medication
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Anxiety medication
- Mental health conditions
- Emotional exhaustion
- Eating disorders
- Sleep-related health conditions
- Jet lag
- Sleep apnoea
- Reflux esophagitis
Typically, the main fatigue symptom is exhaustion accompanied by you not feeling refreshed or fully rested even after sleeping or reducing the activity that caused the tiredness. Besides this, there are may be other emotional, mental and physical symptoms, which can be as follows.
- Slowed response time
- Blurry vision
- Sore, achy muscles
- Impaired concentration and ability to learn new tasks
- Daytime drowsiness
- Moodiness and irritability
- Apathy or lack of motivation
- Abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, or diarrhoea.
Fatigue treatment relies solely on addressing the cause and that is exactly what a specialist will target. Generally, this is what you can expect as fatigue treatment measures.
- Incorporating daily or regular exercise into your schedule
- Setting in place a regular sleeping pattern
- Practicing good sleep hygiene
- Avoiding stressors
- Eating healthy
- Performing relaxing activities such as meditation
- Staying hydrated
When it comes to fatigue, the worst thing to do is ignore the early signs and expect them to pass by without any help. In most cases, you will need to intervene with small changes such as tweaks to your routine, while in others, you may need medical care. Given that you may need professional help, the best approach here is to take away the guess work and seek healthcare at the earliest. This gives you the best chance at making a speedy recovery and helps you avoid extreme fatigue and the other health complications. Thankfully, with provisions like the Bajaj Finserv Health app, availing such healthcare is a quick, easy, and simple task, all done from your smartphone.
With this app, you get access to a whole suite of telemedicine benefits. Right from the ability to find specialists in your area to booking appointments online and opting for virtual video consultations, you truly have access to digital healthcare. What’s more, this app also features the ‘Health Vault’ feature that allows you to track your vitals, maintain digital patient records, and digitally transfer these crucial bits of information to healthcare specialists. This makes remote healthcare that much more effective and accessible, particularly for fatigue treatment. To take advantage of these features, download the app for free from Google Play or the Apple App store today!