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Tiredness or fatigue means having less energy than usual, you feel exhausted physically, mentally or both. It’s a normal part of life but if it persists for too long, it can be a sign of medical problem.

We’ve all experienced tiredness in our lives, usually there is a reason like new baby keeping you up or illness like cold, even late nights with your mate or long hours at work. Tiredness with no apparent reason can be a problem and it’s very common.

What Are The Causes of Tiredness?

A. Physical Causes of Tiredness include

  1. Lack of iron (Anaemia)
  2. Underactive thyroid (Hypothyroidism)
  3. Diabetes
  4. Heart failure
  5. Bowel problems like coeliac disease
  6. Chest illnesses like Asthma or COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
  7. Addison’s disease (lack or low level of hormone from adrenal glands)
  8. Carbon monoxide poisoning
  9. Vitamin D deficiency
  10. Breathing problems at night interfering with sleep (Obstructive Sleep Apnoea)
  11. Waking up at night frequently to pass urine due to overactive bladder or enlarged prostate
  12. Pregnancy
  13. Glandular fever (usually present as sore throat)
  14. Pain from other medical conditions
  15. Side effects of medications

 

B. Psychological Causes of Tiredness

This is much more common than physical causes and it includes: Depression, anxiety, eating disorders especially if underweight or overweight. Sleep problem, stress, bereavement, domestic violence and boredom.

 

C. Lifestyle Causes of Tiredness

Busy lifestyles can often result in tiredness as we cram too much into our lives. Lifestyle causes includes;

  1. Excessive consumption of alcohol
  2. Having an unhealthy or unbalanced diet
  3. Excessive Exercise or lack of exercise
  4. Working night shift, which may lead to poor sleep pattern and result in tiredness
  5. Big life event such as getting married or moving house
  6. Taking recreational drugs

 

What Is The Treatment For Tiredness?

It is advisable that you see your GP if you feel tired unusually for more than four weeks or sooner if you feel unwell.  Your GP will explore for causes as listed above and you might need to have physical examination and some people will require further investigations.

Treatment is geared towards any identifiable cause and sometimes no treatment is an option.

–           It may seem bizarre, regular moderate exercises like swimming, walking and cycling can help you feel less tired.

–           Improve your sleep if sleep is a problem and this in turn may improve your tiredness.

–           It is advisable that we sort out the stress in our lives, avoid bottling up your worries. Try to share with a family member, a friend or consider a Counsellor.

There is no single answer for treatment of tiredness.  However, even if no cause is found, in most people, it settles on its own with time.