Do you catch yourself thinking that you are more tired than others? Check if your fatigue can turn into one of the eight dangerous diseases.
The fight of immunity against any ailment involves a significant waste of energy. And often, against the background of hidden diseases, there is increased fatigue, drowsiness and a constant lack of energy. What dangerous diseases can they warn about and why is it important to be alert?
Fatigue is often complained of in the doctor’s office. “Fatigue is perhaps the most common symptom reported by people, and by itself it cannot indicate a diagnosis,” says Roxana Sukol, MD, a specialist in preventive medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. But how to understand that it’s time to sound the alarm?
“There are so many different ways to measure fatigue,” says Ann Cappola, MD, from the Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at the University of Pennsylvania. — Does this mean that you sleep more? Or can’t you train as long as before? Or don’t you have enough energy at the end of the day? There is physical fatigue, as well as emotional fatigue and psychological fatigue. People underestimate the impact of psychological stress on energy levels, but looking back, after this stress has passed, they realize how tired they are.”
Sometimes there is no question of any real health problems, since many people do not look at their capabilities very realistically. “Our society builds the belief that you should be on the run all the time, but for many of us this is an unstable approach,” says Cappola. “If your schedule has changed, or you haven’t had enough sleep, or something else is going on, feeling tired is a natural thing.”
To distinguish simple fatigue associated with too stressful rhythm of life or stress from fatigue caused by any diseases, you need to pay attention to other symptoms. Here are eight dangerous diseases, as well as related symptoms that will help distinguish one from the other and determine what measures need to be taken.
Along with intense thirst and frequent urination, fatigue often remains one of the first and most striking symptoms of diabetes. Lack of energy occurs when the body struggles to cope with the amount of glucose in the blood, and leads to severe exhaustion, which is difficult to miss.
Anemia is a condition in which there are not enough healthy, oxygen—carrying red blood cells in the blood. “There are many types of anemia, and they are all associated with fatigue,” says Roxana Sukol. She mentions iron or vitamin B12 deficiency, very heavy menstruation or polyps as common causes of anemia, each of which involves its own form of treatment. According to the doctor, along with fatigue, you should pay attention to a pale complexion, brittle nails, palpitations, dizziness and headaches.
The hypoactive thyroid gland
Often, increased fatigue is associated with the condition of the thyroid gland. The gland located at the base of the neck regulates all the most important processes for a comfortable existence, from energy levels to metabolism and immune function. Lack of energy, as a rule, becomes the first and most noticeable symptom of insufficient activity or hypothyroidism of the thyroid gland, but in addition, weight gain, dry skin, a constant feeling of cold and constipation can be observed. “I would also look for skin with a loose appearance, which occurs due to an imbalance in the chemical composition of the skin associated with the thyroid gland,” says Sukol.
Although adrenal insufficiency is less common than hypothyroidism, it is the second endocrine disorder that doctors suspect when a patient complains of fatigue. “It’s a disease in which the adrenal glands don’t work properly and therefore you don’t produce enough cortisol,” explains Ann Cappola. She claims that it is worth paying attention to dizziness, weight loss, abdominal pain, diarrhea and hyperpigmentation (including looking for areas of skin that are slightly darker than the rest of the skin).
According to the US National Institutes of Health, due to narrowed or blocked airways, a disorder is manifested that is characterized by shallow breathing or prolonged pauses in breathing during sleep. Such pauses in breathing can last up to a minute and, as a rule, end with a snort or cough. Such interruptions in breathing disrupt sleep, which makes the body feel very tired during the day. The accompanying symptom is, of course, heavy snoring.
Behind this term is an inflammatory heart disease. According to a study published in the journal Circulation, infection or inflammation occurs because bacteria in the blood attach to the inner lining of the heart. At the same time, people with existing heart damage or with artificial heart valves are at the greatest risk. Treatment includes antimicrobial therapy, and in some cases surgical intervention. In addition to fatigue, it is worth paying attention to fever and chills.
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Few people understand what is meant by this term, meanwhile, a distinctive feature of this unpleasant disease, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, remains debilitating fatigue. We are talking about such fatigue, which makes almost any everyday task — work, household chores, running errands — impossible. Approximately 25% of those suffering from myalgic encephalomyelitis are confined to home or bed due to a tiring illness. Discomfort, pain, and clouded thinking are common symptoms. Experts believe that this condition may be associated with uncontrolled inflammation caused by even the lightest activity.
Depression is a brain disorder that can lead not only to a bad mood, but also to severe fatigue. “The biology of depression has not been studied enough, so it is difficult to say exactly what causes fatigue,” says Roxana Sukol. When the situation heats up, fatigue associated with depression can prevent patients from leaving home or having energy for even the simplest everyday tasks. Concomitant symptoms of the disease are severe sadness, problems with concentration and loss of appetite.