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What Are The Key Causes Of Chronic Tiredness?

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Chronic fatigue syndrome (lasting min 6 months), interrupted sleep caused by sleep apnea (shallow breathing), restless legs syndrome (painful jerking of legs), depression or anxiety; or health conditions like anemia, diabetes, hypothyroidism, and celiac disease can cause you to feel inexplicably dog tired. Yoga, cognitive behavioral therapy, and acupressure massages trigger energy regeneration.

Chronic tiredness is a condition that afflicts far more people than you’d care to imagine. But for many, tiredness is just a surface symptom of something else. It could be that you’re getting unrestful sleep and may not know it. Or you might have allergies that leave you exhausted. In some cases, this tiredness could even be masking a more significant health problem. Left unchecked, the underlying health issue could blow up into something worse. And that’s why it is a good idea to delve deeper and uncover the true reason for your tiredness, rather than just working around the exhaustion.

Just Tired, or Do You Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a condition that persists for at least six months, leaving the person feeling extremely tired and unable to function normally. Unlike routine tiredness which is more of an annoyance, chronic tiredness or chronic fatigue is debilitating. It does not have one single cause. A combination of psychological and physiological factors results in the condition. Since the factors causing it are varied, treatment too must be addressed to deal with the underlying causes for each patient.1

Sleep Disorders and Chronic Tiredness

Unrestful sleep and problems like sleep apnea or restless legs could leave you feeling tired after a night’s sleep. Sleep apnea was even found to be diagnosed as much on the basis of symptoms of tiredness or fatigue as of sleeplessness.2

Restless legs syndrome affects 1 in 10 people and can result in aches and pains or jerking of the legs. This in turn can interrupt your sleep. As one study showed, even a single night of interrupted sleep can cause fatigue, depression, confusion, and a decline in vigor. The effects were just as bad as not getting enough sleep and would leave you very tired.3

Mental or Psychological Conditions that Cause Tiredness

Besides the other signs of depression, tiredness and fatigue are present in an overwhelming number of individuals coping with depression, making it the most common “presenting symptom” of major depressive disorder (MDD). Even among those who have been treated for MDD, persistent tiredness or fatigue could be indicative of residual symptoms of depression. Certain medications may also cause the fatigue themselves.4

Anxiety can also take its toll on your body. A generalized anxiety disorder can make you restless and tense. The constant worrying translates to sleep problems, and you may find yourself getting tired quite easily and often.5

Health Conditions that Result in Tiredness

Besides these conditions, there are certain illnesses or disorders that are associated with fatigue.

  • Celiac Disease: Besides anemia, weight loss, and diarrhea, most people with intolerance to gluten also report feeling extremely exhausted or fatigued.6
  • Anemia: Anyone who is anemic has a paucity of red blood cells. Their body cannot transport adequate oxygen to the various parts of the body, leading to complaints of chronic tiredness.7
  • Underactive Thyroid: Tiredness was a common complaint among subjects in a study on hypothyroidism.8
  • Diabetes: Fatigue is a regular problem for people living with diabetes, diagnosed or otherwise.9

Someone who has overcome glandular fever may also find lingering symptoms of tiredness for months after.

Alternative Therapy for Chronic Tiredness

Yoga has benefits in directly addressing the problem of tiredness and also in treating the underlying issue. For instance, participants in one study on the impact of yoga on chronic insomnia showed statistically significant improvements in total sleep time, sleep onset latency, and sleep efficiency after practicing yoga for a few weeks.10 A similar study on the impact of yoga on breast cancer survivors who experienced fatigue yielded positive results as well.11

Mainstream lasting treatment for chronic fatigue is limited. However, cognitive behavioral therapy, yoga, and acupressure massages may help provide the relaxation needed to achieve a good night’s rest and to give a general sense of calm.12

References   [ + ]

1.Afari, Niloofar, and Dedra Buchwald. “Chronic fatigue syndrome: a review.” American Journal of Psychiatry (2003).
2.Chervin, Ronald D. “Sleepiness, fatigue, tiredness, and lack of energy in obstructive sleep apnea.”CHEST Journal 118, no. 2 (2000): 372-379.
3.Kahn, Michal, Shimrit Fridenson, Reut Lerer, Yair Bar-Haim, and Avi Sadeh. “Effects of one night of induced night-wakings versus sleep restriction on sustained attention and mood: a pilot study.”Sleep medicine 15, no. 7 (2014): 825-832.
4.Targum, Steven D., and Maurizio Fava. “Fatigue as a residual symptom of depression.” Innov Clin Neurosci 8, no. 10 (2011): 40-43.
5.Anxiety Disorders, National Institute of Mental Health.
6.Siniscalchi, M., P. Iovino, R. Tortora, S. Forestiero, A. Somma, L. Capuano, M. D. Franzese, F. Sabbatini, and C. Ciacci. “Fatigue in adult coeliac disease.” Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics 22, no. 5 (2005): 489-494.
7.What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Iron-Deficiency Anemia, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
8.Vaidya, Bijay, and Simon HS Pearce. “Management of hypothyroidism in adults.” BMJ: British Medical Journal (International Edition) 337, no. 7664 (2008).
9.Fritschi, Cynthia, and Laurie Quinn. “Fatigue in patients with diabetes: a review.” Journal of psychosomatic research 69, no. 1 (2010): 33-41.
10.Khalsa, Sat Bir S. “Treatment of chronic insomnia with yoga: A preliminary study with sleep–wake diaries.” Applied psychophysiology and biofeedback 29, no. 4 (2004): 269-278.
11.Bower, Julienne E., Deborah Garet, Beth Sternlieb, Patricia A. Ganz, Michael R. Irwin, Richard Olmstead, and Gail Greendale. “Yoga for persistent fatigue in breast cancer survivors.”Cancer 118, no. 15 (2012): 3766-3775.
12.Cairns, R., and M. Hotopf. “A systematic review describing the prognosis of chronic fatigue syndrome.” Occupational medicine 55, no. 1 (2005): 20-31.
CureJoy Editorial

The CureJoy Editorial team digs up credible information from multiple sources, both academic and experiential, to stitch a holistic health perspective on topics that pique our readers' interest.

CureJoy Editorial

The CureJoy Editorial team digs up credible information from multiple sources, both academic and experiential, to stitch a holistic health perspective on topics that pique our readers' interest.

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