Many people find it difficult to describe when they are tired. Some call it exhaustion, while others name it tiredness. Few others may call it fatigue. Fatigue, or tiredness, is a non-specific condition with numerous causes. Fatigue can be either physical or mental, although the two condition are often seen together. Physical fatigue is a condition in which the muscles of the body are not able to do routine things as easily as it used to be. Mental fatigue is characterized by an inability to concentrate on the work in hand. When the symptoms of mental fatigue are severe, the person may not feel like getting up in the morning and go about with the daily work.
There are innumerable causes for fatigue:
- Not enough sleep – Sleep deprivation is one of the common causes of fatigue. Many sleep disorders may result in not getting enough sleep as required. Sleep apnea is a very common reason, even when the person spends more than usual time in bed. Occupations where the sleep pattern is affected may also lead to sleep deprivation.
- Not eating enough – Eating too little makes the person feel very tired. Eating unhealthy foods may also cause fatigue. When the blood sugar level drops all on a sudden after eating junk food, a feeling of sluggishness or ‘seemingly tired’ sets in.
- Anemia – Among women, anemia is a common reason for fatigue. Blood loss during menstruation and iron deficiency may be the root cause.
- Depression – This is an emotional disorder characterized by sleep deprivation. Depression may lead to general tiredness, lack of appetite and headaches, all of which makes the person feel drained out.
- Hypothyroidism – Underactive thyroid, the glands responsible for controlling metabolic rate, affects the energy production in the body. This may result in sluggishness.
- Excessive caffeine – Excessive caffeine may increase heart rate, and blood pressure. Many studies show that too much caffeine results in fatigue.
- Urinary tract infection – A urinary tract infection (UTI) is generally characterized by a burning sensation while passing urine, but in the case of hidden UTIs, fatigue is the most common symptom.
- Diabetes – As abnormally high levels of sugar remain in the blood instead of being converted into energy, the body may run out of fuel and cause persistent tiredness or fatigue.
- Dehydration – Being thirsty and not having enough water in the body also result in tiredness. And, this is applicable to people who are very active or in a desk job.
- Heart disease – When the heart is tired, it may be obvious in the form of tiredness even when doing routing activities.
- Food allergies – Allergy or intolerance to certain food may also lead to fatigue, particularly after having a meal. It may not show any other symptoms other than fatigue.
- Fibromyalgia – If the fatigue persists for several months, fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome might be the cause. Both the conditions may cause unexplained exhaustion as one of the symptoms.