Fatigue—Part II


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Fatigue—Part II

October 15, 2014


In our “Fatigue, Part I” article, we covered an overview of the condition of fatigue. In this week’s article, let’s cover some of the medical conditions that can cause fatigue.



Anemia is a blood condition in which there is not enough oxygen carrying capacity in your blood because you don’t have enough red blood cells. People with anemia frequently will feel extremely tired and often short of breath upon exertion. In more severe cases, a person may feel short of breath at rest and often patients with heart disease will have chest pains because their heart muscle is not getting enough oxygen.


There are different kinds and causes of anemia and if you have this condition, your doctor can do some blood tests to find out what the cause of your anemia is. Correcting the anemia depends on what type you have.



The thyroid is a gland in the front of the neck and is produces thyroid hormone. This thyroid hormone drives the metabolism in the body. If you have low production of thyroid hormone, your metabolism will slow down. Patients with low thyroid levels (hypothyroidism) will often have fatigue, weight gain, constipation, cold intolerance (feeling cold when no-one else is cold), and slow pulse. Your doctor can do a simple blood test to see if you have hypothyroidism and if so, taking thyroid hormone by mouth can correct this condition.




The adrenal gland is a gland that sits on top of the kidneys in your lower back. It is responsible for making a variety of hormones and it is these hormones that help regulate sodium and potassium balance as well as blood pressure. Patient’s whose adrenal glands are not fully functioning will often have problems with several or all of these issues as well as significant fatigue. Again, your doctor can order some tests to find out if your adrenal gland isn’t fully functioning and if this is the cause of your tiredness.



Though allergy medications can cause tiredness, having allergies alone has been shown to cause a greater amount of fatigue than even the medications. Treatment of your allergies can be helpful for this fatigue especially if you use treatment options that do not contribute to drowsiness.



Often, patients with anxiety or depression will exhibit excessive fatigue. Sometimes, fatigue can be the main complaint and patients will not be aware of excessive depression or anxiety. It is important to talk over all of your feelings and symptoms with your doctor and follow a program of lifestyle modification, therapy and possibly medication for treatment.


In our next article (Fatigue—Part III) we will cover more of the illnesses that can count fatigue as a major symptom.



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