What is Fatigue?
If you have ever asked the question ‘what is fatigue‘, you can probably define it using of the following words:
When a person is fatigued they feel physically and/or mentally worn out or weak. Physical and mental fatigue are two different things, but often happen simultaneously. Also, prolonged physical fatigue can lead to a person becoming mentally fatigues as well.
Fatigue is a non-specific symptom, which means that it may have numerous possible causes.
- Physical fatigue:
When a person cannot function at their usual physical ability.
A person’s muscles are not able to do tasks as easily as they used to. Everyday tasks like climbing stairs or carrying heavy grocery bags may be much more difficult than before. Physical fatigue is also described as muscle weakness, weakness, or lack of strength.
- Psychological (mental) fatigue:
When a person feels tired, sleepy, and is not able to concentrate as well as they normally can.
Concentrating becomes more difficult. In severe cases, a person might not feel like getting out of bed at morning as they feel very tired.
Mental fatigue could be life-threatening, for instance, when the person has to drive a vehicle, operate heavy machinery or similar tasks.
Who does fatigue affect?
Fatigue can affect people of all ages. Experts on the topic say that 10% of people internationally at any one time are suffering from constant fatigue. It is found more often in women than it is in men.
Fatigue is mostly caused by mental issues, and not physical. Healthy people can be affected by fatigue due to intense mental and/or physical activity such as endurance races or other sport.
The difference between fatigue and sleepiness:
Fatigue is typically a more chronic condition than sleepiness. Sleepiness, also known as “somnolence”, is usually caused by a lack of adequate, restful sleep or a lack of stimulation.
- Sleepiness could be a symptom of a medical ailment.
- Fatigue, particularly chronic fatigue, is normally related to a more significant medical problem.
What are the signs and symptoms of fatigue?
The main symptom of fatigue is exhaustion (severe fatigue) after a physical or mental activity. The person does not feel refreshed after resting or sleeping. Severe fatigue may undermine the person’s ability to carry out their usual activities.
Fatigue signs and symptoms may be of a physical, mental or emotional nature. Below is a list of some more possible signs and symptoms:
- Bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, possibly problems similar to IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
- Aching or sore muscles
- Painful lymph nodes
- Apathy, lack of motivation
- Chronic (long-term) tiredness
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Hand-to-eye coordination may be impaired
- Impaired judgment
- Loss of appetite
- Poorer immune system function
- Short-term memory impairment – there may be problems organizing thoughts and finding the right words to say (brain fog)
- Sleepiness, drowsiness
- Slow responses to stimuli
- Slower-than-normal reflexes
- Some vision problems, such as blurriness
What are the causes of fatigue?
The possible causes of fatigue are virtually endless. Most diseases listed in medical literature include malaise or fatigue as one of the potential symptoms. Causes are sometimes classified under several lifestyle problems and/or some broad disease entities.
Below are some (by no means all) possible causes of fatigue:
- Mental health (psychiatric) – grief (bereavement),
- eating disorders,
- alcohol abuse,
- drug abuse,
- moving home,
- boredom, and
A certain amount of stress can invigorate us, in fact, most of us need some kind of mental pressure to get going. However, when stress levels become excessive, they can easily cause fatigue.
Stress and worry are two emotions that commonly cause tiredness.
Stress can reach a point in which the sufferer flounders and is “unable to see the light at the end of the tunnel”, which leads them towards despair.
Despair is draining, and will eventually cause fatigue if it is present for long enough. Not being in control over a situation can be frustrating, annoying, and very tiring.
Having a baby in the house, especially if he/she wakes up a lot during the night, can interfere with the parents’ sleep.
Endocrine/Metabolic – Cushing’s disease, kidney disease, electrolyte problems, diabetes, hypothyroidism, anemia, kidney disease, and liver disease.
Drugs/Medications – some antidepressants, antihypertensives, steroids, antihistamines, medication withdrawal, sedatives, and anti-anxiety drugs.
Statin medications are among the most widely used prescription drugs sold worldwide. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego, published a report in Archives of Internal Medicine showing that statins can cause fatigue.
Heart and lung conditions – pneumonia, arrhythmias, asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), valvular heart disease, coronary heart disease, and congestive heart failure.
Sleep problems – working till late at night, jet lag, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, insomnia, and reflux esophagitis.
Chemicals and substances – vitamin deficiencies, mineral deficiencies, poisoning.
Consuming too many caffeinated or alcoholic beverages may make it harder to get to sleep, or stay asleep, especially if you drink them close to bedtime.
Fatigue can become self-perpetuating. An individual who feels tired may not exercise; lack of exercise can cause fatigue. Also, lack of exercise may eventually make it harder and more tiring to perform a physical chore.
Overweight and underweight – overweight/obesity is a rapidly growing problem in much of the world today. Obese people are much more likely to experience fatigue, for various reasons – having to carry a lot of weight is tiring, obese people are have a higher risk of developing diseases and conditions where fatigue is a common symptom, such as diabetes and sleep apnea. Being underweight may mean there is less muscle strength; the very thin person may tire more easily.
Simple treatment to overcome persistent fatigue
Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
Set your bedroom’s temperature at a comfortable level. It must neither be too cold nor too hot
Do not have your last meal of the day too close to your bedtime – not less than 90 minutes or two hours before you go to bed
As bedtime approaches, physically and mentally slow down. Have a warm bath and listen to some soothing music. Clear your mind of stressful and worrying thoughts.
- Eating and drinking habits
If you eat three regular meals each day, eat at the same time each day, and follow a well-balanced diet, your overall health will improve and so will your sleep patterns.
If you are underweight, add more calories to your diet, but make sure it is a healthy one.
if you are overweight/obese, follow a well-balanced diet and aim for a healthy body weight.
Do not crash-diet. Your sleep may be affected.
Drink alcoholic and caffeinated beverages in moderation, or not at all.
Scientists from Hull York Medical School, England, found that patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome who ate dark chocolate – i.e. high cocoa content and no milk chocolate – had considerably reduced symptoms of fatigue. They emphasized that patients should only consume moderate amounts of chocolate.
For a simple, well balanced diet, download the Manna Diet e-book form the website.
- Physical activity
Remember that fatigue-physical inactivity-fatigue vicious cycle. If you are unfit you are more likely to feel tired. Break that cycle. It is important that any physical activity drive is done properly and gradually. Either talk to your doctor, ask an expert at a reputable gym, or see a sports scientists.
Regular exercisers sleep better and suffer much less from fatigue than other people.
- Supplement to increase Energy
The Manna Energy Boost Supplement was formulated with well researched ingredients to boost energy levels and counteract fatigue.