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Fatigue: Introduction

Fatigue is a general term for an abnormal condition in which a person feels a sensation of tiredness, weariness, exhaustion, weakness, or low energy. Fatigue is a symptom of a wide variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders and conditions. Fatigue can result from infection, inflammation, trauma, malignancy, chronic diseases, autoimmune diseases, mental illnesses and other abnormal processes.

Fatigue can occur in any age group or population, but it is particularly common in the elderly and in people with chronic diseases. Depending on the cause, the sensation of fatigue can be short-term and disappear quickly, such as when it occurs due to exercise or a single night of insomnia. Fatigue can also can be chronic and ongoing over a longer period of time, such as when it is due to depression or heart failure.

Fatigue can be the result of a wide variety of other conditions, diseases or disorders. These include anemia, hypotension, COPD, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome and Addison's disease. Causes also include influenza, dehydration, jet lag, depression, malnutrition, bacterial diseases, hypothyroidism, myasthenia gravis, viral infections, chronic pain, fever and pregnancy.

There are many symptoms that can accompany fatigue, depending on the disease, disorder or condition that is at the root of it. These include fever, weight loss, loss of appetite and dizziness. Fatigue, especially chronic fatigue, can seriously impact the ability to function effectively in everyday life. Underlying diseases, disorders or conditions of fatigue can also cause complications. For more details about symptoms and complications, see symptoms of fatigue.

Diagnosing fatigue and its root cause begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination, including a neurological examination. This may also include a mental health exam.

Making a diagnosis also includes performing a variety of other tests to help to diagnose the underlying disease, condition or disorder causing the fatigue.

Depending on the suspected cause, tests can include blood tests. A complete blood count (CBC) can help to determine if anemia or an infectious process, such as bacterial infection is present. A chemistry panel is a blood test that can test for dehydration or electrolyte imbalance, which can cause fatigue.

A blood glucose can check for diabetes. An urinanalysis can also help to diagnose dehydration and a variety of urinary tract conditions, which can cause fatigue. Liver function tests can evaluate liver health and a TSH and other thyroid tests can help to determine if hypothyroidism is the cause of fatigue.

Other tests may also be performed depending on the suspected cause. These include imaging tests, such as X-ray, CT scan, nuclear scans and MRI.

A diagnosis of fatigue and its cause can easily be delayed or missed because fatigue may be mild or not last for long periods of time. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of fatigue.

Treatment of fatigue involves diagnosing and treating the underlying disease, disorder or condition that is causing it. Some conditions can be easily and successfully treated and cured, while others may require more intensive treatment and may not have an optimal prognosis. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of fatigue. ...more »

Fatigue: Symptoms

The sensation of fatigue can be experienced and described in many ways. These include feelings of sluggishness, tiredness, weariness, exhaustion, weakness, or low energy. Fatigue may also include sensations of palpitations, shortness of breath, vertigo and feeling faint.

Fatigue may occur alone without other symptoms. Symptoms that accompany fatigue vary depending on the underlying ...more symptoms »

Fatigue: Treatments

Treatment plans for fatigue are individualized depending on the cause, the presence of coexisting diseases, the age of the patient, and other factors. Treatment generally involves a multifaceted plan that addresses the underlying or associated cause and helps to minimize the fatigue so that a person can lead an active normal life.

Some common causes of fatigue, such as ...more treatments »

Fatigue: Misdiagnosis

Diagnosing fatigue and its cause may be delayed or missed because the fatigue may not be severe or consistent enough for a person to seek medical care. IN addition, some people may believe that fatigue is a normal part of aging. Fatigue is a symptom of many different conditions, and some of them are potentially serious. A thorough medical evaluation is needed to ensure an accurate diagnosis of ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Fatigue

Treatments for Fatigue

  • Iron - possibly used if condition is caused by iron deficiency
  • Potassium - possibly used for related potassium deficiency
  • Potassium - possibly used for related potassium deficiency
  • Potassium - possibly used for related potassium deficiency
  • Vitamin B5 - possibly used if condition is caused by vitamin B5 deficiency
  • more treatments...»

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Fatigue:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Fatigue?

Fatigue: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Fatigue.

Alternative Treatments for Fatigue

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed in various sources as possibly beneficial for Fatigue may include:

Fatigue: Complications

Read more about complications of Fatigue.

Causes of Fatigue

Read more about causes of Fatigue.

More information about causes of Fatigue:

Fatigue: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Fatigue

Unnecessary hysterectomies due to undiagnosed bleeding disorder in women: The bleeding disorder called Von Willebrand's disease is quite common in women, but often fails to be correctly diagnosed. Women with the more »

Anemia undiagnosed in pregnancy: The onset of anemia (low red blood cells) in pregnancy is sometimes overlooked, despite it being a well-known complication of pregnancy. more »

Underactive thryoid may be misdiagnosed as depression: Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, is an endocrine gland disorder that is more common in women. It can mimic many diseases, including depression. more »

Cluster of diseases with difficult diagnosis issues: There is a well-known list of medical conditions that are all somewhat difficult to diagnose, and more »

RLS sleep disorder causing night-time leg sensations often misdiagnosed: A common but relatively unknown sleep-related disorder called Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is often misdiagnosed. The more »

Pituitary conditions often undiagnosed cause of symptoms: There are a variety of symptoms that can be caused by a pituitary disorder (see symptoms more »

Vitamin B12 deficiency under-diagnosed: The condition of Vitamin B12 deficiency is a possible misdiagnosis of various conditions, such as multiple sclerosis more »

Fatigue: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Fatigue: Animations

Research about Fatigue

Visit our research pages for current research about Fatigue treatments.

Clinical Trials for Fatigue

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Fatigue include:

User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Fatigue, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Definitions of Fatigue:

Fatigue is that state, following a period of mental or bodily activity, characterized by a lessened capacity for work and reduced efficiency of accomplishment, usually accompanied by a feeling of weariness, sleepiness, or irritability. (On-line Medical Dictionary) - (Source - Diseases Database)


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