When I was ill recently, I felt like I had no energy to do anything at all, and this depressed me further. I couldn’t just rest and let my immune system fight for me, I thought I had to get on and do as much stuff as I could, cleaning the house, walking the dog, cooking the meals and so forth. I know I am not alone with this experience. So, if you’re feeling fatigued, chances are that you have one of these 8 diseases. This guide may be able to help you catch it early.
Note: This guide will offer suggestions as to possible diseases your fatigue may be indicating. If you do feel fatigued, you should see a doctor and explain your precise symptoms for a professional diagnosis.
Whenever you are suffering from a disease, your immune system uses lots of energy to fight it. This causes you to feel tired, and explains why fatigue is a common symptom of many unrelated diseases. Anne Cappola, MD at Pennsylvania University, says that fatigue is quite a complicated concept. There are many ways to measure it, such as how much you are sleeping, how much you are exercising, or how tired you feel in the evening.
She says we should realize that fatigue can be purely physical, or it can be emotional or psychological. Stress can really bring one’s energy levels down. People also feel societal pressure to always be on the go, which for some of us is a little unrealistic. We are not all meant to work as hard as pack-horses.
But, in any case, here are 8 of the most common diseases with fatigue as the principal symptom. With the symptoms that are associated with each of the diseases listed, you may have a good chance of working out what is wrong with you.
1. Underactive thyroid
Some 11 million Americans unfortunately suffer from hypothyroidism. The thyroid is a small gland you can find at the very base of your neck. Its function is to regulate your immune system and energy levels. Of the diseases most linked with fatigue as a symptom, this is one of the two most commonly encountered.
Other symptoms aside from fatigue that can help you identify this disease include: coldness; dry skin; constipation; or weight gain.
2. Adrenal insufficiency
According to Dr. Cappola, this is the second disease she looks for, when encountering a patient complaining of fatigue. The disease occurs when your adrenal glands function poorly, leading to a lack of cortisol.
Other symptoms associated with this disease may include: weight-loss; diarrhea; hyper-pigmentation (dark skin patches); light-headedness; or abdominal pain.
3. Chronic fatigue syndrome
This disease is characterized by debilitating fatigue, where virtually any common errand or task can seem an impossible nightmare. Around a quarter of all those with the disease are bedridden or house-ridden. The disease may be caused by excessive inflammation as a result of light activities.
Other symptoms associated with this disease include foggy thinking, and aches and pains.
When the blood has insufficient healthy blood cells carrying oxygen around the body, this is called anemia. Anemia has many different forms, but all of them cause fatigue. So, you may be suffering from iron or a B12 deficiency, polyps, or a particularly heavy period. Each has its own treatment.
Other symptoms that could indicate anemia, along with fatigue, include: brittle nails; fast heartbeat; dizziness; headaches; or paleness.
When someone has diabetes, their body works overtime trying to manage the levels of glucose within the blood. The key symptoms that can help diagnose this disease do include fatigue.
Other symptoms include rampant thirst and frequent urination.
6. Clinical depression
Although depression is a hard condition to medically define, it is certainly linked with fatigue. Cause and effect may be in question, but it stands to reason, and corresponds with the experiences of many people, that sadness makes it difficult to summon up the necessary energy to go about performing our usual tasks.
Other symptoms that may point to psychological issues being behind your fatigue also include a loss of appetite and problems with concentration.
Endocarditis is an inflammation or infection of the heart. These things happen as bacteria travel via the blood and cling to your heart's inner lining. Those with artificial heart valves and those with heart damage are most at risk of suffering from the condition. Treatments for this disease include antimicrobial therapy, and possibly surgery.
Other symptoms to look out for include chills and fevers.
8. Sleep apnea
To sleep well one of the things you need is a constant breathing pattern. When this is broken by extended breathing pauses during the night, your sleep can be disrupted and cause you to be fatigued in the day. This is not a life-threatening condition, but it certainly affects your health by bringing your energy levels down. The effects can be exacerbated when combined with another illness.
Anyone who sleeps close to you may be able to help you identify whether you appear to have trouble breathing at night. Find out if they have noticed your breathing pause for up to a minute, before a cough or snort seems to fix it. Other symptoms can include heavy snoring.