What is fatigue?
Fatigue or tiredness is a feeling of constant weakness. It can affect anyone. Most adults experience fatigue at some point in their life. Fatigue can prevent a person from fulfilling their daily tasks. Repeated physical exhaustion can lead to mental fatigue.
It is a major side effect of some cancer treatments.
How bad is my fatigue?
Mild: You may experience tiredness, lack of concentration and poor mood. Mild fatigue can be relieved by rest.
Moderate: You may have slower reaction time, and problems with hand-eye coordination. It can limit your instrumental activities of daily life (preparing meals, managing money, shopping, doing housework, and using a telephone).
Severe: Fatigue is not relieved by rest, It may limit your self-care activities of daily life (eating, dressing, getting into or out of a bed or chair, taking a bath or shower, and using the toilet). Visit your doctor if fatigue continues for more than 2 weeks.
How to manage mild fatigue?
Keep track of your tiredness using Ankr (myAnkr web portal or the Ankr app). It will help you describe the discomfort to your doctor or nurse.
- Curb or eliminate caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol intake to sleep better and ease insomnia.
- Avoid taking a nap in the afternoon. Create a sleep routine.
- A balanced diet and plenty of water will keep your body nourished and hydrated.
- Yoga, mindfulness, meditation, and regular exercise can help you relieve stress and gain more energy.
- Maintain a healthy weight
How to manage moderate and severe fatigue?
Get emergency help if your fatigue is related to a mental health problem and the symptoms include:
- Thoughts of harming yourself or of suicide
- Concern that you may harm someone else
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath (Dyspnea)
- Irregular or fast heartbeat
- Feeling that you might pass out
- Severe abdominal, pelvic or back pain
What causes fatigue?
- Medical causes ( thyroid disorder, heart disease or diabetes).
- Cancer treatments (radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapy)
- Lifestyle-related causes – alcohol or drugs or lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.
- Workplace-related causes
- Emotional concerns and stress (mental health problems, depression, grief, irritability and lack of motivation).
- A weakened immune system
- Hormonal imbalances
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