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?
- 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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