Why am I always tired?
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is defined as when you feel extreme fatigue that lasts for at least six months. Usually, the condition can’t be attributed to any single underlying medical condition. It can be really frustrating for those with chronic fatigue because often people will say “just get some more rest” but chronic fatigue not only gets worse with physical or mental activity but actually doesn't improve with rest.
Chronic fatigue symptoms
The symptoms and severity of chronic fatigue syndrome vary for each person and can fluctuate from day to day. Besides the obvious fatigue despite sleep, symptoms may also include:
- Difficulty with memory, focus, and concentration
- Sore throat
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Muscle or joint pain
- Extreme exhaustion after physical or mental exercise
Chronic fatigue causes
There is no main cause that can be attributed to chronic fatigue, and it can be triggered by a variety of factors. Though there isn’t sufficient proof or research supporting this, it’s said that the following conditions may trigger chronic fatigue:
- Viral infections
- Immune system issues
- Hormonal imbalances
- Physical or emotional trauma
It's also common for people who have chronic fatigue syndrome to also have other health issues such as:
- Sleep disorders: Sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, or insomnia
- Medical problems: Anemia, diabetes, and an underactive thyroid
- Mental health issues: Depression and anxiety
Does chronic fatigue go away?
There’s no universal magic cure for chronic fatigue syndrome. This is a case where regular tactics for better sleep are not going to cut it. Treatment for chronic fatigue focuses on relief from symptoms and can include:
- Medications: Your doctor might advise either prescription or over-the-counter medications
- Therapy or counseling: Talking with a counselor or therapist can help you identify triggers and build coping skills
- Addressing sleep issues: You might try forgoing caffeine or changing your bedtime routine. There are also treatments for sleep disorders like sleep apnea
- Exercise: Intensive exercise often leads to worse symptoms but there are methods where you can gradually build up to an exercise routine that works for you
There isn’t an easy way to test for chronic fatigue syndrome as it can also often be a symptom of other health issues. You may need to go through a trial and error type situation and conduct a variety of medical tests to rule out other health problems that have similar symptoms. Chronic fatigue is something that can really affect your quality of life.
You know your body best – if you feel like you have persistent and excessive fatigue, see your doctor and they can help you determine the best way forward.