If you spend your days unfocused, unmotivated, and unwilling to get out of bed, you are not alone.
Fatigue is a common symptom of a large variety of illnesses. However, just because you’re tired doesn’t mean you have a serious illness. It may just mean a visit to the doctor.
If the cost of medical care makes you hesitant to seek care, try finding a local community health center.
If you need medication, you can access affordable prescriptions online through an international and Canadian pharmacy service. There, you can get medication like Synthroid (a drug for hypothyroidism) shipped to your door from licensed pharmacies abroad.
The following are possible conditions that may be responsible for your fatigue. Please note that this list is not exhaustive!
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) by the medical establishment, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a long-term and complicated illness experienced by about a million Americans.
- ME/CFS can be diagnosed after you experience extreme fatigue for six months or more, fatigue that may be worsened by physical or mental activity and not corrected by resting.
- For unknown reasons, women are two to four times more likely to get ME/CFS.
- Co-occurring symptoms are diverse and may include: joint aches, dizziness, headaches, irritable bowel, and visual problems.
- As ME/CFS can affect your ability to work, patients’ mental health may deteriorate if they feel disempowered.
Unfortunately, there is no cure nor are there specific drugs to treat CFS. As the illness can look very different among different people, work with your doctor to find a treatment plan that works to relieve your symptoms.
Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck, is not active enough. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
- Intolerance to cold
- Dry skin and thinning, dry hair
- Slowed heartbeat
- Weight gain
Hypothyroidism is typically treated by taking a synthetic thyroid hormone (Synthroid). Left untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to other conditions like obesity, heart disease, infertility, and mental health problems.
Hypothyroidism can be diagnosed with the help of a blood test, so talk to your doctor if you suspect this condition.
Depression is a serious mental illness that is more than simply feeling “blue.” According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depression is “having symptoms of depression most of the day, nearly every day for at least 2 weeks that interfere with your ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy life.” Other symptoms include:
- Changes in appetite and weight
- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Concentration, decision-making, and memory problems
- Physical symptoms with no clear physical reason, including headaches, cramps, and digestive issues
- Thoughts of ending one’s life
If you think you may have depression, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Depression can affect people of any background. Just like you would for any other medical condition, seeking help is the responsible thing to do to care for your body.
Depression is treatable. Options include either psychotherapy, medications like PROZAC®, or a combination of both.
Anemia is a blood disorder where the patient does not have enough red blood cells, cells responsible for transporting an oxygen-carrying protein called hemoglobin around the body. Without enough oxygenated blood, signs and symptoms like the following can occur:
- Pale or yellow tone to the skin
- Fatigue and weakness
- Abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia) and other heart-related symptoms
However, mild anemia may have little to no symptoms. There are many sub-types of anemia, including pernicious anemia, iron-deficiency anemia, and hemolytic anemia.
Anemia can be diagnosed through laboratory tests. Treatment may include supplements or increasing foods in your diet rich in nutrients like iron and vitamin B12.
Sometimes, fatigue can be caused by another medical treatment you may be undergoing. Or, it may be caused by alcohol, narcotics, and recreational drugs, especially if they are used on a regular basis.
If you don’t sleep well, you may want to ask your doctor about insomnia, sleep apnea, and even narcolepsy. If you’ve been told you consistently snore, this may be a sign of a sleep disorder.
Should I see a doctor?
If fatigue, weakness, or drowsiness is getting in the way of your productivity and quality of life, speak to your doctor.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor right away:
- Blurry vision
- Swelling and weight gain, or little to no urination
- Thoughts of suicide or self-harm
Unfortunately, many people put off seeing a doctor for their fatigue because they dismiss it as not a big deal. We may even blame ourselves for our fatigue, telling ourselves (and each other) that we’re simply not tough enough. While fatigue can be exacerbated by lifestyle choices, such as staying up late, it is a legitimate medical symptom and you deserve to have it checked out!