Fatigue is a common, but nonspecific, sensation of generalized weakness or exhaustion. It is extreme tiredness, often involving muscle weakness, that can result in difficulty performing tasks It can be mental, physical or both. Fatigue is normal after heavy physical exertion (like running six miles) or after a busy, tiring day, but it is not "normal" for someone to feel tired or a loss of energy with little activity or after adequate rest.
The symptoms of fatigue may last a long time or only a short time. They may strike at any time or may be predictable. There are things you can do to help reduce the effects of fatigue. Knowing how it affects you will help you handle it better. Fatigue affects everyone differently, vary from person to person. For instance, it may make you feel:
- Very tired with no energy. All you want to do is sleep.
- A loss of control. Sometimes fatigue may make you feel powerless. You may feel you have little ability to manage life.
- A loss of attention. Decisions become harder. It's as if your mind is tired, too.
- Irritable. It may be difficult to be pleasant or happy when you're persistently tired. This may put a tension on your relationships.
- Increased pain. Particularly for people who experience fatigue associated with their arthritis or lupus.
You can take steps to reduce fatigue and enhance your energy. Use the following strategies:
• Control stress and lighten your load. Relaxation techniques like meditation, self-hypnosis, yoga, and tai chi are effective in stress-reduction. Prioritize your list of “must-do” activities.
• Exercise and enjoy the outdoors. Exercise make you sleep more soundly. It also makes your body discharge hormones that can make you feel energized. You can take a walk, gardening, hiking etc. they can help restore body and soul.
• Eat for energy and don't smoke. Small meals every few hours can reduce your view of fatigue by ensuring supply of nutrients to the brain. Avoid nicotine, because it speeds the heart rate and stimulates wakefulness, making it harder to sleep.
However, the underlying cause of persistent fatigue can be hard to identify, and that doesn’t mean the fatigue is unreal. Often fatigue indicates something wrong physically or emotionally. Fatigue is a frequent and troubling symptom of many types of arthritis and other rheumatic diseases, such as lupus. Illnesses associated with fatigue are anemia, heart disease, underactive thyroid, joint and muscle pain, overextending self, poor sleep, lack of physical activity and depression, those a few of the many causes. If your fatigue is of new beginning, getting worse, or interferes with activities of daily living, it would be helpful to see a physician to diagnose and treat the source of your fatigue.