Constant feelings of tiredness and fatigue should not be ignored.

In 2019, a survey of 1008 Australians commissioned by Entity Health found that 24 per cent of Australians felt drained every day.

It also revealed that 68 per cent felt fatigued at least once a week with 53 per cent blaming a “lack of sleep”.

Being “too busy” (28 per cent), suffering stress from personal relationships (27 per cent) and stress at work (26 per cent) were other common reasons.

Dealing with the demands and stresses of modern life is something many people find challenging.

Failure to cope with these demands leads to tiredness and fatigue and sometimes mental health issues. 

Firstly, it is important to understand fatigue is not a condition, it is a symptom which may be caused by any number of factors.

Most commonly, tiredness and fatigue can be attributed to a range of lifestyle issues.

In extreme cases, these may include serious and underlying health problems which demand immediate attention.

But some simple changes in lifestyle normally produce positive results.

Symptoms of fatigue

Fatigue has been identified as one of the primary causes of sometimes fatal motor vehicle accidents as well as workplace accidents and injuries.

It may present with a wide range of symptoms including:

  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • moodiness
  • short-term memory problems
  • blurred vision
  • poor concentration
  • loss of appetite
  • impaired decision making or judgement
  • sore or aching muscles
  • slowed reflexes or responses

Causes of fatigue

There are many possible causes of tiredness and fatigue. These include:

Lack of sleep – It is obvious that most people who don’t regularly achieve between 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night will suffer tiredness and fatigue. And while lack of sleep remains a primary cause of tiredness and fatigue, it is normally the secondary causes which demand addressing.

Stress – Whether related to work, money, personal relationships or other factors, stress is a major cause of a lack of sleep and in turn, tiredness and fatigue. Chronic stress takes its toll on energy levels and can retard immune system function, triggering chronic diseases.

Diet – Diets rich in highly processed foods and sugar can contribute to energy crashes, poor sleep quality and fatigue.

Alcohol and drugs – Alcohol is a drug that depresses the nervous system and interrupts sleep patterns. Other drugs including caffeine and cigarettes stimulate the nervous system and can cause insomnia.

Lack of exercise – Regular exercise increases energy levels as well as preparing the body for the need for sleep. Without this, your body will struggle to “clock off” for the necessary time to refresh itself, leaving you fatigued. Conversely, too much exercise or the wrong kind of exercise may also lead to fatigue.

Mental health – Conditions such as depression, anxiety, grief and other stress-related disorders can cause fatigue. 

Medical conditions – Occasionally, tiredness and fatigue may be a warning sign of a serious medical condition such as anaemia, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, thyroid disorders, multiple sclerosis and cancer. Chronic fatigue should always be addressed by a visit to your GP.

Medications – Tiredness and fatigue may be a side-effect of some medications. Always consult with your doctor if you have begun a new course of medications and suddenly encounter fatigue.

Diagnosing fatigue

When you visit your GP worried about your lack of energy levels and fatigue, they will ask you a range of questions about your symptoms to detect possible causes.

These will include questions about your lifestyle, diet, work and home life.

They will also do a physical examination in an attempt to rule out any serious illness or disease.

This could include some routine tests to check for any undiagnosed medical issues such as anaemia or thyroid disorders.

Treating fatigue

Once any medical issue has been ruled out, your GP will suggest changes to your lifestyle to help you sleep better and reduce your fatigue.

These could include:

Sleeping habits – improving your sleep schedule and creating a more comfortable sleep environment, including avoiding stimulants close to bedtime.

Dietary changes – geared towards nutrient-rich foods that provide sustained energy throughout the day rather than sugary foods that only offer short energy bursts.

Drug habits – reducing your alcohol and caffeine intake and quitting smoking.

Hydration – checking you are drinking enough water throughout the day.

Exercise routine – designed especially for you and age appropriate.

Stress management – discussing other techniques such as meditation, yoga and spending time on activities that you enjoy.

Medications – in some cases may be prescribed to assist with sleeping.

Psychological support – if required, recommending visiting a psychiatrist or psychologist.

Book an appointment

While occasional tiredness and fatigue is not uncommon, persistent symptoms warrant a visit to your GP.

Constantly feeling tired is debilitating and should not be allowed to persist.

Besides a likely decline in your mental health, your reduced awareness and reflexes make you much more prone to a range of accidents including motor vehicle accidents.

It is also important to rule out any more sinister underlying disease.

Highly skilled and trained doctors at AHA Clinics always take time to listen to the concerns of their patients.

They show great empathy and will work hard to resolve your issues so you can get back to operating at the top of your game.

Doctors at AHA will ask you about your symptoms and advise you about how to alleviate them.

They will also consider whether further medical testing is needed.

Book an appointment here today at either our Seaford Road Day and Night Clinic or our Seaford Meadows Day and Night Clinic.