EP 31: Finding Your Fatigue Type

In the first episode of the series on Fatigue, Dr. Agolli and Dr. Burdette discuss:

  1. What is fatigue?
  2. What causes fatigue?
  3. The different types of fatigue.
  4. Signs and symptoms of fatigue.
  5. How to treat anemia.
  6. The different vitamins and minerals that impact your fatigue.

Fatigue is described as “a feeling of weariness, tiredness or lack of energy”1It can be caused by several factors such as poor sleep habits, lack of exercise, alcohol or drug use, eating poorly, medicines, stress and physically or mentally demanding tasks12Fatigue can also be a symptom of an underlying illness that needs treatment2.

Fatigue can have a significant impact on the human body. It can slow down reaction times, reduce attention or concentration, limit short-term memory and impair judgment1High levels of fatigue can affect any worker in any job and has serious consequences for worker safety and health1.

Nearly 30% of the American workforce has a work schedule that is outside of a “regular daytime shift” and one in four workers reports working more than 40 hours per week1Fatigue-related safety issues can occur every day, as tired workers drive on public roads, raising public health and safety concerns1.

Organizations should learn the risks for fatigue-related events, identify the sources of fatigue and use strategies to prevent and manage fatigue to keep workers safe and healthy1.

Some common symptoms of fatigue include a feeling of weariness, tiredness or lack of energy1Fatigue can also cause depression and lack of desire to do activities you once enjoyed, trouble concentrating or focusing, very low energy and motivation, nervousness, anxiety, irritability, muscle weakness and pain2.

Other signs of fatigue include tired eyes, tired legs, whole-body tiredness, stiff shoulders, malaise (discomfort/uneasiness), boredom or lack of motivation and sleepiness2.

Fatigue can have a significant impact on mental health. It can cause feelings of depression, including a persistent sad, low or hopeless mood; lingering feelings of anxiety; difficulty caring about anything; a sense of detachment, cynicism or pessimism; anger or irritability; difficulty processing and managing emotions; a sense of dread; a decline in motivation or productivity and feeling lethargic or slowed down in movements or responses1.

Fatigue is also a common symptom of many mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder23It can also result from stress, bereavement and grief, eating disorders, anxiety, boredom, emotional exhaustion or burnout and life events such as moving home or getting a divorce4.

If you are experiencing fatigue along with any of these symptoms, it is important to seek help from a healthcare professional.

There are several vitamins and minerals that can help with fatigue. Some of these include Vitamin B12, Iron, Vitamin C, Folic Acid, Magnesium, Vitamin E, Potassium,  and Vitamin D. Deficiency in one of these vitamins and minerals can leave you feeling fatigued and sluggish.

Anemia is a condition where there aren’t enough red blood cells to meet the body’s need for oxygen or when these cells don’t carry enough of an important protein called hemoglobin. Fatigue is usually the first sign of anemia. Iron deficiency is one type of anemia that can leave you feeling tired and weak. Your body needs iron to produce hemoglobin in red blood cells and myoglobin in muscle cells, necessary to oxygenate your body. Low iron often results in anemia.