Talking to Your Patients About Persistent Fatigue
Persistent fatigue can be a sign of various underlying medical conditions. It’s crucial to identify the root cause for effective treatment. Here’s a breakdown of potential causes to discuss with your patients.
HCN Healer Handbook
“If you’ve been feeling unusually tired for an extended period, it’s not something to brush off. It could be sleep apnea, especially if you snore or wake up gasping for air. Or it might be something like anemia or even a thyroid issue, which can both be checked with simple blood tests. If you’re also experiencing symptoms like joint pain or frequent headaches, it could point to an autoimmune condition. The key is to get to the root of the problem, so let’s start with some diagnostic tests to rule out these conditions and get you feeling better.”
- Sleep Apnea: Snoring and waking up gasping can indicate sleep apnea. Untreated, it can lead to heart problems and high blood pressure.
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Lasts at least six months and makes everyday activities exhausting.
- Anemia: Lack of red blood cells can cause constant tiredness and other symptoms like irregular heartbeats.
- Thyroid Issues: Hypothyroidism makes you tired and weak, while hyperthyroidism can disrupt sleep.
- Autoimmune Conditions: Rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and lupus can cause fatigue and joint pain.
About 40% of Americans are likely to have a Vitamin D deficiency, which can also contribute to persistent fatigue.
- Diabetes: Excessive fatigue is a key symptom; early diagnosis can mitigate other risks.
- POTS: Causes severe exhaustion and dizziness; more common in women.
- Mental Health: Depression and anxiety can also result in persistent fatigue.
- Heart Conditions: Fatigue can be a symptom of congestive heart failure.
- Vitamin D Deficiency: Lack of sunlight and poor diet can lead to fatigue and other health issues.
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