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Fatigue interferring with your life

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Everyone feels fatigued from time to time, but do you know when you should go and see your doctor about this?

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How do you define fatigue? The National Institute of Health defines fatigue as: "Feeling weariness, tiredness, or lack of energy, which is different from drowsiness - a feeling of needing sleep - in that there is a marked lack of motivation in one's daily activities". A mouthful to say the least, but there is a distinct difference between fatigue and drowsiness. Sometimes this can be misconstrued. Fatigue should be differentiated from symptoms of feeling drowsy.

There really is not a universally accepted definition of fatigue since this condition is subjective to a person's feelings or sensations. With that being said, there are many symptoms of fatigue and one does include drowsiness.

Other definitions of fatigue include:

  1. The inability to initiate a normal activity as the person perceives general weakness.a
  2. Reduction in ones ability to maintain an activity.
  3. Difficulty with memory loss, concentration,and emotional stability.

According to the National Institute of Health it is estimated that 12%-33% of patient's seeking medical attention are due to fatigue. Symptoms of fatigue account for approximately 7 million office visits every year in the United States. Startling numbers, but as you can see fatigue affects a very large amount of our population.

There are various definitions of fatigue. Chronic fatigue can be classified by a number of causes. If your fatigue lasts longer than 6 months it is considered to be chronic. One should seek out what is the cause of the fatigue to try and find some relief.

Fatigue may be the only symptoms but generally comes along with many other health issues including Systemic Lupus Erythamotosis, Anemia, Epstein Barr Virus, Hepatitis A, B & C, HIV, Celiac Disease, Fibromyalgia, Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism, Peri-menopausal, allergies, Congestive Heart Failure and Psychiatric conditions to name a few. Many of these conditions are common, yet undiagnosed.

Anytime you have prolonged fatigue you should pursue this with your physician. Get a thorough check up. Don't let the symptom be dismissed if this is interfering with your daily life. Many of the above conditions above take years to get a diagnosis for. Many times patient's are told that they are just too busy and not getting enough sleep, but that is not always the case. Be persistent, keep a log and see if there are things that seem to trigger your fatigue. This is extremely beneficial for your physician. They can help you narrow down some things that may be contributing to the fatigue or it could help them provide you with a diagnosis. It is important to be your best advocate. Get a second or third opinion if you are not convinced that there is nothing to worry about. Better to be persistent then to just let it go.

You know your body the best, so continue to be your best advocate and seek out treatment when you feel it is necessary. The goal is always to be as healthy as possible and fatigue can be a debilitating symptom. Since it does go along with so many other conditions, it is beneficial for you to see if there is a serious cause which in turn may provide you with relief and a cure. Plus, if you do have one of the many conditions associated with fatigue this could lead to greater health problems if it continues to go undiagnosed. As with anything, if you feel there is something going on in your body, seek medical treatment for some answers.

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