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Is that a yawn or a warning sign of heart disease?

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We have a lot of different terms for being tired. We have reasons to be tired that make complete sense to us. But, when you are feeling a bit more tired than normal. Take note.

Anemia - If you are in your reproductive years, and particularly if you experience heavy menstrual cycles, have fibroid tumors or uterine polyps, or if you've recently given birth, the blood loss may have caused you to develop anemia — a leading cause of fatigue in women. Other causes of anemia include internal bleeding, or a deficiency of iron, folic acid, or vitamin B12. Treatment, usually consists of iron supplements if iron deficiency is the cause, and adding iron-rich foods — such as spinach, broccoli, and red meat — to your diet.

Fatigue - Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) If you are generally sluggish, run down, and even a little depressed, the problem may be a slow thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism. The thyroid is a small, butterfly shaped gland that sits at the base of your neck and controls your metabolism, the speed at which your body operates. According to the American Thyroid Foundation, by age 60 approximately 17% of all women will have a thyroid disorder and most won't know it. The most common cause, they say, is an autoimmune disorder known as Hashimoto's thyroiditis. This condition causes the body to destroy the cells responsible for producing thyroxin and other hormones secreted by the thyroid gland. The result is hypothyroidism, or a slow metabolism. Blood tests known as T3 and T4 will detect thyroid hormones. If these hormones are low, Goldberg says synthetic hormones can bring you up to speed and you should begin to feel better fairly rapidly.

Caffeine Overload - Many of us grab a coffee or cola for a quick burst of energy, but for some women, caffeine can have the opposite effect. In an article published in the journal US Pharmacist, author W. Stephen Pray, PhD, RPh, reports that caffeine is a stimulant, but if you take too much, the tables can turn. "In some patients, continued abuse results in fatigue," according to Pray. And if you think this means you simply require more caffeine to get the kick, this isn't the case. "Any attempts to solve the problem by increasing caffeine intake causes the fatigue to worsen," he says. The solution: Eliminate as much caffeine from your diet as possible. This means not only cutting out coffee. Chocolate, tea, soda and even some medications also contain caffeine and could be causing unexplained fatigue.

Undiagnosed Heart Disease - If you find yourself becoming exhausted after activity that used to be easy, it may be time to talk to your doctor about the possibility of heart disease. According to Goldberg, when overwhelming fatigue sets in after ordinary tasks — such as vacuuming the house, doing yard work, or commuting from work each day — your heart may be sending out an SOS that it needs medical attention. "This doesn't mean that you should panic every time you yawn," says Goldberg. "Most of the time, fatigue is not the first sign of heart disease, and it's usually linked to something far less serious." At the same time, Goldberg points out that heart disease is the leading cause of death in women. "If fatigue following activity is significant, and no other possible reason comes to mind, see your doctor for a check-up," she advises. If your fatigue is related to your heart, medication or treatment procedures can usually help correct the problem, reduce the fatigue, and restore your energy.

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