Six reasons you are always exhausted

Sometimes, both emotional and physical fatigue can get to the very best of us all. Whether you are facing serious financial burden, marital problems, or simply recovering from the common cold, one thing is certain – these issues may contribute to various forms and degrees of exhaustion.

It’s quite normal to experience some level of fatigue when dealing with any life stressor. It is also not out of the ordinary by any means to feel very tired after a long day of hard work or overexertion with physical activity. We have all definitely been there. But what if you get to a point whereby your body just feels off all of the time and you are extremely exhausted and chronically zapped of your energy? There should definitely be some cause for concern if this level of exhaustion has now become your new baseline status of health. 

Nonetheless, if you continue to feel excessively fatigued all of the time (even after obtaining adequate sleep), there are some common medical conditions that may be the culprit.  

The prevalence of diabetes is on the rise in West Africa. It is a serious metabolic disorder that occurs when the pancreas makes no insulin or very small amounts of the hormone. Symptoms of the condition may ensue as a result of impaired blood glucose regulation.

Increased fatigue is oftentimes one of the first symptoms that those with diabetes experience and complain about to their doctor. Other symptoms can include increased thirst, frequent urination, and even blurred vision. If you are feeling weaker than usual and experience the aforementioned constellation of symptoms, you should be evaluated by your health care provider immediately. Diabetes may be easily diagnosed by means of a blood test. When the condition is left chronically uncontrolled, serious complications like kidney damage, neuropathy, and even cardiovascular disease may arise. 

Living in a hot and tropical climate like Nigeria, may make one more susceptible to experiencing dehydration. It may cause symptoms of increased fatigue, weakness, and sluggishness. It is essential to replace the fluids lost in your system and keep your energy levels up by drinking adequate amounts of water daily. 

A good way to determine if you may be dehydrated and need to drink more is by evaluation of your urine.  Urine color can actually be a telling indicator of your level of hydration. As you become more dehydrated, the urine is not as clear as usual and may appear more concentrated and even darker in color. Low urine output is also another sign of dehydration.Remember, chronic dehydration may be damaging to organs like the kidneys and severe dehydration may even potentially be life threatening. Therefore, remaining well hydrated is extremely important.

Another common cause of chronic fatigue that should not be overlooked is anemia. The condition occurs when the amount of red blood cells in the body is lower than normal, and subsequently oxygen supply to the body may be reduced. There are several causes of anemia, but one common nutritional deficiency that may lead to the condition is iron deficiency, which can usually be treated with oral iron supplementation.In addition to feeling fatigued and tired, one may also experience shortness of breath and even symptoms of dizziness, pale skin, and cold extremities.

Thyroid Disorders
The thyroid gland helps to regulate various metabolic processes in the body. Hypothyroidism is an endocrine disorder that results in lower than normal levels of thyroid hormone. When the hormone levels are low, then one may experience extreme weakness and fatigue. Other symptoms of an under-active thyroid may also include constipation, weight gain, and even hair loss. A simple blood test to check your thyroid hormone levels may be diagnostic. Treatment may entail daily thyroid hormone replacement.

If you feel more fatigued than normal, your doctor will likely assess to see if you have any signs of infection. In this part of the world, malaria is the top infectious disease of concern as it still remains a major cause of mortality in Nigeria. If you are experiencing weakness or fatigue accompanied by fever, chills, muscle aches, and headaches, then you should definitely be tested for this condition.

Depression and/or anxiety: Your mental health matters and it is just as important as your physical health. A growing number of Nigerians suffer from depression and it may impact the body such that symptoms of unrelenting fatigue and lethargy may begin to manifest. Those with depression or anxiety tend to perpetually be in a very low energy state. Your primary care provider or mental health specialist may prescribe medications to help alleviate any depressive symptoms. 

Here is the bottom line: If you are perpetually exhausted, there is always an underlying reason for your symptoms that must be thoroughly investigated. Though weakness and fatigue are prevalent symptoms in many health conditions, your doctor should be able to establish a diagnosis and treatment plan for you after obtaining a thorough history, physical, and blood work. 

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Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe

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