Fatigue is a sense of tiredness that leaves a person feeling weakened and without energy. Unlike sleepiness, which may be caused by a single night without adequate rest, fatigue sets in gradually and isn’t cured with a single nap. People who suffer from fatigue may describe themselves as being exhausted or overtired.
Continual lack of sleep is a major cause of fatigue, but it’s not the only cause. Causes can be both physical and mental. Some other causes of fatigue include the following:
Drug and alcohol use
A lack of physical activity or excessive physical activity
Some medications, including over-the-counter and prescription medications
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Additionally, some severe medical issues can deplete a person of energy and leave them feeling fatigued. For instance, chronic kidney disease, emphysema, heart disease, and even deep grief can cause fatigue under certain conditions.
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a severe form of fatigue that has no apparent underlying medical cause. It might worsen with certain mental or physical activities, but it won’t improve with rest. The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome isn’t known.
Temporary fatigue that’s minor to moderate is often cured with adequate rest. As mentioned, one nap won’t cure a person of fatigue. Getting a full night’s rest for several weeks or months in a row, however, frequently will -- especially if the cause is a continual lack of sleep.
Some cases of fatigue, however, won’t go away with adequate rest. Fatigue that’s not caused by a lack of sleep may not go away with additional rest. In these cases, dietary changes, acupuncture, and herbal remedies might be needed to treat the fatigue. Even fatigue that’s caused by a lack of sleep may call for these additional treatments.
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