Fatigue and Tiredness

General or Other | General Practice | Fatigue and Tiredness (Symptom)


Fatigue (either physical, mental or both) - also called exhaustion, lethargy, languidness, languor, lassitude, and listlessness is a symptom that may be difficult for the patient to describe and words like lethargic, exhausted and tired may be used. Other words that a person might use to describe fatigue may include the following: lack of energy, worn out, weary, malaise, or feeling run down.

Fatigue is a non-specific symptom, which means that it has many possible causes. Fatigue is considered a symptom, as opposed to a medical sign, because it is reported by the patient instead of being observed by others. The causes of fatigue can be classified under several broad disease entities or lifestyle problems that have fatigue as an associated symptom.


Common causes of fatigue can be of different nature and may include: metabolic/endocrine (anemia; hypothyroidism; diabetes; electrolyte abnormalities; kidney disease; liver disease; Cushings disease); infectious (infectious mononucleosis; hepatitis; tuberculosis; Cytomegalovirus; HIV infection; flu; malaria); cardiac and pulmonary (congestive heart failure; coronary artery disease; valvular heart disease; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); asthma; arrhythmias; pneumonia).

Other causes for fatigue and tiredness are: medications (antidepressants; anti-anxiety medications; sedative medications; medication and drug withdrawal; antihistamines; steroids; some blood pressure medications; some antidepressants); psychiatric (depression; anxiety; drug abuse; alcohol abuse; bulimia; anorexia); grief and bereavement); sleep problems (sleep apnea; reflux esophagitis; insomnia; narcolepsy; pregnancy); other (cancer; rheumatology illnesses; fibromyalgia; chronic fatigue syndrome; normal muscle exertion; obesity; chemotherapy and radiation therapy.