Drowsiness, Fatigue and Tiredness
General or Other | General Practice | Drowsiness, Fatigue and Tiredness (Symptom)
Drowsiness refers to feeling sleepy or tired, or being unable to keep your eyes open. Drowsiness can be accompanied by lethargy, weakness, and lack of mental agility.
While most people feel drowsy at some point or another, persistent sleepiness or fatigue, especially at inappropriate times, can indicate a sleep disorder or other medical problem. Excessive daytime sleepiness (without a known cause) may be a sign of a significant sleep disorder. It is different from fatigue.
Fatigue (also called exhaustion, lethargy, languidness, languor, lassitude, and listlessness) is a state of awareness describing a range of afflictions, usually associated with physical and/or mental weakness, though varying from a general state of lethargy to a specific work-induced burning sensation within one's muscles. Physical fatigue is the inability to continue functioning at the level of one's normal abilities. It is widespread in everyday life, but usually becomes particularly noticeable during heavy exercise. Mental fatigue, on the other hand, rather manifests in somnolence (sleepiness).
Sleep disorders are a common cause of drowsiness. These include a number of conditions, of which sleep apnea, insomnia, and narcolepsy are the most well-known. 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. Fatigue and ‘feelings of fatigue’ are often confused.