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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Constant tiredness, weakness. Reason?

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Dr. Michelle Gibson James

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 11056 Questions

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Posted on Wed, 10 Apr 2013 in General Health
Question: What would cause constant tiredness, and often feeling of weakness?
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Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 36 minutes later
Hi, thanks for using healthcare magic

Fatigue can have a number of different causes. Some of the more common are : (1) anemia (2) hypothyroidism (3) sleep disorder (4) chronic illness (5) depression (6) electrolyte disturbance

Anemia or low red cell mass can result in feelings of fatigue and weakness. Red cells are responsible for transporting oxygen to the various tissues of the body, a decline results in decrease oxygenation and consequently fatigue.
It is diagnosed with a blood test checking the full blood count, if there is a decrease in the hemoglobin level (this carries the oxygen), then the other parts of the full blood count would give information that would allow the doctor to identify the likely type and cause of the anemia.

Hypothyroidism- low levels of thyroid hormone are also associated with these symptoms, for this reason thyroid function tests are done on anyone presenting with fatigue

There are a variety of types of sleep disorders,(1) some persons have difficulty maintaining sleep (insomnia), (2)some persons may have an abnormal rhythm of sleep ( either go to sleep too early and wake up in early am or go to sleep too late and wake up late) (3) some may have obstructive sleep apnoea which involves snoring and blockage of the air passage during sleep resulting in constant waking up and daytime fatigue
To diagnose the type of sleep disturbance requires a careful history

Chronic illness such as diabetes, heart disease, liver or kidney disease can also result in tiredness and weakness.

Depression is also a common reason for tiredness. It is one of the most common symptoms along with altered sleep, change in appetite, depressed mood, loss of interest in normal activities, feeling of guilt and difficulty making decisions.

Disturbance in some of the electrolytes in the body can also cause this problem

It may be best to be evaluated by your doctor who should take a careful history and conduct an examination to determine the cause of the symptoms. The history should include information on all of the above.
Investigations are: full blood count, thyroid , electrolytes, kidney function, screening for depression, screening for sleep disturbance through the use of questionnaires.

The treatment would depend on the cause of the problem

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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