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What causes tiredness and drowsiness in an elderly person?

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Posted on Mon, 11 May 2015
Question: If I stay active I do ok, If I sit to watch tv or read , I always get very tired and very sleepy. I'm 86 years and in fairly good health ,except low thyroid and arthritis , mainly in my hands. What can I do to keep from getting so tired and sleepy?
YYYY@YYYY
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Answered by Dr. Kathy Robinson (11 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
many things can cause fatigue

Detailed Answer:
Hello and thank you for your question.
Many things can cause fatigue. See your doctor and make sure that you are not anemic and that your thyroid is well controlled. You might want to ask for a Vitamin B12 and vitamin D level also.
Another common cause of daytime sleepiness is sleep apnea so discuss this with your doctor and see if he/she thinks you may need to be tested for that.
If there are no medical causes then the best thing to do is to get up and walk for 10-15 minutes whenever you start to feel very sleepy.
Another correctable cause is eating too many carbohydrates in the diet. Carbs are sweets and starches like bread, pasta, potatoes and rice. Some people find that if they cut way back on carbs in their diet they have much more energy.
Make sure you are getting enough sleep at night. Drink at least two liters of water daily. Take a multivitamin daily. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Cut back on carbs and eat only small portions of lean meat and fish.
Good luck to you and I hope you are feeling better soon
Dr. Robinson
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Kathy Robinson

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1989

Answered : 3535 Questions

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What causes tiredness and drowsiness in an elderly person?

Brief Answer: many things can cause fatigue Detailed Answer: Hello and thank you for your question. Many things can cause fatigue. See your doctor and make sure that you are not anemic and that your thyroid is well controlled. You might want to ask for a Vitamin B12 and vitamin D level also. Another common cause of daytime sleepiness is sleep apnea so discuss this with your doctor and see if he/she thinks you may need to be tested for that. If there are no medical causes then the best thing to do is to get up and walk for 10-15 minutes whenever you start to feel very sleepy. Another correctable cause is eating too many carbohydrates in the diet. Carbs are sweets and starches like bread, pasta, potatoes and rice. Some people find that if they cut way back on carbs in their diet they have much more energy. Make sure you are getting enough sleep at night. Drink at least two liters of water daily. Take a multivitamin daily. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Cut back on carbs and eat only small portions of lean meat and fish. Good luck to you and I hope you are feeling better soon Dr. Robinson