Occasionally feeling tired throughout the day is a pretty normal occurrence for most people. For about 90% of us, fatigue can be resolved with minor changes in lifestyle habits, such as going to bed and getting up at a regular time and not drinking caffeine late at night.
However, for some people, being tired could be a symptom of something more serious. There are a number of illnesses, some serious, where one of the main symptoms is fatigue. The following are some suggestions to help you know when you need to see a doctor:
If you have been tired consistently, for more than 6 months, it could be a sign that something is wrong and you need to see a doctor. Illnesses like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), depression, and Lyme disease, among others, are often recognizable because of the patient’s constant fatigue for months at a time.
Fatigue Despite Regular Sleep
Some people are tired all time because they can’t sleep at night or because they stay up all night for whatever reason. Others are tired because they work odd shifts and don’t have a regular sleep schedule. If you are consistently getting 8 hours of sleep a night or more and have a regular sleep schedule and are still feeling tired, seeing a doctor is a good idea.
Other Physical Symptoms
When your tiredness is combined with other symptoms, it could very well mean something is wrong and you need to see a doctor. When multiple symptoms like weight loss, weight gain, sore throat, insomnia, muscle or joint pain, headaches, and other physical symptoms, in addition to fatigue, are present, there’s a good chance your tiredness is a symptom of a larger problem.
If you’re feeling sad or hopeless or are going through a major life change such as a divorce, death, or the break up of a serious relationship, you might be experiencing clinical depression. Seeing a doctor before would be a good idea. One major symptom of depression is sleeplessness and constant fatigue.
What to Expect at The Doctor
If you feel like your fatigue could be the result of something more and make an appointment to see a doctor, he or she will most likely ask you some basic questions about your medical history and take blood and urine samples for testing. He or she will also ask questions about your current state, including:
• How long you’ve been feeling tired
• Your sleeping habits (whether or not you get a full 8 hours, if you wake up often in the middle of the night, if you still feel tired after a full sleep, etc.)
• Any other physical symptoms you may have in addition to fatigue
• Whether you are under significant stress
• If you are feeling depressed or sad
Your doctor will be able to help you get to the root of your fatigue after some tests and questions. It may be something as simple as getting more sleep or it indicate something more serious, in which case treatment will begin.
While everyone experiences fatigue in one form or another, when accompanied by other symptoms, whether physical or emotional, you should probably call a doctor so he or she can get you back and feeling better soon.