Extreme tiredness is the definition of fatigue and severe fatigue may cause problems getting up in the morning and continue even through all day. In most cases, changing your habits is enough to get rid of fatigue. However, different health conditions may also provoke fatigue but usually are managed by a healthcare professional easily.

What is Fatigue?

Everyone feels tired even once a day but fatigue means severely overtiredness. If you experience this feeling, you may face problems getting up in the morning, going to work, and performing your usual daily activities. Furthermore, fatigue usually feels like an overwhelming urge to sleep. However, you may not feel fresh even after you sleep. Check below the most common fatigue symptoms:

  • Decreased or even lack of desire to perform activities once enjoyed
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing
  • Extremely low motivation and energy
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness
  • Tired legs, eyes, or whole body
  • Stiff shoulders
  • Malaise (discomfort)
  • Boredom
  • Impatience

If you notice any of the previous symptoms, it is advised to visit a doctor right away.


There are different factors that can cause fatigue. For example health conditions, medicines, lifestyle factors, and others. The fatigue feeling may be temporary or a chronic condition. Changing your medicines, sleep habits, exercise, and diet can help to get rid of fatigue fast. Check below some fatigue causes:

Lifestyle Factors

  • Jet lag
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Burnout
  • Stress
  • Street drugs
  • Alcohol misuse
  • Poor diet

Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders can provoke long-term exhaustion and extreme fatigue. Examples include:

  • Insomnia (sleeping disturbances)
  • Sleep apnea
  • Narcolepsy
  • Shift work sleep disorder

Prescription Medicines

  • Opioids
  • Anxiolytics
  • Antipsychotics
  • Sedative-hypnotics
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Beta-blockers

Check below some over-the-counter (OTC) medications and treatments that could cause fatigue:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Bone marrow transplants
  • Nonprescription medications (including antihistamines)

Health Conditions

Many health problems may also contribute to or lead to fatigue. Check below the most common of them:


  • Mononucleosis
  • HIV
  • COVID-19
  • Influenza
  • Pneumonia
  • Lyme disease

Heart and Lung Issues

  • Emphysema
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Heart disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)

Mental Health Diseases

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Autoimmune Conditions

  • Lupus
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sjogren’s syndrome

Hormonal Imbalances

Some endocrine system problems may also provoke fatigue. In addition, hypothyroidism is another condition that may cause exhaustion.

Other Chronic Conditions

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis or CFS)
  • Kidney disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cancer

In addition, anemia or vitamin deficiencies (including vitamin D or vitamin B12) also may provoke fatigue. Furthermore, it is recommended to get plenty of fluid because dehydration may also cause extreme tiredness.

Weight Problems and Eating Disorders

  • Bulimia
  • Anorexia
  • Overweight
  • Obesity
  • Underweight


Healthcare providers will ask some questions about your lifestyle, medical history, and medicines. After that, they may perform a physical examination and order some laboratory tests.

Usually, physicians to relieve fatigue will prescribe treatments for fatigue-causing health conditions. The treatment includes exercise, medicines, and therapy. However, if you are using medicines that provoke fatigue, your doctor may change it to a new one.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to relieve or lessen fatigue at home?

In case a disease does not provoke fatigue, certain lifestyle changes may be enough to decrease or relieve fatigue. Examples include:

  • Practice healthy sleep habits – It is recommended to sleep every night for 7-9 hours. In addition, avoid caffeine drinks before bedtime.
  • Avoid alcohol and recreational drug use
  • Adopt a healthy diet
  • Manage stress
  • Make regular appointments with your healthcare provider
  • Regular exercise
  • Maintain a healthy weight

Can fatigue be a symptom of a serious health condition?

Yes and if you experience any of the following symptoms along with extreme tiredness, immediately contact your physician. For example:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in your arm, upper back, or chest
  • Tachycardia (fast heartbeat)
  • Bradycardia (slow heartbeat)
  • Heart palpitations
  • Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
  • Vision problems
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Muscle weakness

When should I call my physician about fatigue?

Everyone can notice temporary fatigue due to sleep problems, travel, diet or medicine changes, illness, and others. However, if extreme tiredness is persistent, you should call your doctor. Contact also your healthcare professional if:

  • Fatigue lasts more than several days
  • It is not known the exact cause of fatigue
  • Suddenly extreme tiredness
  • You are over 65 years old

Ask your physician if you have any questions.

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