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Seven Serious Reasons You’re Tired All The Time

By Sydney James

“Why am I tired all the time?!” Have you been asking yourself this question lately?

It may be more than just a lack of sleep.

But first, try this test: For two weeks, add some healthy changes to your routine, including sleeping more, going out a little less often, eating a better, more nutritious diet, drinking more water, and cutting back on caffeine and alcohol.

“If you’re still feeling the symptoms of fatigue after those changes, then you need professional help,” says Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, MD, an internist in Atlanta. Excess exhaustion could be the sign of a more serious medical condition, including the following most common problems:

1. Anemia
The fatigue caused by anemia is the result of a lack of red blood cells, which bring oxygen from your lungs to your tissues and cells. You may feel weak and short of breath. Anemia may be caused by an iron or vitamin deficiency, blood loss, internal bleeding, or a chronic disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, or kidney failure.

2. Diabetes
Sugar, also called glucose, is the fuel that keeps your body going. And that means trouble for people with type 2 diabetes, who can’t use glucose properly, causing it to build up in the blood. Without enough energy to keep the body running smoothly, people with diabetes often notice fatigue as one of the first warning signs.

3. Thyroid Disease
The thyroid gland, about the size of a kiwi fruit, is found in the front of the neck and produces hormones that control your metabolism. Too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism), and metabolism speeds up. Too little (hypothyroidism), and metabolism slows down.

4. Depression
Depression is a major illness that affects the way we sleep, eat, and feel about ourselves and others. Without treatment, the symptoms of depression may last for weeks, months, or even years. So it’s important to recognize the warning signs and get help.

5. Rheumatoid Arthritis
RA happens when your immune system turns against itself and attacks healthy joint tissue, sometimes resulting in irreversible damage to bone and cartilage.

6. Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by brief interruptions of breathing during sleep. In the most common type, obstructive sleep apnea, your upper airway actually closes or collapses for a few seconds, which, in turn, alerts your brain to wake you up to begin breathing again. Someone with obstructive sleep apnea may stop breathing dozens or even hundreds of times a night.

7. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
People who suffer from CFS feel too tired to carry on with their normal activities and are easily exhausted with little exertion. Unfortunately, there are no test to diagnose CFS. Your doctor must rule out other conditions with similar symptoms, such as lupus and multiple sclerosis, before making the diagnosis.

Remember that if you’re struggling through your day, talk to your doctor. Exhaustion can be your body’s way of signaling a real problem, so rule out serious conditions that need to be treated. If you find that you don’t have a condition that’s standing in your way, ask your doctor about more customized steps you can take to start feeling better and more energized.

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