Fatigue is a symptom that we all experience at one time or another. Let’s face it, climbing the corporate ladder, crushing glass ceilings, pursuing your education, and juggling a social and professional life are all demanding and can leave us feeling tired and drained. However, it’s important to know when fatigue may be an indication of something more serious. Here, we’ll discuss fatigue as a possible sign of three health concerns, Thyroid Dysfunction, Depression, and Anemia.
Ahead, I get into if, how, and why fatigue can be a possible sign of something more serious ⏤ and what to do if it is.
Is my fatigue related to my Thyroid?
Some questions to ask yourself?
Is your hair falling out?
When I say hair loss we are talking losing a significant amount of hair. We all lose hair when we brush or shower, but if you notice a significant increase in hair loss, or even loss of eyebrow hair, this could be a reason for concern. Blood work may be necessary to determine if your thyroid function is altered.
Are you feeling cold more often than not?
Sensitivity to cold is also something that may be associated with thyroid dysfunction. Again, we are talking a daily sense of being cold when others around you are comfortable. Are you wearing a sweater when your friends, family and coworkers swear to you that the room isn’t cold? This is an issue to discuss with your physician.
Have your periods become irregular?
Irregular periods are often a part of the presentation of thyroid dysfunction. Are you noticing that your periods are coming before or after they should be? Are they lasting longer or shorter than usual? These issues should be discussed with your physician also, because they may be part of the presentation of thyroid dysfunction.
Is my fatigue related to Depression?
Some questions to ask yourself include the following:
Do you feel a decrease in the desire to do things?
A decreased desire to do things that would normally give you a sense of excitement or pleasure may be a part of a larger diagnosis such as depression. If you’ve noticed a gradual or even sudden decrease in desire in your hobbies, or activities please seek the help of a physician to determine if you may be suffering from depression.
Has your appetite changed?
Change in appetite is often an issue for patients suffering from depression. This may cause a lack of desire to eat food. Do you feel that food no longer has taste or no longer appeals to you? Although this could be the cause of many issues, depression needs to be ruled out. Seek a medical professionals guidance regarding changes in appetite. Likewise, if you feel that you’ve been overeating as well as feeling any of the other symptoms we’ve discussed above, make sure to notify your physician.
Is it increasingly difficult to concentrate?
We all struggle with concentration when we are feeling tired. However, if you have noticed difficulty with concentration when watching television, or reading simple text such as a magazine, and this becomes a common occurrence, make sure to mention this to your physician as well.
Is my fatigue caused by underlying Anemia?
Anemia or a low red blood cell count is a medical condition that is closely linked with fatigue. Some questions to ask yourself include the following:
Are you feeling a sense of weakness in addition to your fatigue?
Weakness must be differentiated from fatigue here, Weakness is the sense that you lack muscle strength or ability to do things such as lift an object. Fatigue is more the generalized sense of being tired and may of may not include weakness. This may present as dropping things you’d normally be able to hold without strain, such as dishes, or brushes. If this symptom is present, you need to be evaluated by a physician.
Are you experiencing any dizziness with your Fatigue?
Dizziness is present with more serious levels of anemia. This may occur when you stand from a seated position, or even at rest. This is a serious symptom and must be discussed with your medical provider.
Have you noticed an increased or rapid heart rate associated with the Fatigue?
Increased heart rate is often associated with more serious levels of anemia as well as other serious conditions requiring proper evaluation. If you feel your heart rate is elevated above your normal, (note: an average resting heart rate is somewhere in the range of 55-75 beats per minute and varies based on age and level of conditioning) please notify your physician as soon as possible. If you feel the elevated heart rate is severe or associated with symptoms of dizziness or lightheadedness, do not hesitate to contact Emergency Care.
Remember that regular and consistent evaluations and examinations by your physician are an important tool in maintaining balance as you seek to empower yourself. Mind, Body, and Spirit need equal love and attention. If you’re feeling fatigued and have one or more of the other symptoms we discussed, schedule an appointment with your physician.