Feeling constantly exhausted and having no strength for everyday life is an almost unimaginable burden for body and soul. Nevertheless, chronic fatigue, especially in combination with other diseases, is not uncommon.
The body signals with the constant overtiredness that something is wrong and this cause must be found and eliminated as quickly as possible. However, this entanglement is often difficult for doctors, as chronic fatigue rarely occurs alone.
Mostly affected persons suffer from several different physical or mental diseases, which influence each other and cause new symptoms.
In this article we would like to explain the causes of chronic fatigue syndrome to you, show you what consequences the illness can have on your physical and mental well-being and show you measures to improve your sleep quality and thus prevent illness.
The most important facts in brief
- Chronic fatigue is both a disease and a common symptom of other diseases.
- The chronic fatigue syndrome triggers constant exhaustion and sluggishness, as well as limb pain and lack of drive in those affected.
- To counteract the development of chronic fatigue and its accompanying diseases, you should try to optimize your sleep quality.
Definition: What is chronic fatigue?
Chronic fatigue is also called chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
This is a disease pattern that is difficult to define. Severe fatigue is usually also the consequence of many other illnesses and only if persistent fatigue occurs without any recognisable reason can it be called chronic fatigue in the narrower sense.
Otherwise, chronic fatigue is usually triggered by another disease, i.e. it is only a symptom of a pre-existing disease or occurs simultaneously with another disease.
This disease can be of a physical as well as a mental nature. In general, you must imagine chronic fatigue in such a way that even the smallest everyday activities, such as brushing your teeth or taking a shower, exhaust you completely.
This is why those affected usually do not get out of bed at all. Because of the illness you constantly have the feeling of having no energy.
This video also explains again exactly what chronic fatigue is about:
Backgrounds: What you should know about chronic fatigue
So that you can better understand the clinical picture of chronic fatigue, you will now receive important background information. This will enable you to better assess the causes of chronic fatigue syndrome and the consequences it brings with it.
Most often, chronic fatigue occurs in connection with a mental illness or a physical disease.
Therefore, you should be aware of the symptoms of the disease in order to recognise them and be able to take early action.
The quality of your sleep affects your energy reserves and thus influences your physical and mental condition.
Therefore you should try to create a sleeping climate that is as restful and undisturbed as possible.
What is the difference between chronic fatigue and “normal” fatigue?
There are, of course, natural causes of fatigue, such as lack of sleep or physical exertion. A distinction must be made between this “normal” fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome.
The difference lies in the fact that in the case of chronic fatigue there is initially no apparent reason for the tiredness and exhaustion. Thus, the affected persons have not spent a night out or have not done excessive sports.
They already feel exhausted from small activities without any apparent reason. With “normal” fatigue, on the other hand, the reason for the overtiredness is usually known and this disappears again after a good night’s sleep.
What causes chronic fatigue?
As already mentioned, the causes of chronic fatigue are usually not immediately apparent and must be investigated more closely.
Here we have listed some other physical and mental illnesses in which chronic fatigue occurs as an accompanying symptom.
First and foremost, depression should be mentioned here, as it very often occurs in conjunction with chronic fatigue. Depression can also trigger indifference, laziness and fatigue.
For those affected, prolonged activity is usually already a major overcoming factor and therefore they retreat, which in turn promotes the chronic fatigue syndrome.
Depression is a very complex disease and requires a longer treatment period.
However, if it is clear that depression is the trigger for the chronic fatigue syndrome, treatment of depression should also reduce fatigue.
Unfortunately, there are always cases where chronic fatigue occurs as a side effect of a drug.
As already mentioned, chronic fatigue is often caused by a combination of different factors.
For example, if a medication is already being taken for an existing illness, it is possible that this medication in turn triggers chronic fatigue as a side effect.
Therefore, it is very difficult to find the right dosage of the medication to keep the side effects as low as possible.
Many mental illnesses are caused or intensified by vitamin deficiency.
Chronic fatigue can also be caused by a vitamin deficiency, as vitamins play an essential role in the body’s energy reserves.
Vitamin D deficiency, in particular, has a particularly rapid effect on the state of mind and physical condition.
Vitamin D is formed by the action of UV rays on the skin, so a deficiency of the vitamin suggests that you have spent too little time outdoors.
In this table you will find a short description of the most important vitamins whose deficiency can cause fatigue.
Other physical causes
In general, an illness is always a strain on your body and costs it energy. There are many physical complaints which result in tiredness and reduced performance.
Particularly with diabetes and anaemia, the human body is impaired in its performance and needs more sleep and rest periods to regenerate.
But kidney failure, heart failure, tumours, inflammations or autoimmune diseases can also trigger chronic fatigue.
Tumours and inflammations strain the body’s energy reserves because these diseases cause the body to use more energy.
The other diseases mean that important energy sources such as sugar or oxygen are only poorly absorbed. In both situations the body has too little energy and therefore a greater need for sleep.
What are the symptoms of chronic fatigue?
Chronic fatigue can itself be a symptom of another disease, as mentioned above, but other symptoms are also associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.
As sleep is very individual, it is difficult for doctors to generalise symptoms of chronic fatigue, as they can vary from person to person.
Most of those affected describe increased exhaustion and sluggishness due to insufficient sleep.
The sheep is not restful and the body cannot replenish its energy. As a result, those affected often react very irritably during the day and complain about concentration problems.
Here we have listed the most common symptoms:
What are the consequences of chronic fatigue?
With excessive exhaustion, for no apparent reason, the body signals that something is wrong.
In chronic fatigue, several triggers often meet, which is why various consequences can occur. In the following we will describe some of the consequences of chronic fatigue in more detail.
Fatigue and exhaustion
Of course, constant tiredness and exhaustion is the main consequence of chronic fatigue. Affected persons feel constantly tired and exhausted. This is usually accompanied by a feeling of lack of drive and uselessness.
Affected persons have no energy reserves to devote themselves to their daily tasks. Therefore it is also very difficult to motivate them to activities. Mostly the listlessness is also caused by an additional mental illness.
Headaches and sore throats
People who suffer from chronic fatigue often suffer from headaches. This is a simple reaction of the body to the lack of regeneration and signals that the body needs rest.
The syndrome can also be accompanied by sore throat or inflammation.
Lack of sleep can also have negative effects on other parts of the body and cause inflammation or infection.
Chronic fatigue is particularly stressful for body and mind because you constantly feel exhausted without being able to do anything about it.
It is therefore quite possible that people suffering from the chronic fatigue syndrome are also at risk of burnout because they cannot withstand the constant exhaustion in the long term.
Chornian fatigue can occur as an accompanying syndrome of various diseases.
Burnout syndrome also goes hand in hand with chronic fatigue and the two diseases reinforce each other.
When should I go to the doctor in case of chronic fatigue?
If you notice anything unusual in your sleeping behaviour, you should go to the doctor to have yourself examined.
A low quality of sleep over a few nights is of course no reason to get upset, but if your sleep pattern does not return to normal, you should have a check-up.
If chronic fatigue syndrome is suspected, you should see a specialist in neurology and psychiatry if possible.
In any case, all diseases associated with chronic fatigue should be tested to find the cause of the disease.
What to do about chronic fatigue: treatment methods and preventive measures
Due to the complex clinical picture of chronic fatigue, it is difficult to find a suitable treatment method.
If the chronic fatigue syndrome occurs in conjunction with a mental illness, the triggering illness must always be treated.
In this article, we will briefly discuss the drug treatment of chronic fatigue or other mental illnesses and then focus on preventive measures.
There are simple tricks you can use to improve the quality of your sleep and thus prevent diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome.
The biggest problem in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome is that it is very difficult to motivate those affected to seek treatment.
Due to the strong need for sleep, those affected are often unable to come up with alternative treatments and therefore resort to drug treatment.
In addition, patients suspected of having chronic fatigue must be examined very closely to determine the cause of the syndrome.
If physical causes or mental illnesses are the trigger for chronic fatigue, these usually always have to be treated with medication if they are severe.
Depending on the causes, the disease can be controlled with a combination of antibiotics, psychotropic drugs and psychotherapy, and a significant reduction in symptoms can be seen.
Meditation and relaxation techniques
Of course, meditation cannot guarantee a cure for a chronic illness, but with the help of meditation and other relaxation techniques you can improve your sleep quality and thus counteract the development of chronic fatigue.
There are many different techniques that allow your body to relax and come to rest.
For example, autogenic training, a breathing and relaxation technique, could help you to relax in a targeted manner. Through the targeted rest phases you can regenerate better and recharge your batteries.
Creating inner balance
Mental illnesses are often the trigger for sleep problems and thus also for chronic fatigue. Therefore it is essential to deal with your thoughts and feelings and to reduce possible stress or problems.
The effects of our mental well-being on our sleep and energy reserves are often underestimated. Therefore, you should try every day to get rid of things that burden you.
This way you avoid that these things keep you awake at night because you have to think about them all the time.
If you are at peace with yourself and your psychic condition is good, your sleep and body will also be positively influenced.
With a healthy mental condition you can also prevent chronic fatigue.
The food we eat is also a source of energy for our body, so it is important to pay attention to what you eat.
The effects of various foods on our bodies are also still underestimated. Many people then consume large amounts of caffeine or sugar to wake up the body.
However, a sports unit and a bowl of fruit would be much more effective and healthy. You should try to supply your body with the most important nutrients on a daily basis in order to start the day full of energy.
Late food intake can lead to stomach pressure and heartburn and thus impair sleep. Therefore, you should not eat large quantities just before going to bed.
Through healthy and borrowed food you do something good for your body and this also has a positive effect on your sleep.
Trivia: What else you should know about chronic fatigue
We have now explained the topic in great detail and outlined the most important aspects. Should there still be any questions left unanswered or you are simply very interested in chronic fatigue, we have further information on constant overfatigue.
What should I do if my child suffers from chronic fatigue?
If you notice that your child is constantly overtired despite sufficient sleep, you should consult a doctor in any case.
The exhaustion of the body is a signal that something is wrong. Often people suffer from a vitamin deficiency or anaemia without knowing it.
However, these problems can be solved and thus you can normalize the activity of your child
Chronic fatigue in the menopause
During the menopause, women have to put up with various moods of their bodies because their hormone balance changes. Many women complain of joint pain, hot flashes, bleeding and a few more during this time.
Among other things, increased fatigue is also a side effect of the menopause. The energy reserves of affected women decrease and they feel constantly exhausted.
But since the cause is known here, you should try to drink a lot and exercise regularly. Relaxation techniques or meditation can also help here. You can read more about this in the chapter above.
We hope that this article will help you to find answers to possible questions and to recognise that chronic fatigue is a very complex disease, the course of which is usually exacerbated by other diseases.
So if you feel that your sleep quality is not optimal and you are constantly tired and exhausted, you now know that this can have both physical and psychological causes.
If your attempts to improve your sleep quality do not succeed, you can consult a doctor to get to the bottom of the problem.
It is important to recognize symptoms early and act accordingly. Your sleep is the source of your energy reserves. Therefore, you should make sure that your sleep goes as well as possible and that your body can regenerate itself optimally.
Table of Contents
- 1 The most important facts in brief
- 2 Definition: What is chronic fatigue?
- 3 Backgrounds: What you should know about chronic fatigue
- 3.1 What is the difference between chronic fatigue and “normal” fatigue?
- 3.2 What causes chronic fatigue?
- 3.3 What are the symptoms of chronic fatigue?
- 3.4 What are the consequences of chronic fatigue?
- 3.5 When should I go to the doctor in case of chronic fatigue?
- 4 What to do about chronic fatigue: treatment methods and preventive measures
- 5 Trivia: What else you should know about chronic fatigue
- 6 Conclusion