Why Am I Always Tired?

Common causes for fatigue

If you find yourself sleeping until the last possible second before dragging yourself out of bed to start the day, you may be wondering, "Why am I always tired?" Or maybe you just don't have the energy to get things done the way you used to? Fatigue and a lack of energy are a big problem for many people, but these problems can only be fixed if you know what is wrong.

If you are feeling constantly tired, the first thing you should do is see your personal physician for a checkup. The physician can do testing to figure out just what the source of your fatigue is -- and then prescribe a treatment plan to best help you.

A few of the possible causes of fatigue include the following:

Lack of Sleep

While this one may seem obvious, it is a surprisingly common reason for feeling tired. Many people go through life feeling too stressed or too busy to slow down and get all of the sleep that they need to feel good. While this isn't a medical condition per se, your doctor may be able to help you learn about ways to reduce your stress or prescribe medications to help you with occasional sleeplessness.



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Depression is a condition believed to be caused abnormalities in mood-regulating chemicals called neurotransmitters.

People with depression tend to have problems with sleep and energy level. They may have trouble falling asleep or wake up during the night. Some people with depression may also have trouble waking up in the morning and sleep too long. Depression can also make you feel sluggish and unmotivated.

Some of the other symptoms of depression include feeling sad or empty, losing interest in activities that you once enjoyed, changes in appetite or weight, feeling worthless or guilty and having recurring thoughts of death or suicide.


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    When you have anemia, your body either has a lower than normal number of red blood cells or it doesn't have enough hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the substance which gives red blood cells their color. It is also involved in carrying oxygen throughout your body. When you have too little hemoglobin, your body doesn't get enough oxygen, so you feel tired or weak. You may also have symptoms such as pale skin, shortness of breath, dizziness, or headaches.


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    Hypothyroidism is a disease in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone controls your metabolism; so, when you don't have enough, you start to get symptoms of a low metabolism, such as tiredness, weight gain and feeling cold.


    Heart Disease

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    In heart disease, especially heart failure, there are a few reasons that you can become fatigued. A main one: the heart can become less able to pump oxygenated blood to your muscles and other tissues, causing you to feel tired all the time and unable to tolerate exercise. Even your regular daily activities like walking or carrying your groceries in from the car can become difficult.

    Other possible symptoms of heart disease include: heart pain, heart palpitations, dizziness, fainting and shortness of breath.


    Sleep Apnea

    Woman sleeping with pillow over head
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    Sleep apnea is a chronic condition in which there may be pauses in breathing, or shallow breathing, lasting anywhere from a few seconds to a minute while a person is sleeping. These pauses and shallow breaths can occur as many as 30 times a minute. And, each time breathing returns to normal, often with a snort or a choking sound, it can be very disruptive to a person's sleep. This disrupted and poor quality sleep can be a common cause of daytime sleepiness.

    Some of the other symptoms of sleep apnea include morning headaches, memory problems, poor concentration, irritability, depression and sore throat upon waking.



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    Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver usually caused by a viral infection making it unable to work properly. The liver has several important functions, including breaking down toxins; manufacturing certain proteins, such as albumin and blood clotting factors; metabolizing and storing carbohydrates; and manufacturing bile. Hepatitis interferes with these vital processes.

    In addition to being tired, some of the symptoms that you might experience are: nausea, fever, loss of appetite, stomach pain, diarrhea, dark yellow urine, light-colored stools or yellow skin and eyes.



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    Diabetes is a condition in which either the body doesn't make enough insulin or it doesn't use it as well as it should. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that helps glucose get into the body's cells to be used for energy production. There are several reasons that diabetes may be causing you to feel tired all the time.

    Other diabetes symptoms include frequent urination, extreme thirst, unexplained weight loss, extreme hunger, sudden vision changes, tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, dry skin, slow-healing wounds or more infections than usual.


    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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    Chronic fatigue syndrome is a disorder characterized by intense fatigue that does not improve with rest and may be made worse by physical or mental exertion. It is unknown what causes this condition.

    In addition to debilitating fatigue, some of the other symptoms which define chronic fatigue syndrome include: impairment in short-term memory or concentration, muscle and joint pain, headaches, tender lymph nodes and frequent sore throat.



    Zoloft Side Effects
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    Fatigue can be a side effect of several different medications. Some of the most common medications which may cause fatigue include:

    Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you if fatigue is a possible side effect of any medications that you are taking, both prescription and over-the-counter.


    "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)." Center for Disease Control and Prevention Website. CDC. Accessed: February 21, 2013.

    "Diabetes." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website. CDC. Accessed: February 21, 2013.

    Duckworth, Ken. "Depression." National Alliance on Mental Illness Website. 2012. National Alliance on Mental Illness. Accessed: January 20, 2013.

    "Heart Disease Signs and Symptoms." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website. CDC. Accessed: February 21, 2013.

    Neal, Armon B., Jr. "Medications That Can Lead to Chronic Fatigue." American Association of Retired Persons Website. AARP. Accessed: February 21, 2013.

    "What I Need to Know About Hepatitis C." National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. December 19, 2012. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health. Accessed: February 21, 2013.

    "What Is Anemia?" National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Website. May 18, 2012. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed: January 20, 2013.

    "What Is Sleep Apnea?" National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Website. July 10, 2012. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed: February 11, 2013.

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