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What Causes Chronic Fatigue?| 1stCallHealth Washington DC Affordable Primary Medical Care Nurse Practitioners Clinic

One of the more frequently asked questions about healthcare we get here at our Washington DC medical clinic is “why am I so tired all the time?”

There are a number of potential reasons you might be feeling tired.

For instance, we all have nights where, for whatever reason, we just don’t sleep very well.

Maybe the neighbors are playing their music a little too loud.

Or you’re excited about an upcoming event.

These things are usually short lived though.

You may have a night or two of poor sleep leading to feeling tired, but once that has passed things get back to normal.

However, if you’re experiencing a constant state of extreme tiredness, then you might be dealing with chronic fatigue.

Keep reading to learn more about this condition and what can cause it.

What Is Chronic Fatigue?

Chronic fatigue is a condition in which you experience a lack of energy which lasts for at least six months, if not more.

The exact cause of chronic fatigue is not known.

It often occurs as a symptom of other chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis.

Other factors which can contribute to it include infections, changes in hormones, and stress.

How Do You Know If You Have Chronic Fatigue?

You may be experiencing chronic fatigue if you’re experiencing the following symptoms which have lasted or recurred for at least six months:

  • Brain fog (difficulty with short term concentration and memory)
  • Muscle pain
  • Waking up not feeling refreshed
  • Headaches
  • Sore throat
  • Join pain and swelling
  • Soreness following exercise lasting longer than one day

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What’s The Difference Between Chronic Fatigue Vs Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Fatigue is the feeling of lacking energy or being tired.

It comes with a lack of motivation, and while it may be similar to feeling sleepy or drowsy, it’s not the same thing.

When symptoms of fatigue persist for longer than six months, it becomes chronic.

Chronic fatigue can occur as a result of other chronic conditions.

Chronic fatigue syndrome, however, is a specific medical condition, which is recognized by persistent, extreme fatigue.

The terms chronic fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome are often used interchangeably, however, one is a symptom of other conditions, and one is its own syndrome.

Possible Causes Of Chronic Fatigue

If you’re experiencing chronic fatigue, there are a number of potential causes for it.

Fatigue can occur alongside a variety of conditions and for a variety of reasons.

Here are some of the potential reasons you might be feeling tired all the time.

1. You’re Deficient In Nutrients

Even if you get enough good quality sleep, certain nutrients can play a big role in giving your body energy.

If you’re not getting enough of these, then you might experience fatigue as a side effect.

Nutrients which can affect your energy levels include:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin)
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
  • Vitamin B9 (folate)
  • Vitamin B12

2. You’re Dehydrated

There are a lot of benefits of drinking enough water.

It can help prevent kidney stones and urinary tract infections, assist with weight management, and improve your digestion.

And you can add helping to maintain your energy levels to that list.

Your body needs enough water to replace what’s lost because of the biochemical reactions which take place in your body every day.

Being dehydrated has been associated with not getting enough sleep, as well as low energy and poor concentration.

Just be sure not to drink too much water right before bedtime, or you’ll be up at night for a different reason.

3. You’re Not Getting Enough Quality Sleep

When you sleep, your body performs functions critical for your body to repair cells, regenerate, and to grow.

But when it comes to sleep, more isn’t always better.

Think about it this way:

Would you rather get ten hours of sleep, but wake up multiple times throughout the night?

Or would you prefer to sleep for seven or eight solid hours, without interruption?

Most of us would prefer the shorter, but better quality sleep.

Uninterrupted sleep allows your brain to follow go through the cycles of non rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.

This helps you to wake up feeling fully refreshed.

4. You’ve Got A Medical Condition

There are a number of health conditions which can affect your sleep.

If you have chronic fatigue, and can’t seem to pinpoint the cause, it may be due to an underlying condition.

Some conditions which can lead to you feeling tired and exhausted include:

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Kidney disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Prediabetes and type 2 diabetes
  • Depression
  • A thyroid disorder
  • Conditions which affect your hormone levels
  • Sleep apnea
  • Anemia
  • Eating disorders
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Arthritis
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Some infections, like the flu
  • Cancer

Getting the proper treatment for any underlying conditions can help improve your sleep and help you feel better overall.

If you’re constantly tired, book your appointment with 1stCallHealth today.

We can help you get to the bottom of your symptoms.

5. You’re Drinking Too Much Coffee

You probably think of coffee or other caffeinated beverages as the thing that helps you wake up.

And while it does give you a temporary energy boost, it can easily be over used.

If you rely too heavily on coffee, then it can lead to poor sleep quality, resulting in feeling tired.

Of course, if you’re tired, then you’re more likely to reach for even more coffee, thus causing the cycle to restart.

If you are having trouble falling and staying asleep, reviewing your consumption of coffee and other caffeine containing beverages may be a good place to start.

6. Other Possible Causes

Some other factors which can lead to chronic fatigue include:

  • Chronic stress or anxiety
  • Poor diet
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Alcohol or drug misuse
  • Working irregular shifts
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Certain medications, including antidepressants and some sedatives
  • Too much, or not enough exercise
  • Grief

How Is Chronic Fatigue Treated?

The way your healthcare provider will treat your chronic fatigue will depend largely on the underlying cause.

For instance, if it’s related to a medication you’re on, they may have you try a different medication if available or change what time of day you take it at.

If your chronic fatigue is related to another medical condition, then they’ll want to get to the heart of underlying condition.

Lifestyle changes such as limiting caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, avoiding naps, and getting more exercise may also help.

Using a sleep aid might be another potential solution.

There are a number of evidence based over the counter sleep aids you can try, like chamomile, kava, magnesium, or melatonin.

In short, there is no one size fits all treatment for fatigue, but if you need help figuring out what to do…

Book Your Appointment With 1stCallHealth Today

Have you been feeling extra tired lately, and can’t figure out why?

You’re not getting a full, solid, nights sleep, but you’ve already tried changing your diet to get more nutrients, and limiting how much coffee you’re drinking.

You might be experiencing chronic fatigue.

We’re 1stCallHealth, and we provide affordable, personal healthcare in the Washington DC area, and if you’re looking to get to the bottom of why you’re tired all the time, we can help.

Contact us today to book an appointment, and let us help you get on track to start feeling energized and well rested again.

Book your appointment with 1stCallHealth today.

1331 H St NW Ste 200,
Washington, DC 20005

(202) 590-0009

1stCallHEALTH provides affordable access to primary care services. We believe that everyone deserves affordable, high quality primary care.
Our vision is to challenge the status quo, focus on the individual, and empower personal control to change the way we think about healthcare.