Why Am I So Tired?! : Thurow Primary Blog
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Why Am I So Tired?!

by Sharon Thurow on 01/05/16

When a patient sees me for the complaint of fatigue, I start to think about the various causes of this vague symptom. It is just a symptom, but one that can overtake quality of life. There are different causes of fatigue that may include lifestyle, anemia, diabetes, and thyroid among others….


With my patients, I focus on three areas of health: sleep, diet, and exercise, If you aren't getting good sleep, it's hard to eat well, and it's hard to exercise.

Adults need to sleep for 7 to 9 hours as well as eat a balanced diet of lean protein, fruits and vegetables. Exercise is imperative and should be done most days of the week. Dehydration is a very common cause of fatigue. Adequate intake should be half your body weight in ounces of water.   Imbalance in any of these areas, can ultimately lead to fatigue.


This is a reduced absolute number of circulating red blood cells –which carry oxygen in your blood. When a patient does not have enough red blood cells as in iron deficiency anemia, they may feel tired, possibly dizzy when standing and even short of breath. Lack of oxygen results in fatigue.


When you eat, food is changed into sugar for energy to be stored in the cell. When there is more than the cell can store, sugar floats freely in the blood and the pancreas, which is responsible for secreting insulin- works overtime. This is what causes the cell to take up more sugar and blood sugar to be lowered in the blood –sometimes too much-as in the case of Diabetes. Low blood sugar causes fatigue.


It's a small, butterfly-shaped gland that sits in your neck. It makes a hormone that helps control how you use energy-your metabolism.  When your thyroid gland is not working normally, you don’t feel normal either.

People with an underactive thyroid are going to feel tired and may be the cause of your fatigue.

Heart Disease

Extreme tiredness is a common symptom of congestive heart failure- which happens when it doesn't pump as well as it should. You will become short of breath with exercise and sometimes even at rest. This ultimately results in fatigue.  Your primary care provider can help you determine if this is the case.

Sleep Apnea

This disorder keeps you from getting enough oxygen when you sleep due to shallow breathing or not breathing for a period of time. This means you won't get real rest during the night. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may be accompanied by night time leg cramps, restless legs, or also waking up with a morning headache. A device called a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine can help keep your airways open for a solid night's sleep. Your provider will help screen you for OSA if this is suspected.


If you're a woman who's going through menopause, you may find it hard to get good sleep. Your hormones change a lot at this time, and this may result in night sweats which can keep you from getting good rest resulting in subsequent fatigue.


Stressful situations can lower hormones, for example serotonin. This can result in depression and your energy levels diminish and result in feeling tired during the day.

We at Thurow Primary listen to “your story” and a full work up is done to help identify your unique cause of fatigue. Make your appointment today.


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