Chronic Fatigue Syndrome What To Know

Chronic Fatigue in Seniors: Causes and Treatment Options.

Everyone feels tired occasionally, but if you find it difficult to stay alert on an ongoing basis, you may be suffering from chronic fatigue. 

Chronic fatigue can be tied to any number of physical and mental conditions. It may be caused by depression, disease, or medication taken to treat an illness. The good news is, once you find the cause of the fatigue, you can usually find ways to treat it.

There are a variety of people that may experience chronic fatigue, but it commonly affects seniors. This is because seniors are more likely to have conditions that cause chronic fatigue. Read on to find out more about chronic fatigue in seniors and what you can do to eliminate it.

Illnesses That Cause Chronic Fatigue.

There are many illnesses that are likely to cause chronic fatigue. These include:

  • Cancer
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Infections
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Thyroid disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Anemia
  • Sleep apnea and untreated sleep disorders
  • Fibromyalgia

The treatments and medications prescribed for these illnesses may also cause fatigue. These include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Antihistamines
  • Medications for nausea
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation

If you are experiencing fatigue as a result of an illness or a medication taken to treat an illness, you may reduce fatigue by managing the disease and/or switching medications.

Mental Health Problems That Cause Fatigue.

Fatigue may also be brought on by mental health issues. Emotional stress can reduce energy levels causing ongoing feelings of tiredness. Conditions that promote chronic fatigue include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety 
  • Grief
  • Feelings of stress
  • Feelings of losing control over your life

If you are dealing with emotional issues that are causing chronic fatigue, it is best to treat them at the root. Talk to a therapist about medications and treatments that may be effective in lifting your mood and reducing fatigue.

Lifestyle Habits that Cause Fatigue.

Certain lifestyle habits can also cause fatigue. An unhealthy routine will diminish energy and negatively affect sleep cycles. Here are some examples of things you may be doing that are causing you to burn out. 

  • An Irregular Sleep Wake Cycle: It is best to follow a regular sleep-wake cycle going to sleep and getting up at the same time every day. If you mess with this sleep cycle, your body will be unable to get used to the routine causing shortened periods of sleep. If your sleep is out of whack and you are feeling tired, adjust your routine accordingly.  
  • Too Much Caffeine: Caffeine can also throw off your sleep cycle. If you are one of those people who can’t function without a cup of coffee, try to do most of your coffee drinking early in the day and limit consumption.
  • Too Much Alcohol: Even though alcohol can make you sleepy, it often does not provide a restful night sleep. It also causes changes in your body that can make you feel more fatigued throughout the day. Additionally, it may interact with medications to cause feelings of fatigue. 
  • Too Much Sugar: Food that’s high in sugar may give you a temporary boost, but this will be countered by a low that causes sluggishness and fatigue. 
  • An Unhealthy Diet: Diets that are high in fat and empty calories will sap your energy. Nutritious foods will give you the energy you need to make it through the day. 
  • Not Enough Exercise: A person that’s fatigued may not have the energy to exercise. The lack of exercise will cause them to be even more fatigued. If you are not exercising enough, force yourself to engage in physical activity. You will feel a lot better. 

What Can I Do To Cure Chronic Fatigue?

If you suspect fatigue is tied to a medical condition or medication, you may want to talk to your doctor to find a solution. However, if you are feeling fatigued and you’re not sure why here are some things you can do at home to feel less tired.

  • Keep a Diary to Determine the Cause of Chronic Fatigue: Not sure where your fatigue is coming from? Try keeping a diary to figure out the times of day and activities that make you feel tired. You may be able to pinpoint the issue so you can eliminate it. 
  • Exercise Regularly: Regular exercise will improve your circulation and activate endorphins in the body giving you the energy you need to get through the day. 
  • Avoid Long Naps: Naps can affect your sleep cycle and make you wake up feeling more tired than you did when you went to sleep. If you feel the urge to sleep during the day, opt for a short nap that’s no longer than 30 minutes. 
  • Stop Smoking: Smoking causes respiratory problems that make you feel winded during the day. It is also linked to heart disease and cancer which cause chronic fatigue symptoms. 
  • Relieve Stress: Fatigue is often caused by stress. If you feel overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to reach out for help from relatives, friends and co-workers. Meditation and yoga can also relieve stress. 

When Should I See A Doctor About Chronic Fatigue?

If you’ve tried everything to treat chronic fatigue but nothing is working, it may be best to see a medical professional. He or she will conduct a complete exam to determine the cause of the condition and come up with a suitable treatment.  

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, chronic fatigue syndrome is characterized by fatigue that lasts for six months or longer and is not related to a medical condition or disease. People with CFS may be unable to perform simple tasks like bathing and getting dressed. Symptoms of CFS include fatigue that does not get better with rest, difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating, pain throughout the body, sore throat, dizziness and tender lymph nodes.

Not all types of fatigue and chronic fatigue are considered to be chronic fatigue syndrome. A medical professional will let you know if you have CFS based on a variety of test results.

While there is no cure for CFS, it can be managed. Talk to your doctor to find out a treatment plan that’s best for you.

Chronic fatigue can greatly reduce the quality of life. Fortunately, there are ways to treat it so you can feel more energized and alert. What will you be doing to fight fatigue and increase your energy levels?