Having Constant Fatigue

What Causes Constant Fatigue?

Constant fatigue can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'minor' to 'generally fatal'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose constant fatigue, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "constant fatigue" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Depression
  • Bacterial Dysbiosis
  • Lupus (SLE)
  • Myocarditis
  • Sleep Apnea
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Nephrotic Syndrome
  • Ulcerative Colitis

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
depression in family members
premenstrual abdominal bloating
frequent bizarre dreams
significant amounts of occult blood
waking up with a dry mouth
sensitivity to bright light
excessive flatulence
deep chest pain
significant abdominal pain
painful cervical nodes
sleep apnea
chest pain when breathing
... and more than 110 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of constant fatigue:
Cause Probability Status
Sleep Apnea 95% Confirm
HIV/AIDS 18% Unlikely
Bacterial Dysbiosis 13% Unlikely
Myocarditis 1% Ruled out
Depression 0% Ruled out
Lupus (SLE) 0% Ruled out
Ulcerative Colitis 0% Ruled out
Nephrotic Syndrome 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate being fatigued, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Do you have fatigue that is present most of the time, not improved by ordinary sleep? In other words, do you wake up tired or not have the energy to do what you want to, even after a good night of sleep?
Possible responses:
→ Don't know
→ No
→ It is a slight problem but I function quite well
→ Moderate problem - I can not function sometimes
→ Major problem - I am unable to perform my duties
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate either not having constant fatigue or constant fatigue, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Anemia

Fatigue is the most common symptom of Anemia.

Congestive Heart Failure

An early symptom of congestive heart failure is fatigue.

Depression

Depression robs the brain of some of the chemicals needed for optimal function.  Serotonin, for example, helps regulate the internal body clock.  Depression can lead to decreased energy levels and daytime tiredness, as well as difficulty falling asleep at night.  It can also cause us to wake up earlier in the morning than we had planned.

Effects of a Low Carbohydrate Diet

One study found that all those subjected to carb-free diet complained of fatigue after just two days.  "This complaint was characterized by a feeling of physical lack of energy... The subjects all felt that they did not have sufficient energy to continue normal activity after the third day.  This fatigue promptly disappeared after the addition of carbohydrate to the diet." [Arch Internal med 112(1963): p.333]

Environmental Illness / MCS

Daytime grogginess is a possible symptom of environmental illness.

Fluoride Toxicity

Unusual and excessive sleepiness/fatigue is a symptom.

Magnesium Requirement

Early symptoms of magnesium deficiency can include fatigue, anorexia, irritability, insomnia, and muscle tremors or twitching.

Nephrotic Syndrome

As nephrotic syndrome progresses, the patient feels increasingly weak and fatigued.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

In individuals with sleep apnea, the brain detects that they are not getting rid of enough CO₂, so it wakes up briefly in an alarmed state.  This happens repeatedly during the night, without the subject noticing, and results in an inability to achieve or maintain the deep stages of sleep.  This can lead to unexplained daytime sleepiness and nonrestorative sleep.  Patients often complain of waking up feeling like they had not slept at all, and often feel worse after taking a nap than before napping.

Glomerulonephritis

Many patients with even mild IgAN report extreme fatigue.

... and also rule out issues such as:
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