Fatigue

MedicineNet - Fatigue and Tiredness

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Symptoms & Signs

Tiredness is not a symptom that defines any one particular disease. Rather, tiredness can be a symptom of many different diseases and conditions. Causes of tiredness range from lack of sleep and over exercise to medical and surgical treatments. The lack of energy associated with tiredness can sometimes cause difficulty with normal daily activities, leading to problems with attentiveness and concentration.

Fatigue, in medical terminology, refers to the state of reduced capacity for work or accomplishment following a period of mental or physical activity. For example, muscles fatigue if the are called upon to repetitively work for an extended period. Most of the causes of tiredness are also associated with fatigue.

Summary of Common Fatigue Symptoms by MedicineNet Staff
A review of our Patient Comments indicated that people with fatigue may also have coexisting symptoms. Patients indicated that they had difficulty functioning because they felt like they were carrying a heavy weight or they felt depressed. Others experienced weight loss, sweating, and diarrhea. Read on to learn more about fatigue symptoms in our Patient Comments.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/24/2012

Health concern on your mind? Visit the Symptom Checker.

REFERENCE:

Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.

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      • Genetic disorders
      • Cancer
      • Abnormalities of bile flow from the liver
      • Decrease in blood flow draining from the liver
      • What are symptoms of diseases of the liver?
      • How is an examination of the liver performed?
      • What is a liver biopsy?
      • Can diseases of the liver be prevented?
    • Lupus Systemic lupus erythematosus is a condition characterized by chronic inflammation of body tissues caused by autoimmune disease....learn more »
      In This Article
      Lupus Article
      • Systemic lupus erythematosus facts
      • What is systemic lupus erythematosus? What are the types of lupus?
      • What causes systemic lupus erythematosus? Is lupus hereditary?
      • What is drug-induced lupus?
      • What are lupus symptoms and signs?
      • How is systemic lupus erythematosus diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for systemic lupus?
      • How can a lupus patient help prevent disease activity (flares)?
      • How can systemic lupus erythematosus affect pregnancy or the newborn?
      • What is the prognosis of lupus? What does the future hold for people with systemic lupus?
      • Where can one get more information about systemic lupus erythematosus?
    • Marfan Syndrome Marfan syndrome is hereditary condition affecting connective tissue. A person with Marfan syndrome may exhibit the following...learn more »
      In This Article
      Marfan Syndrome Article
      • Marfan syndrome facts*
      • What is Marfan syndrome?
      • What are the symptoms of Marfan syndrome?
      • What causes Marfan syndrome?
      • How is Marfan syndrome diagnosed?
      • What types of doctors treat Marfan syndrome?
      • What treatment options are available for Marfan syndrome?
      • What are some of the emotional and psychological effects of Marfan syndrome?
      • What research is being conducted on Marfan syndrome?
      • Where can people find additional information about Marfan syndrome?
    • MELAS Syndrome MELAS syndrome, a rare form of dementia, stands for Mitochondrial Encephalopathy, Lactic Acidosis, and Stroke-like episodes....learn more »
      In This Article
      MELAS Syndrome Article
      • What is MELAS?
      • What causes MELAS?
      • What are the symptoms of MELAS?
      • How is MELAS diagnosed?
      • When do people with MELAS develop symptoms?
      • How is MELAS treated?
      • Are there other mitochondrial diseases?
    • Meningococcemia Meningococcemia is a bloodstream infection caused by Neisseria meningitides. Meningococcemia symptoms include fever, headache,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Meningococcemia Article
      • Meningococcemia facts
      • What is meningococcemia?
      • What causes meningococcemia?
      • What are risk factors for meningococcemia?
      • What are symptoms and signs of meningococcemia?
      • How is meningococcemia diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for meningococcemia?
      • What is the prognosis of meningococcemia?
      • Is it possible to prevent meningococcemia?
      • Where can people find more information on meningococcemia?
      • What research is being done on meningococcemia?
    • Menopause Menopause is the time in a woman's life when menstrual periods permanently stop, also called the "change of life." Menopause...learn more »
      In This Article
      Menopause Article
      • Menopause facts
      • What is menopause?
      • At what age does a woman typically reach menopause?
      • What conditions can affect the timing of menopause?
      • What are the symptoms of menopause?
      • What are the complications and effects of menopause on chronic medical conditions?
      • Are hormone levels or other blood tests helpful in detecting menopause?
      • What are the treatment options for menopause?
      • Hormone therapy for menopause
      • Other pharmaceutical therapies for menopause
      • Alternative medical therapies for menopause
      • Non-pharmaceutical therapies for menopause
      • Lifestyle factors in controlling the symptoms and complications of menopause
    • Migraine Headache Migraine headaches are severe headaches that are accompanies to sensitivity to light, sounds, and smells. They are often...learn more »
      In This Article
      Migraine Headache Article
      • What is a migraine?
      • What are the risk factors for migraine?
      • What causes migraines?
      • What triggers migraines?
      • What are the signs and symptoms of migraines?
      • How are migraines diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for migraines?
      • What self-care treatment measures work for migraines?
      • How are migraines managed during pregnancy?
      • How are migraines managed in children?
      • What is the prognosis for migraines?
      • Can migraines be prevented?
    • Multiple Myeloma Multiple myeloma is a form of cancer that develops in plasma cells, the white blood cells that make antibodies. Symptoms include...learn more »
      In This Article
      Multiple Myeloma Article
      • What is multiple myeloma?
      • What causes multiple myeloma?
      • What are risk factors for multiple myeloma?
      • What are the signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma?
      • How is multiple myeloma diagnosed?
      • What are the stages of multiple myeloma?
      • What is the treatment for multiple myeloma?
      • What is the prognosis for multiple myeloma?
      • What support systems are available for multiple myeloma?
    • Multiple Sclerosis Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder in which brain and spinal cord nerve cells become demyelinated. This damage results...learn more »
      In This Article
      Multiple Sclerosis Article
      • What is multiple sclerosis?
      • What causes multiple sclerosis?
      • What are the risk factors for developing multiple sclerosis?
      • What are the signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis?
      • What are the different types of multiple sclerosis?
      • How is multiple sclerosis diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment of multiple sclerosis?
      • What is the prognosis and life expectancy with multiple sclerosis?
      • Can multiple sclerosis be prevented?
      • What research is being done on multiple sclerosis?
    • Myasthenia Gravis Myasthenia gravis, a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease. Varying degrees of weakness of the voluntary muscles of the body...learn more »
      In This Article
      Myasthenia Gravis Article
      • Myasthenia gravis facts*
      • What is myasthenia gravis?
      • What causes myasthenia gravis?
      • What is the role of the thymus gland in myasthenia gravis?
      • What are the symptoms of myasthenia gravis?
      • Who gets myasthenia gravis?
      • How is myasthenia gravis diagnosed?
      • How is myasthenia gravis treated?
      • What are myasthenic crises?
      • What is the prognosis?
      • What research is being done?
      • Where can I get more information?
    • Nausea and Vomiting Nausea is an uneasiness of the stomach that often precedes vomiting. Nausea and vomiting are not diseases, but they are symptoms...learn more »
      In This Article
      Nausea and Vomiting Article
      • Nausea and vomiting facts
      • Introduction to nausea and vomiting
      • What causes nausea or vomiting?
      • Acute gastritis and nausea and vomiting
      • Central causes of nausea and vomiting
      • Nausea and vomiting associated with illness
      • Nausea and vomiting from medications and medical treatments
      • Nausea and vomiting and bowel obstruction
      • Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (morning sickness)
      • Vomiting in infants
      • What are home remedies for nausea or vomiting?
      • When should I call the doctor regarding nausea and vomiting?
      • How is the source of nausea or vomiting diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for nausea or vomiting?
    • NDM-1 NDM-1 (New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase) is an enzyme produced by certain strains of bacteria that have recently acquired the...learn more »
      In This Article
      NDM-1 Article
      • NDM-1 facts
      • What is NDM-1?
      • What causes NDM-1 to be produced in bacteria?
      • What are symptoms and signs of a person infected with bacteria carrying NDM-1?
      • How are bacteria that produce NDM-1 identified?
      • What is the treatment for an infection caused by bacteria that make NDM-1?
      • What is the prognosis for a person infected with NDM-1 producing bacteria?
      • Can infections with bacteria containing NDM-1 be prevented?
      • Where can people find more information about NDM-1 producing bacteria?
    • Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is cancer of the lymphatic system, a vital part of the body's immune system. Symptoms include swollen...learn more »
      In This Article
      Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Article
      • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma facts
      • What is non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?
      • What causes non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?
      • What are risk factors for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?
      • What are symptoms and signs of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?
      • How is non-Hodgkin's lymphoma diagnosed?
      • What are the types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and how is non-Hodgkin's lymphoma staging determined?
      • What is the treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?
      • What is the prognosis and survival rate for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?
      • Where can people find more information about non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?
    • Norovirus Infection Norovirus infection causes stomach flu, or gastroenteritis. It's a very contagious illness with symptoms that include nausea and...learn more »
      In This Article
      Norovirus Infection Article
      • Norovirus infection facts
      • What is a norovirus?
      • What causes a norovirus infection? How are norovirus infections transmitted?
      • What are norovirus infection symptoms and signs in adults, children, and babies?
      • What is the incubation period for a norovirus infection? How long are people infected with norovirus contagious?
      • How is a norovirus infection diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for norovirus infections in adults, children, and babies?
      • What are possible complications of a norovirus infection?
      • What is the prognosis of a norovirus infection?
      • Can norovirus infections be prevented? Is there a vaccine?
      • Where can people get more information about norovirus infections?
    • Pregnancy Symptoms (Am I Pregnant?) Pregnancy symptoms can vary from woman to woman, but some common symptoms include mood changes, headaches, lower back pain,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Pregnancy Symptoms (Am I Pregnant?) Article
      • 8 fast pregnancy symptoms facts
      • Pregnancy symptoms in general
      • 13 signs and symptoms of early pregnancy
      • 8 signs and symptoms of later pregnancy
      • 8 options for relief of pregnancy symptoms
    • Psoriatic Arthritis Psoriatic arthritis is a disease that causes skin and joint inflammation. Symptoms include painful, stiff, and swollen joints,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Psoriatic Arthritis Article
      • Psoriatic arthritis facts
      • What is psoriatic arthritis?
      • What causes psoriatic arthritis?
      • What are risk factors for developing psoriatic arthritis?
      • What are psoriatic arthritis symptoms and signs?
      • How does the doctor diagnose psoriatic arthritis?
      • What is the treatment for psoriatic arthritis?
      • Disease-modifying medications
      • What are complications of psoriatic arthritis?
      • What is the outlook (prognosis) for patients with psoriatic arthritis?
      • Can psoriatic arthritis be prevented?
      • What does the future hold for patients with psoriatic arthritis?
    • Relapsing Polychondritis Relapsing polychondritis is an uncommon, chronic disorder of the cartilage that is characterized by recurrent episodes of...learn more »
      In This Article
      Relapsing Polychondritis Article
      • Relapsing polychondritis facts
      • What is relapsing polychondritis?
      • What causes relapsing polychondritis?
      • What are symptoms and signs of relapsing polychondritis?
      • How is relapsing polychondritis diagnosed?
      • Can relapsing polychondritis be associated with other diseases?
      • What medications are used to treat relapsing polychondritis?
      • What is the long-term outlook (prognosis) for patients with relapsing polychondritis?
    • Rheumatoid Arthritis Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints, the tissue around the joints, as...learn more »
      In This Article
      Rheumatoid Arthritis Article
      • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) facts
      • What is rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?
      • What are causes and risk factors of rheumatoid arthritis?
      • What are rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and signs?
      • What are complications of rheumatoid disease?
      • How do physicians diagnose rheumatoid arthritis?
      • What is the treatment for rheumatoid arthritis?
      • "First-line" rheumatoid arthritis medications
      • "Second-line" or "slow-acting" rheumatoid arthritis drugs (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs or DMARDs)
      • What are newer treatments for rheumatoid arthritis?
      • Rheumatoid arthritis diet and other treatments
      • What about rheumatoid arthritis and pregnancy?
      • What is the prognosis (outlook) for patients with rheumatoid arthritis?
      • Is it possible to prevent rheumatoid arthritis?
      • What research is being done on rheumatoid arthritis?
      • Where can people get additional information on rheumatoid arthritis?
    • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a tick-borne disease that causes symptoms and signs such as fever, rash, headache, and muscle...learn more »
      In This Article
      Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) Article
      • Rocky Mountain spotted fever facts
      • What is Rocky Mountain spotted fever?
      • Where do most cases of RMSF occur in the U.S.?
      • What causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever?
      • What are Rocky Mountain spotted fever risk factors?
      • What are Rocky Mountain spotted fever symptoms and signs?
      • How do physicians diagnose Rocky Mountain spotted fever?
      • What is the treatment for Rocky Mountain spotted fever?
      • What is the prognosis of Rocky Mountain spotted fever?
      • Is it possible to prevent Rocky Mountain spotted fever?
    • Scarlet Fever (Scarlatina) Scarlet fever, a bacterial infection caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria, causes symptoms and signs such as fever, rash with...learn more »
      In This Article
      Scarlet Fever (Scarlatina) Article
      • Scarlet fever facts
      • What is scarlet fever?
      • What causes scarlet fever?
      • What is the incubation period for scarlet fever?
      • What are risk factors for scarlet fever?
      • What is the contagious period for scarlet fever?
      • What are scarlet fever symptoms and signs?
      • How do physicians diagnose scarlet fever?
      • What is the treatment for scarlet fever?
      • What are complications of scarlet fever?
      • What is the prognosis of scarlet fever? What are the long-term effects of scarlet fever?
      • Is it possible to prevent scarlet fever? Is there a scarlet fever vaccine?
    • Sick Building Syndrome Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) or also referred to as sick building syndrome or environmental illness is the name given by...learn more »
      In This Article
      Sick Building Syndrome Article
      • Sick building syndrome facts
      • What is sick building syndrome?
      • Why is sick building syndrome controversial?
      • What causes sick building syndrome?
      • What are risk factors for sick building syndrome?
      • What are sick building syndrome symptoms and signs?
      • How is sick building syndrome diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for sick building syndrome?
      • What are complications of sick building syndrome?
      • What is the prognosis of sick building syndrome?
      • Is there a way to prevent sick building syndrome?
    • Sleep Apnea Sleep apnea is defined as a reduction or cessation of breathing during sleep. The three types of sleep apnea are central apnea,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Sleep Apnea Article
      • Sleep apnea facts
      • What is sleep apnea?
      • What are the types of sleep apnea?
      • What is central sleep apnea and what causes it?
      • What is obstructive sleep apnea and what causes it?
      • How common is obstructive sleep apnea?
      • What are obstructive sleep apnea symptoms?
      • What are some of the complications of sleep apnea?
      • How is obstructive sleep apnea diagnosed and evaluated?
      • What are the nonsurgical treatments for obstructive sleep apnea?
      • What are the surgical treatments for obstructive sleep apnea?
      • Why is it important to treat obstructive sleep apnea?
    • STDs in Men Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections transmitted during sexual contact. They may be caused by viruses, bacteria,...learn more »
      In This Article
      STDs in Men Article
      • What are sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
      • Who is at risk for STDs?
      • What causes STDs?
      • What are the signs and symptoms of STDs?
      • List of STDs in men
      • Chlamydia
      • Gonorrhea
      • Trichomoniasis
      • HIV
      • Genital herpes
      • Genital warts (HPV)
      • Hepatitis
      • Syphilis
      • How are STDs diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for STDs?
      • What is the prognosis for STDs?
      • Can STDs be prevented?
    • Stress Stress occurs when forces from the outside world impinge on the individual. Stress is a normal part of life. However,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Stress Article
      • Stress facts
      • What is stress?
      • A brief history of stress
      • What are the signs and symptoms of poorly managed stress?
      • Who is most vulnerable to stress?
      • Teen stress
      • What is the healthy response to stress?
      • How does the response to stress work?
      • What is the role of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis (grouping) in stress?
      • What is the role of the locus coeruleus in stress?
      • How do the connections in the brain work in stress?
      • What do we know about using (activating) and overusing our internal systems that respond to stress?
      • What are the effects of stress on medical and psychological conditions?
      • Conclusions about the effects of stress
      • What can people do for stress management?
      • What's in the future for stress?
    • Swine Flu Novel H1N1 influenza A virus infection (swine flu) is an infection that generally is transferred from an infected pig to a human,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Swine Flu Article
      • Swine flu (H1N1 and H3N2v influenza virus) facts
      • What is the swine flu?
      • What causes swine flu?
      • Why is swine flu now infecting humans?
      • What are the symptoms of swine flu?
      • How is swine flu diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for swine flu?
      • What is the history of swine flu in humans?
      • What are the risk factors for swine flu?
      • Can swine flu be prevented with a vaccine?
      • Can swine flu be prevented if the swine flu vaccine (or other flu strain vaccines) is not readily available?
      • Was swine flu (H1N1) a cause of an epidemic or pandemic in the 2009-2010 flu season?
      • What is the prognosis (outlook) and complications for patients who get swine flu?
      • Where can I find more information about swine flu (H1N1 and H3N2v)?
    • Tension Headache A tension headache is a headache previously thought to be caused by contraction of the muscles in the back of the neck, on the...learn more »
      In This Article
      Tension Headache Article
      • What is a tension headache?
      • What causes tension headaches?
      • What are the symptoms of tension headache?
      • How are tension headaches diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for tension headache?
      • Are home remedies effective for tension headache?
      • Can tension headaches be prevented?
    • Thymoma Thymoma is an uncommon cancer of the thymus gland. Many thymomas are asymptomatic. When symptoms do occur, they include chest...learn more »
      In This Article
      Thymoma Article
      • Thymoma facts
      • What is thymoma?
      • What causes thymoma, and what are risk factors for thymoma?
      • What are signs and symptoms of thymoma?
      • What other medical conditions are associated with thymoma?
      • How is thymoma diagnosed?
      • What are the stages of thymoma?
      • What is the treatment for thymoma?
      • What is the prognosis for thymoma?
      • Can thymoma be prevented?
    • Tuberculosis (TB) Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB). Symptoms and signs of TB include bloody sputum, fever,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Tuberculosis (TB) Article
      • Tuberculosis (TB) facts
      • What is tuberculosis?
      • Are there different types of tuberculosis (TB)?
      • What causes tuberculosis?
      • What are risk factors for tuberculosis?
      • What are tuberculosis symptoms and signs?
      • How do physicians diagnose tuberculosis?
      • What is the treatment for tuberculosis?
      • What are complications of tuberculosis?
      • What is the prognosis of tuberculosis?
      • How can people prevent tuberculosis?
    • Vasculitis Vasculitis is a general term for a group of uncommon diseases which feature inflammation of the blood vessels. Each form of...learn more »
      In This Article
      Vasculitis Article
      • Vasculitis facts
      • What is vasculitis?
      • What causes vasculitis, and what are examples of diseases with vasculitis?
      • What are the symptoms of vasculitis?
      • How is vasculitis diagnosed?
      • How is vasculitis treated?
Other Causes of Fatigue and Tiredness
  • Chemotherapy
  • EBV Infection
  • Hormone Imbalance (Thyroid Disease, etc.)
  • Infections (Bacteria, Fungus, Parasites, Viruses)
  • Liver Disease
  • Medications (Both Prescription and Nonprescription)
  • Muscle Disease
  • Pain (Injury, etc.)
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Sleep Deficiency
  • Surgery
  • Trauma Injury


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