Fatigue

  • Medical Author:
    Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

    Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

Quick GuideThe 14 Most Common Causes of Fatigue

The 14 Most Common Causes of Fatigue

What causes fatigue?

There are numerous potential causes of fatigue as a major complaint. They range from those that cause poor blood supply to the body's tissues to illnesses that affect metabolism, from infections and inflammatory diseases to those that cause sleep disturbances. Fatigue is a common side effect of many medications. While numerous patients with psychological conditions often complain of fatigue (physical and mental), there are also a group of patients where the cause of fatigue is never diagnosed.

The following table summarizes some common causes of fatigue but is not meant to be comprehensive:

Common Causes of Fatigue
Metabolic/
Endocrine
anemia; hypothyroidism; diabetes; electrolyte abnormalities; kidney disease; liver disease; Cushing's disease
Infectious infectious mononucleosis; hepatitis; tuberculosis; cytomegalovirus; HIV infection; influenza (flu); malaria and many other infectious diseases
Cardiac (heart) and Pulmonary (lungs) congestive heart failure; coronary artery disease; valvular heart disease; COPD; asthma; arrythmias; pneumonia
Medications antidepressants; anti-anxiety medications; sedative medications; medication and drug withdrawal; antihistamines; steroids; some blood pressure medications; some antidepressants
Psychiatric (Mental Health) depression; anxiety; drug abuse; alcohol abuse; Eating disorders (for example; bulimia; anorexia); grief and bereavement
Sleep Problems sleep apnea; reflux esophagitis; insomnia; narcolepsy; shift work or work shift changes; pregnancy; Extra night hours at "work"
Vitamin Deficiencies vitamin B12 deficiency, vitamin D deficiency, folic acid deficiency, iron deficiency
Other cancer; rheumatology illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus; fibromyalgia; chronic fatigue syndrome; normal muscle exertion; obesity; chemotherapy and radiation therapy

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/5/2016

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