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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Medical Symptoms > Fatigue


Alternate Names : Weariness

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Fatigue is a condition in which a person becomes weary or exhausted. It is usually caused by overdoing some physical activity. It can also occur after a long period of mental stress. In some cases, it may occur for no clear reason.

What is going on in the body?

Most people have had fatigue at some point. The causes of fatigue range from working out or studying too hard to cancer. Sometimes no cause can be found.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

Almost any sudden illness and many long-term illnesses can cause fatigue. The more common causes of fatigue include:

  • stress
  • lack of sleep or difficulty sleeping
  • infections, such as acute bronchitis, mononucleosis and AIDS
  • a low blood count, or anemia
  • working, studying or exercising too much
  • lack of exercise or poor physical conditioning
  • hormone imbalances, such as hypothyroidism
  • hormonal changes in women during menopause
  • chronic fatigue syndrome, in which a person has fatigue for long periods of time for no apparent reason
  • depression or other psychological disorders, including emotional conflict, anxiety, frustration and boredom
  • autoimmune disorders, in which a person's immune system attacks his or her own body for no apparent reason
  • toxin or chemical exposure, such as carbon monoxide or lead poisoning
  • allergies
  • medications, such as antihistamines, cancer chemotherapy, or certain medications used to treat depression and high blood pressure
  • heart disease or disorders, including congestive heart failure
  • lung diseases and disorders, including pulmonary edema and emphysema
  • kidney disorders, including chronic renal failure
  • liver disease, including cirrhosis
  • digestive disorders
  • uncontrolled diabetes
  • cancer
  • There may be many other causes of fatigue as well. Sometimes a cause cannot be found.


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    Fatigue: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Adam Brochert, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 07/27/01

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