Nearly everyone struggles with being overtired or overworked from time to time. Such instances of temporary fatigue usually have an identifiable cause and a likely remedy.
Chronic fatigue, on the other hand, lasts longer and is more profound. It's a nearly constant state of weariness that develops over time and diminishes your energy and mental capacity. Fatigue at this level impacts your emotional and psychological well-being, too.
Fatigue isn't the same thing as sleepiness, although it's often accompanied by a desire to sleep — and a lack of motivation to do anything else.
In some cases, fatigue is a symptom of an underlying medical problem that requires medical treatment. Most of the time, however, fatigue can be traced to one or more of your habits or routines.
Schedule a doctor's visit
Call for an appointment with your doctor if your fatigue has persisted for two or more weeks despite making an effort to rest, reduce stress, choose a healthy diet and drink plenty of fluids.
Seek immediate medical attention
Get someone to take you to an emergency room or urgent care if fatigue is accompanied by:
- Abnormal bleeding, including bleeding from your rectum or vomiting blood
- Severe abdominal, pelvic or back pain
- Severe headache
Call 911 or your local emergency medical service
Get emergency help if your fatigue is related to a mental health problem and your symptoms also include:
- Thoughts of harming yourself or of suicide
- Concern that you may harm someone else
Also get emergency care if your fatigue is accompanied by any of the following:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Irregular or fast heartbeat
- Feeling that you might pass out
Feb. 27, 2013
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- Wilkinson JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 27, 2013.