Fatigue in Older Adults

Fatigue is a feeling of weariness, tiredness, or lack of energy. It can be a normal response to physical activity, emotional stress, boredom, or lack of sleep, but it can also signal a more serious mental or physical condition.

Everyone feels tired now and then. If you feel tired continuously for multiple weeks, you may want to see your doctor, who can help discover what’s causing your fatigue and identify ways to relieve it.

What causes fatigue?

Sometimes, fatigue can be the first sign that something is wrong in your body. For example, people with rheumatoid arthritis, a painful condition that affects the joints, often complain of fatigue. People with cancer may feel fatigued from the disease, treatments, or both.
Many medical problems and treatments can add to fatigue. These include:
• Having medical treatments, like chemotherapy and radiation, or recovering from major surgery
• Infections
• Chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, thyroid disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
• Untreated pain and diseases like fibromyalgia
• Anemia
• Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders
• Recent stroke
• Parkinson’s disease
• Taking certain medications, such as antidepressants, antihistamines, and medicines for nausea and pain

Talk with your doctor about any concerns you may have about fatigue and your health condition. Treating an underlying or known health problem may help reduce fatigue.

For more information on the causes of fatigue, and tips on how to feel less tired, from the National Institute on Aging, CLICK HERE.