Fatigue, pathological fatigue and extreme tiredness: how to detect and differentiate them
Lack of energy, low spirits, apathy… These are some of the symptoms associated with tiredness, which would go to another level when we talk about pathological fatigue or extreme tiredness. Each one has its own particularities, and the important thing is to identify and detect them to remedy them.
Tiredness or fatigue, whose medical term is asthenia, is the feeling of lack of energy to carry out the normal activities of the functions of life, both physical and mental.
It is normal to feel fatigued, for example, after doing intense physical exercise for which we are not used to. Hence the importance of regular training.
When does fatigue turn into pathological fatigue?
There are many causes for the appearance of pathological tiredness. However, not all of them are necessarily related to illness, and it usually occurs without an objective cause, an extraordinary effort that has motivated it.
“Some causes may be anaemia and other blood diseases. Or vitamin and nutritional deficiencies, such as lack of Vitamin D. Also neurological deficits, in which the nerves cannot send the appropriate commands to the muscles. Or autoimmune diseases that affect the nerves, muscles or connective tissue,” explains Carlos Gutiérrez, our Medical Coordinator.
On the other hand, sustained stress over time can also be a cause of pathological fatigue, which can lead to generalised fatigue and also alter our periods of rest. Or disorders in the emotional sphere such as dysthymia (extreme personality disorder) or depression.
The importance of rest and sleep for daily performance
Alteration in rest periods or lack of sleep is another of the most important reasons found at the root of pathological tiredness. “While we sleep, our organism is very active repairing cellular structures and preparing the body, including the brain, for the next day,” recalls Carlos Gutiérrez.
And one of the most relevant causes of the appearance of fatigue is the lack of exercise, however much it may seem something paradoxical formulated.
“What keeps us upright and moves us are our muscles. Today we lead a very sedentary life, and in some cases, this sedentariness can be so pressing that the lack of stimulation of our muscles causes atrophy of such magnitude that efforts considered normal (walking, climbing stairs, staying upright for some time) can generate a lot of fatigue”, details the SHA Wellness Clinic expert.The reason for these efforts is that we do not have enough muscle mass to move our bones and “overcome” gravity. “This is a prevalent problem that generates not only tiredness but also multiple muscular pains”, recalls Carlos Gutiérrez.
Extreme tiredness: symptoms, risks and early detection
We speak of extreme tiredness when it is of such an intensity that it does not allow us to carry out simple basic activities of daily life, as well as a duration that does not give way to normal rest time.
“In these situations, any simple activity generates a feeling of heaviness in the body, sometimes muscular pain, and also a feeling of mental fog (brain fog) that does not allow us to focus our attention on an activity that requires us to be concentrated,” explains Carlos Gutiérrez.
Moderate to intense physical exercise, foods rich in antioxidants and certain dietary supplements can help us increase muscle mass and boost mitochondrial activity and overcome fatigue.
“And all this should be accompanied by a daily rest, in which we combine relaxation techniques when stress threatens us with adequate sleep. We must go to bed early and get up early so that the hormonal cycle is as physiological as possible”, concludes Carlos Gutiérrez.
Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue in SHA
One of the circumstances that can trigger the onset of extreme tiredness are diseases such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, of unknown aetiology, which in addition to tiredness produce a lowering of the pain threshold.
Fibromyalgia can be difficult to treat. This is why specialised care by experts who are familiar with the disorder and its treatment is important. It can be treated by general practitioners or rheumatologists who specialize in arthritis and other conditions affecting joints or soft tissues.
Many patients have regained their health thanks to the experience of our team in treating fibromyalgia. Everything must start with an assessment and identification of the possible origin before choosing the right treatment.