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Why do I feel weak and fatigued all the time?

Wednesday, 29 September 2004
Answered by: Dr. Ashutosh Shukla
Associate Senior Consultant, Department of Medicine,
Max Healthcare,
New Delhi
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Q. I often feel weakness, irritation and a light feeling in my limbs. I feel relieved if somebody puts pressure on my legs by sitting on them. I am a known patient of GERD/delayed gastric emptying and dyspepsia. I also have pain on both my thumb joints. Three years ago, I had unprotected sex with a commercial sex worker. Please solve my problems.

A.  There can be many causes for feeling weak, fatigued and irritable. The three symptoms you have described, could be because of excessive anxiety. However, please try and identify if you have any of the following: 1. Lack of sleep 2. Stress 3. Inactivity 4. Bad eating habits 5. Some medical conditions like - Anaemia, Infections, Diabetes, Thyroid disease, Hypertension, etc. Some practical tips for managing fatigue: 1. Listen to your body: When feeling tired or ill, slow down! Ignoring the way your body feels and pushing beyond your body's limits stresses your immune system, therefore leaving you vulnerable for illness and fatigue. 2. Set priorities: With many people working full-time and having families, setting priorities between work and family life is a difficult task. Setting your priorities will help you manage your time better. Learn to say no when necessary to minimise the feeling of being pulled in two different directions. 3. Limit nicotine and alcohol intake: Nicotine, like caffeine, is a stimulant. Also when smokers sleep, they experience nicotine withdrawal - causing difficulties falling asleep and waking up during the night. Alcohol consumption appears to disrupt the second half of the sleep period, causing awakening from dreams and difficulty returning to sleep. This sleep disruption may lead to daytime fatigue and sleepiness. 4. Take up a hobby: If time permits, getting involved in extracurricular activities can help you focus on an interest you enjoy rather than yourself and can make you feel more in control. Try something new, such as gardening or cooking. Please continue with Pantoprazole, if it is helping you in GERD. Please get a HIV Elisa 1 and 2 test done, more to allay the anxiety in your mind than for any diagnostic purpose.

A.  There can be many causes for feeling weak, fatigued and irritable. The three symptoms you have described, could be because of excessive anxiety. However, please try and identify if you have any of the following: 1. Lack of sleep 2. Stress 3. Inactivity 4. Bad eating habits 5. Some medical conditions like - Anaemia, Infections, Diabetes, Thyroid disease, Hypertension, etc. Some practical tips for managing fatigue: 1. Listen to your body: When feeling tired or ill, slow down! Ignoring the way your body feels and pushing beyond your body's limits stresses your immune system, therefore leaving you vulnerable for illness and fatigue. 2. Set priorities: With many people working full-time and having families, setting priorities between work and family life is a difficult task. Setting your priorities will help you manage your time better. Learn to say no when necessary to minimise the feeling of being pulled in two different directions. 3. Limit nicotine and alcohol intake: Nicotine, like caffeine, is a stimulant. Also when smokers sleep, they experience nicotine withdrawal - causing difficulties falling asleep and waking up during the night. Alcohol consumption appears to disrupt the second half of the sleep period, causing awakening from dreams and difficulty returning to sleep. This sleep disruption may lead to daytime fatigue and sleepiness. 4. Take up a hobby: If time permits, getting involved in extracurricular activities can help you focus on an interest you enjoy rather than yourself and can make you feel more in control. Try something new, such as gardening or cooking. Please continue with Pantoprazole, if it is helping you in GERD. Please get a HIV Elisa 1 and 2 test done, more to allay the anxiety in your mind than for any diagnostic purpose.

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