Health

Mandy Kloppers

Tiredness: When Should You See A Doctor?

According to YouGov, one in eight Britons (13%) live in a state of permanent exhaustion, while 25% of the population is weary ‘most of the time’. While tiredness is a very common trait, it can hide – or spur – some other unwanted health conditions that you may need to see a doctor about.

Experts at myGP have explored potential reasons behind consistent weariness and when you should contact your GP.

From psychological causes to physical and health-related causes, if tiredness continues to be a problem, Dr Harriet Leyland, Clinical Advisor at myGP comments on when you should pay your doctor a visit.

The Causes of Being Tired All the Time: When Should You See a Doctor? 

There is no hiding that we all feel tired from time to time. For some people, this feeling is very frequent, to the point that it even has its own acronym – TATT, or ‘tired all the time’.  

According to YouGov, one in eight Britons (13%) live in a state of permanent exhaustion, while 25% of the population is weary ‘most of the time’. Only 3% of Brits say that they never feel knackered and are ready to crack on with their day-to-day life fully energised. Lucky them! 

Despite being a common and often overlooked symptom, tiredness can have a wide range of negative effects on well-being. But what are the main reasons behind your constant sense of fatigue? When should you get in touch with your GP?  

Why am I so tired? 

As mentioned, there may be several motives for which a night’s sleep doesn’t recharge your body as it should. This could be down to psychological factors, physical and health conditions, or even lifestyle habits.  

Let’s take a closer look at some of the potential reasons behind your consistent weariness. 

Psychological causes 

 Poor mental health is one of the most common causes of tiredness and fatigue. Psychological causes can lead to conditions such as insomnia or simply hinder the quality of your sleep, which can in turn favour daytime drowsiness  

Here are some of the psychological causes that could be having a toll on your fatigue levels: 

  • Emotional distress or shock – There are many life events that could have an impact on your ability to rest and sleep properly. Anything distressing, from a relationship breakup to grief and bereavement, can make you feel exhausted for days – if not weeks. 

  • Stress – Stress is fatigue-inducing factor too. Remember that things such as challenging days at work or bill payments are not the only scenarios that can spur this sentiment. Even happier events, including getting married, starting your new dream job, and moving house, come with their fair share of stress.   

  • Anxiety or depression – Both anxiety and depression are closely linked to chronic fatigue. These two conditions can make someone feel extremely tired even if they have managed to get their recommended eight hours of sleep. For example, depression occurs when somebody feels sad, anxious, and hopeless for extended periods of time, which can eventually have a negative influence on their energy levels too. 

Physical and health-related causes 

There are also many different physical conditions and health-related causes that may show constant tiredness as a prime symptom. Some include: 

  • Sleep apnoea – In simple terms, sleep apnoea is when your breathing starts and stops when you’re sleeping, meaning you will struggle to get a good night’s rest on a regular basis. If you are not able to enjoy a linear night’s sleep, you are bound to feel persistently knackered during the day. 

  • Anaemia – Anaemia, and iron deficiency anaemia specifically, is a condition where your body presents a lack of iron and healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen to organs and tissues. This is a common condition that, among many other symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, and pale skin, has tiredness as one of its main consequences. 

  • Menopause  Someone who is going through menopause may find that they are often left dragging during their day-to-day activitiesThis is because hormones change significantly over this time, giving you hot flashes and sweats that keep you up at night and make it difficult to fall asleep. 

Lifestyle causes 

Everyone has their very own routine, which can dictate feelings of tiredness too. If you work night shifts, for example, you may end up getting tired more easily, especially if your slots alter from one week to the next.  

Likewise, if you have busy schedules all the time, it is easy to get into the habit of drinking coffee, tea, and energy drinks regularly to temporarily boost your activeness. However, these all contain caffeine, which is a stimulant that can disrupt your sleep pattern and ease feelings of fatigue. 

This is also true with alcohol. As well as having many other drawbacks drinking too much alcohol can increase your levels of tiredness.

  

When should I see a doctor? 

If you realise that your tiredness is triggered by poor sleep hygiene (e.g., exposure to screens before bedtime, going to bed too late, etc.) and can fix your night routines, you don’t need to see a healthcare professional. 

But if tiredness continues to be a problem, Dr Leyland, Clinical Advisor at myGP says that you should pay your doctor a visit.  

Fatigue can result in slower reactions, reduced ability to process information, memory lapses, absent-mindedness and reduced coordination. These can lead to accidents or reduced productivity, for example at work.  

 Where possible you should consider lifestyle changes to improve sleep but seek advice from your GP if tiredness symptoms persist. There may be an underlying health issue requiring a GP prescription.

What are some of the most prevalent disadvantages of being tired all the time? Here are a few drawbacks to keep in mind: 

  • Memory issues – As mentioned, tiredness and fatigue can be ascribable to sleep deprivation. During sleep, your brain goes through complex processes that help you remember and retain information. So, restless nights, which provoke fatigue, can negatively affect both your short- and long-term memory. 

  • Lack of concentration – Likewise, drowsiness can cause trouble when it comes to thinking and keeping concentrated. If you often feel tired, you may find that your creative and problem-solving skills are below par on a regular basis. 

  • Mood changes – Being tired can also make you very moody and quick-tempered. If this sense of fatigue persists, it could result in more serious conditions in the long termsuch as anxiety and depression. 

  • Reduced immunity – Constant tiredness also goes hand-in-hand with weakened immune system. If it doesn’t work as well as it should, you are more likely to be exposed to germs and catch colds and flus.  

 

Are you weary all the time? If in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor.  

While tiredness is a very common trait, it can hide – or spur – some other unwanted conditions that need nipping in the bud. This way, you can make sure you are always as happy and healthy as can be. 

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

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