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Fatigue & Diabetes

- Summary
- About fatigue
- Fatigue and diabetes
- Other potential causes
- Diagnosis of fatigue
- Treatment and prevention
- Questions for your doctor

Reviewed By:
Gary Pepper, M.D., FACP


Diabetes mellitus is a disorder in the body's ability to break down blood sugar (glucose).Fatigue is a lack of energy or general feeling of tiredness. Fatigue affects almost everyone at some point. It is a common symptom of diabetes but can also be due to many other diseases and conditions. Additional causes include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Physical exertion or inactivity
  • Dehydration
  • Anxiety, depression or stress
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Cardiovascular conditions
  • Certain medications

Though physicians and other medical professionals prefer the term fatigue, this condition can also be called tiredness, weariness, exhaustion or lethargy. It may be associated with a sudden increased need to rest or an inability to regain energy after periods of rest. Fatigue can affect individuals in many ways, including hindering concentration, impairing memory and causing accidents.

Fatigue can be acute or long term (chronic) in duration. Individuals who experience severe, persistent and often debilitating fatigue for six months or longer may suffer from a condition called chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or another underlying medical condition.  If fatigue exceeds two weeks and has no obvious cause, individuals should seek immediate medical care.

There are no specific medical tests for measuring fatigue. However, the physician will typically perform a physical examination, including various tests to identify any underlying medical causes of fatigue.

Fatigue that is caused by behavioral and psychological factors can generally be treated and prevented by modifying certain lifestyle factors such as activity level and exercise. However, individuals whose fatigue is caused by disease may require medications or other interventions to treat the underlying condition.

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Review Date: 07-19-2007

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