Malaise and Fatigue: When It's Time to Go See a Doctor

Bill FlemingJun 19, 2020
Malaise and Fatigue: When It's Time to Go See a Doctor

Malaise and Fatigue: When It's Time to Go See a Doctor 

Almost 70% of workers feel fatigued at work. That's almost 107 million people of the 160 million US workers! Despite how common workplace fatigue is, it shouldn't become a constant in your life. 

Are you concerned malaise and fatigue are slowing you down? Maybe it's time to see a doctor. Neglecting to pinpoint the underlying cause could lead to dire consequences.

Don't let fatigue drag you down! Keep reading to discover when it's time to see a doctor for your fatigue. 

Common Causes

Malaise and fatigue usually indicate you're not getting enough sleep. While that's normal every now and again, exhaustion can sometimes indicate a bigger issue. 

The medical definition of exhaustion is the state of feeling extremely, completely tired. Your drained energy could even impact your motivation levels. However, fatigue is not:

  • Apathy
  • Depression
  • Drowsiness
  • Sleepiness

While you'll feel tired, fatigue will completely deplete your energy levels. 

It's normal to feel fatigued after a long day, vigorous physical activity, or while you're pregnant. Chronic fatigue, however, is often caused by:

  • Anemia
  • Stress, anxiety, or depression
  • Lack of sleep
  • Boredom
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Grief
  • An illness or disease
  • Medication (side effects)
  • Thyroid gland issues

If you can't determine the underlying cause of your fatigue alone, you might want to consider visiting a doctor.

Before your appointment, track your symptoms. When you feel most fatigued? Are you tired immediately after waking up?

Maybe you feel most exhausted after taking medication.

Keeping track of your symptoms will help your doctor pinpoint the underlying cause during your appointment.

At-Home Treatment

Before visiting a doctor, try a few at-home remedies first. The best remedy for fatigue is sleep. Giving your body the chance to recharge will help restore your energy levels. 

As a result, your fatigue should fade. There are a few other techniques you can try to treat your fatigue at home.

For starters, try to avoid energy drinks, soda, and coffee. Instead, drink green tea or another caffeine alternative in the morning. Green tea has enough caffeine to empower your day.

The antioxidants are also very beneficial to your overall health.

Try eating a healthy diet as well. Avoid processed foods that lack vitamins and minerals. Instead, eat a balanced diet that includes protein, healthy fats (like olive oil), and vegetables. 

Alcohol can interfere with your sleep hygiene as well. Try to cut bad habits such as smoking and drinking for a while.

It's also important to manage your stress levels. The stress hormone, cortisol, can have a negative impact on your body. For example, cortisol can make it more difficult for you to fall asleep. 

Excess cortisol also causes:

  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Concentration issues
  • Acne
  • Weight gain
  • Severe fatigue
  • High blood pressure

Excess cortisol and chronic stress can also cause endocrine disorders such as hypothyroidism. Learn how to mitigate your stress with yoga or meditation. Exercising regularly can also help reduce cortisol levels.

Don't start taking any medications for your fatigue without consulting a doctor and receiving a legitimate prescription first. 

Why It Matters

If your malaise and fatigue become severe, it's absolutely essential to see a doctor. Otherwise, your exhaustion could lead to a major accident.

When employees work while their tired, they begin neglecting safety protocols. In fact, fatigued worker productivity can cost a business up to $3,100 per employee annually. Meanwhile, you're three times more likely to get in a crash if you're driving while fatigued.

Without proper sleep, your entire health is at risk. In fact, chronic sleep-deprivation causes:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Obesity
  • Depression

Though we need seven to nine hours of sleep each night, 30% of people report getting fewer than six hours of shut-eye.

Don't let your malaise and fatigue cause dire consequences. Instead, it's important to know when it's time to see a doctor for a solution.

When to See a Doctor

How do you know when to see a doctor for fatigue? For starters, take a look at your symptoms. Are you experiencing fatigue along with:

  • Severe stress
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Unexplained weight gain or loss
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Feeling cold
  • Uninterrupted sleep
  • Frequent headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Unexplained weakness

If these symptoms last for a few weeks, consider scheduling a doctor's appointment. 

You might experience severe symptoms along with your fatigue. In these cases, call 911 as soon as possible:

  • Sudden weight gain or swelling
  • Inability to urinate
  • Feeling disoriented or confused
  • Blurry vision
  • Thoughts or self-harm or suicide

If you become unconscious or they can't wake you up, they should call 911 at once. 

During your doctor's appointment, make sure to let your doctor know about any over-the-counter and prescription medications you're taking. Some medications can cause drowsiness or fatigue. 

Make a note of when you're taking your medication and how much you're taking, too. Don't stop taking your medication without speaking to the doctor who prescribed it first.

Common Conditions

Your doctor might determine your malaise and fatigue are caused by:

  • Heart disease
  • A thyroid disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Medications or treatments
  • Chronic inflammation or infection
  • Concussion
  • Acute liver failure
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Obesity
  • Stress
  • Sleep apnea

These are only a few common conditions that could cause your fatigue.

Your doctor will also review your medical history and discuss your current lifestyle. Certain lifestyle choices could cause fatigue. A vitamin deficiency or pregnancy could contribute to the common, too.

If a routine test doesn't help the doctor make a clear diagnosis, they might suggest advanced testing. For example, they might test you for:

  • Addison's disease
  • Cancer
  • An infection

In some cases, your doctor might also direct you to a specialist based on your test results.

Remember, many of the common causes of fatigue are about your lifestyle. During your appointment, let your doctor know if you've changed your exercise routine, diet, or the medications you're taking. These changes could help your doctor pinpoint the reason for your fatigue.

Malaise and Fatigue: Know When It's Time to Call for Help

Don't wait to determine the root problem that's causing your malaise and fatigue. Instead, know when to call a doctor and get the help you need. Once you find the right treatment, you can wake up relaxed, well-rested, and ready to take on the day!

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