General Health

A Complete Guide to Fatigue: Causes, Home Remedies, and Red Flags

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By Apollo 24|7, Published on- 25 November 2022, Updated on - 13 May 2023

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Fatigue can happen due to a lack of proper rest or inadequate nutrition.  While it is more common in the elderly because of growing age and reduced physical activity, fatigue has become a common problem in adults too. Fatigue should not be mistaken for drowsiness or sleepiness. 

Adult fatigue typically occurs due to overexertion, stress, diet, or serious underlying medical conditions such as anaemia, chronic fatigue syndrome, liver disorder, chronic kidney disease, or in rare cases, cancer. Furthermore, sleep disorders such as sleep apnoea can also disrupt the necessary sleep cycle, thereby leaving your mind and body exhausted. 

Top 5 Causes & Home Remedies of Fatigue

Reading about the list of medical conditions that can cause fatigue along with the different medications can be tedious. Therefore, let us know the top 5 serious causes of fatigue that need medical intervention.

1. Anaemia 

  • Cause

Anaemia is a condition characterised by a lack of healthy red blood cells (RBCs) in the body. Haemoglobin, a protein present in the RBCs, transports oxygen in the body. During iron deficiency, the body fails to produce enough haemoglobin, disabling the RBCs to provide enough oxygen to the body.

This results in iron deficiency anaemia. Anaemia can also occur due to blood disorders like haemophilia (which causes uncontrolled bleeding) or thalassemia (which forms faulty RBCs).   

  • Symptoms

You may experience paleness in the skin or shortness of breath. A major sign of anaemia is fatigue or unexplained tiredness.  

  • Home Remedies

Consume black strap molasses, bananas, raisins, and dates daily in your diet. Cook in an iron vessel as it would add extra amounts of iron to your diet.

Eat vitamin C-rich foods to increase the absorption of iron in your body. Consume leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, and broccoli as they are great sources of iron. 

  • Red Flags

Unusual paleness and inability to get up from the bed hint that you have a very low haemoglobin count, which, if not treated, can be life-threatening. Feeling unusually cold can also be a sign of anaemia. 

2. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  • Cause

While the exact cause of the disease is unclear, any viral infection, hormonal imbalance, weakened immune system, or emotional stress can trigger chronic fatigue syndrome.

  • Symptoms

Extreme fatigue, lethargy, and unexplained pain in the joints. 

  • Home Remedies

Due to the lack of clarity about the causative agent, the remedy focuses on relieving the symptoms, which include practising deep breathing, walking around, drinking water, and munching on healthy nuts and seeds.

In long term, eating more fibre, dairy products, fruits and vegetables can help improve the immune system. One can also take multivitamins or ginseng. 

  • Red Flags

If your pain is sharp shooting or you cannot get out of your bed we recommend you consult a doctor for effective treatment.

3. Acute Liver Failure 

  • Cause

A sudden loss of liver function usually occurs due to the hepatitis virus or overuse of certain drugs such as acetaminophen can result in acute liver failure.

  • Symptoms
    • Sleepiness and a general feeling of being unwell (malaise)
    • Pain in the upper right of the abdomen
    • Swelling in the stomach 
    • Yellowing of your skin or eyeballs
    • Observable disorientation or confusion
  • Home Remedies

Drink plenty of freshly prepared lemon water for detoxification. You can also consume a cup of coffee to lower the abnormal levels of liver enzymes and boost your energy levels.

Long-term remedy includes adding omega-3 fatty acids and berries to your diet. Avoid excess sugars and meals cooked in unhealthy oils. 

  • Red Flags

If you experience swelling in the abdomen along with fever and yellowing of the skin, show up to a doctor at the earliest. 

4. Cancers 

  • Cause

The cause of cancers is yet to be discovered. However, cancer fatigue can occur due to inflammation of the cells, dehydration, abnormal hormone levels, low RBCs, and the production of toxic protein cells.

  • Symptoms

Low-grade fever and chronic fatigue that will often show up throughout the day.

  • Home Remedies

Eating or drinking antioxidant-rich foods may lower the risk of cancer to manifolds.

Research has shown that spices such as pepper, turmeric, olive oil and saffron are highly effective in preventing and reducing the ill effects of cancer.

Furthermore, applying sunscreen before stepping out can help protect the skin from cancer.

  • Red Flags

Low-grade fever that persists even after taking medications or reappears every day requires medical attention. 

5. Chronic Kidney Disease 

  • Cause

Uncontrolled diabetes and high blood pressure are the two main culprits of chronic kidney disease. Both of these factors damage the blood vessels and nephrons of the kidneys, which are otherwise responsible for filtering the blood.

Unfiltered blood does not have enough oxygen and is filled with toxins, which results in fatigue.

  • Symptoms

Fatigue, loss of appetite and general malaise. Sometimes creatinine levels rise to alarming levels, which is otherwise flushed out by healthy kidneys. 

  • Home Remedies

Go for a quick walk, drink lots of water, and add lemon & berries to your diet as they help purify the blood.

In long term, limit the amount of daily protein and sodium intake and maintain a healthy weight.

  • Warning

Consistent spikes in creatinine levels may indicate the need for dialysis.

  • Red Flags

Swollen ankle and constantly high blood pressure indicate the need to consult a nephrologist at the earliest.

Key Takeaway

Whenever your body is in repair mode or fighting off viruses or bacteria, you may experience fatigue as a symptom. Fatigue can also be a symptom of allergies, chronic conditions and anaemia (due to iron deficiency).

Research hints that fatigue can also be a symptom of depression. While certain types of fatigue can be managed without intervention, those with an underlying medical condition would require proper treatment.

For more information,

Consult Our General Physicians

Our doctors are available for both online and in-clinic consultations.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can you recover from fatigue?

Yes, if the fatigue is due to non-medical conditions, resting for 1-2 days at a stretch can help you recover from fatigue.  

2. Can walking bring back energy? 

Yes, walking post meals and performing low-intensity physical activity can help in digestion and resolve problems like fatigue.  

3. Can periods cause fatigue? 

The uterine muscle contractions may cause abdominal pain which comes and goes in the form of muscle spasms. This might drain your energy and cause fatigue. However, they will last only during periods or before periods (PMS). 

4. How to know if my fatigue is serious? 

If your fatigue has not subsided with ample rest, energy drinks and medications for 2 days then you must consult with a general physician at the earliest to find out the root cause of your unexplained fatigue. 

5. Which doctor to consult for kidney problems?

If you are doubting that you have kidney problems you should consult with a nephrologist.


Medically Reviewed by Dr. Dhanunjay Reddy B

General Health

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