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What are the Effects of Fatigue?

Fatigue can ripple through our lives, subtly undermining our cognitive abilities, mood, and physical health. It's more than just feeling tired; it's a state that can lead to decreased alertness, impaired judgment, and a higher risk of accidents. From weakened immune response to emotional instability, the effects are profound. How does this resonate with your experiences? Share your story as we examine the impact of fatigue.
Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus

Fatigue can affect many different areas of a sufferer's life. The effects of fatigue typically expand into both home and work, which can affect the quality of personal as well as professional relationships. Chronic fatigue is also thought to greatly multiply safety and health risks.

When the body is overly tired and a person feels exhausted a lot of the time, the immune system can be affected, which may increase the risk of disease. These effects of fatigue can lead to digestive disorders, high blood pressure and heart disease. The two types of fatigue are chronic and acute. Chronic fatigue is ongoing and may be caused by a medical condition such as depression or a disease such as cancer. Acute, or sudden, fatigue is temporary and could be brought on through overwork or from not sleeping for one or two nights.

In some cases, chronic fatigue syndrome may be the cause for someone's lack of energy.
In some cases, chronic fatigue syndrome may be the cause for someone's lack of energy.

While fatigue is often noticed in physical effects, such as lack of energy, it can also be mental. Mental fatigue is common in people who work with information, especially with stressful deadlines or a high pressure environment. Project managers, writers, accountants, students and many others may suffer the effects of fatigue by feeling overwhelmed mentally. These effects may include a blockage of an ability to create new ideas. For example, writer's block can be a result of mental fatigue. Relaxation can help fight the effects of both physical and mental fatigue.

Insufficient sleep may cause fatigue.
Insufficient sleep may cause fatigue.

Sometimes just getting away from projects, such as taking a break or a walk, can reduce mental fatigue. Breathing deeply or doing simple stretches may also help ease the physical effects of fatigue, such as muscle aches and headaches. The effects of both physical and mental fatigue can effect relationships. People who are chronically fatigued tend to be either irritable or inappropriately silly — these effects could especially cause annoyance in the workplace. Family life may also be affected by fatigue if parents feel too tired to spend time with their children on quality activities such as games and bike rides.

Writer's block can result from being fatigued.
Writer's block can result from being fatigued.

Safety risks from feeling sleepy and overtired include falling asleep on the job or while driving. These “micro sleeps” in which fatigued people just shut their eyes and almost instantly fall asleep due to being overtired can be extremely dangerous. Shift workers are often thought to be especially prone to the effects of fatigue because they usually have to sleep at changing hours due to working different shifts. It's often difficult to adjust to changing sleep hours and the result is often feeling tired during the day resulting in micro sleeps. Many accidents may be caused by people experiencing the effects of fatigue because the ability to make smart decisions and prevent accidents is often impaired.

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Discussion Comments

burcidi

Does fatigue cause depression or does depression cause fatigue? I can't figure that out but fatigue and depression definitely seem to go together.

ddljohn

@ZipLine-- I completely agree with you. Last year, I suddenly developed severe fatigue. I'm normally an energetic person and all of the sudden, I became someone that couldn't even get out of bed. If I walked for ten minutes, I was exhausted and doing even simple tasks became difficult. Naturally, I put on weight. I was also depressed.

Eventually, I saw a doctor and a blood test showed that I have hypothyroidism. I'm taking medications for it now and my fatigue has completely disappeared. No one should have to live with these symptoms.

ZipLine

Fatigue has so many negative affects on the body. It causes our metabolic rate to decrease and we burn less calories. This often leads to weight gain, which may cause insulin resistance and disturb our blood sugar levels. If it's not treated, it can turn into a vicious cycle of unending health problems. Often, there is an underlying condition causing the fatigue. If treated, this can nip the problem in the bud.

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    • In some cases, chronic fatigue syndrome may be the cause for someone's lack of energy.
      By: karuka
      In some cases, chronic fatigue syndrome may be the cause for someone's lack of energy.
    • Insufficient sleep may cause fatigue.
      By: Susan Stevenson
      Insufficient sleep may cause fatigue.
    • Writer's block can result from being fatigued.
      By: Rido
      Writer's block can result from being fatigued.
    • Overwork is a common cause of fatigue.
      By: Picture-Factory
      Overwork is a common cause of fatigue.
    • Sometimes just getting away from projects can reduce mental fatigue.
      By: pathdoc
      Sometimes just getting away from projects can reduce mental fatigue.
    • The effects of fatigue can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease.
      By: naka
      The effects of fatigue can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease.
    • Mental fatigue is common in people who work with information, especially those with high stress jobs.
      By: naka
      Mental fatigue is common in people who work with information, especially those with high stress jobs.
    • Fatigue can result in excessive yawning.
      By: oporkka
      Fatigue can result in excessive yawning.
    • Physical aches and headaches can often be brought on by fatigue.
      By: blanche
      Physical aches and headaches can often be brought on by fatigue.
    • Confusion is a common effect of fatigue.
      By: Marijus
      Confusion is a common effect of fatigue.
    • Chronic fatigue can lead to exhaustion.
      By: Ambrose
      Chronic fatigue can lead to exhaustion.
    • Fatigue can impact an athlete's stamina.
      By: Helder Almeida
      Fatigue can impact an athlete's stamina.