Many people with diabetes also complain of fatigue. The fatigue can be so disabling that it can interfere with your ability to partake in regular activities of daily activities. There are many reasons why diabetics suffer from fatigue and many complain that it is the most debilitating of symptoms of diabetes they experience.
Fatigue can be a problem of both high and low blood sugars seen in diabetes. When the blood sugar is high, patients often feel groggy and drugged because the insulin resistance prevents the blood glucose from entering the cells for use as fuel. The fatigue, then, is on a deep cellular level. Fatigue from high blood sugar can result from inflammation. Inflammation causes monocytes to travel to the brain so that fatigue is manifest.
Low blood sugar levels sometimes seen in diabetics who overdo their insulin and other treatment can result in fatigue. Low blood sugars mean that there isn’t the cellular fuel necessary to service the cells and the lack of fuel makes one fatigued.
Anemia seen as part of diabetes can be due to insufficient intake of iron, vitamin B12, and folic acid. Low blood cell counts can contribute to disease. Anemia of chronic disease can also happen in diabetics, which leads to anemia that cannot be managed without first treating the diabetes.
Diabetics are also at a greater risk of developing hypothyroidism, a condition of low levels of the hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine. When the thyroid gland is sluggish, patients feel sleepy, depressed, and tired. Men with diabetes are more likely to have low T syndrome, which involves having low levels of testosterone. This contributes to fatigue and sluggishness in men with diabetes.
Diabetics are at a higher risk of developing infections that are difficult to treat. Infections require a great deal of energy to fight off so that diabetics become fatigued with higher than normal blood sugar levels. Some of the more common infections associated with diabetes are urinary infections, vaginal infections, respiratory infections, and dental infections. Some infections are considered “silent” with no other symptoms but fatigue.
Diabetics are at a greater risk of having undiagnosed heart disease. Rather than the typical symptoms of chest pain, diabetics often just get tired when doing activities they used to be able to do without difficulty. In such cases, it is important to seek medical attention because the heart disease can be just as deadly without the typical symptoms to herald the disease.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome And Fibromyalgia
Diabetics can suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. This usually affects women more than men but can exist in both genders. Fatigue is the primary symptom of both chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Unfortunately, there are no medical treatments for the fatigue associated with these conditions.
Diabetics must take many different medications, including medications for pain, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and depression. Many of these medications have, as one of their side effects, the finding of fatigue. The pharmacist is the person to ask if you think you are taking a medication that has fatigue as a side effect.
Diabetics can suffer from poor sleep habits or a lack of sleep. Some are up during the night with frequent urination seen in diabetics, while others suffer from obstructive sleep apnea as a side effect of the obesity seen in diabetes. Sleep apnea causes fatigue because you wake up many times during the night from obstruction of the airway. Diabetics who do shift work suffer from sleep disturbances due to hormonal imbalances associated with rotating shifts or from working nights all the time.
Depression is a common phenomenon in patients with diabetes. Depressed people usually feel fatigued related to their disease process. Depression can make you feel less motivated to do activities of daily living and can keep you in bed suffering from low mood.
Lack Of Rest
If you overdo it with diabetes, you can set yourself up to have fatigue. If you force yourself to do everything that needs to be done without a break, you can have even more fatigue. Stress from having too many thigs to do added to the physical stress of diabetes can bring on fatigue that is difficult to treat.
High Carb Diets
High carb diets, especially those that involve taking in simple carbohydrates rather than complex carbohydrates can add to the fatigue of diabetes. The cure for this is to eat complex carbohydrates along with protein and healthy fats. This can turn around the fatigue associated with eating poorly.
Caffeine can cause a rebound fatigue if you consume it too much. The high you get from caffeine is just temporary and you are left with the rebound effect that, added to the dehydration you get from taking in caffeine, can make you tired.
Lack Of Exercise
If you are out of shape and not exercising, you can feel sluggish when trying to do your activities of daily living. Only when you are in shape can you manage the things you do during your day. The problem is worse with age. Since diabetes is increased with advancing age, older diabetics are more likely to suffer from fatigue than younger diabetics are.