Many people experience a persistent lack of energy and fatigue, even after getting plenty of rest. If someone is feeling constantly tired and sluggish without a clear cause, they may be suffering from the medical condition known as “chronic fatigue syndrome.” If fatigue suddenly occurs, and it is severe enough to impact daily activities or doesn’t improve despite taking time off work, it is recommended to seek medical attention. Here are four potential risk factors that can cause fatigue symptoms during the day, even after getting enough sleep.
- Chronic Inflammation
Inflammation is a protective mechanism in which immune cells, blood vessels, and mucosal cells respond to harmful stimuli or substances in the body. For example, if bacteria invade our body, immune cells such as macrophages will respond immediately, secrete inflammatory mediators, and attack the invader. At the same time, they recruit other immune cells to the area of infection. This increases the blood flow to the affected area, making the area red and swollen, accompanied by heat and pain. This is known as an inflammatory response. The purpose of the inflammatory response is to inhibit cell damage in the initial phase, remove damaged tissue and dead cells from the wound, and regenerate the tissue.
However, there are times when the immune cells remain active and continue to produce strong inflammatory mediators, such as cytokines, even when there are no invading bacteria or harmful stimuli in the body. This is known as chronic inflammation.
According to Professor Lee Deok-cheol from the Department of Family Medicine at Yonsei University, “Inflammatory mediators produced by chronic inflammation are present in very low concentrations, so there is no fever or pain like acute inflammation caused by bacterial or viral invasion.” He further explains that “the inflammation spreads throughout the body via the bloodstream, damaging various organs and tissues, and constantly depleting the body’s energy, leading to chronic fatigue symptoms.”
The causes of chronic inflammation include bad lifestyle habits such as stress, smoking, and excessive drinking, environmental pollutants such as fine dust and carbon monoxide, harmful substances found in food, allergens, and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatism.
Anemia is a condition in which the amount of hemoglobin or red blood cells (RBC) in the blood is below normal levels. Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells that carries oxygen to the body’s tissues. When the body does not have enough hemoglobin, it doesn’t get enough oxygen, which can cause fatigue. Anemia can be caused by iron, vitamin B12, or folic acid deficiencies, blood loss, chronic inflammation, and kidney or liver diseases.
- Sleep Disorders
Sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, or restless leg syndrome can cause daytime fatigue. Sleep apnea occurs when breathing is interrupted during sleep, which can lead to a drop in oxygen levels and cause frequent waking up during the night. Restless leg syndrome causes an irresistible urge to move the legs during the night, which can interrupt sleep and cause daytime fatigue.
- Hormonal Imbalance
A hormonal imbalance can also cause daytime fatigue. For example, an underactive thyroid gland can slow down the body’s metabolism, leading to fatigue. Other hormones, such as insulin and cortisol, also play important roles in the body’s energy regulation. Diabetes and adrenal gland disorders can cause imbalances in insulin and cortisol levels, respectively, leading to fatigue.
In conclusion, fatigue is a common symptom that can be caused by various factors. Identifying the underlying cause of fatigue is important to effectively manage and treat the symptoms.