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Daytime sleepiness and fatigue
A few diseases that cause excessive tiredness


Have you ever felt extremely unwell, tired, and lacking stamina even after a good night’s sleep? It is important to seek medical assistance to look into it since you might have an underlying disease.

Tiredness is quite common in daily life since our routine is tight; we juggle responsibilities, and try to meet all deadlines and schedules. Nevertheless, when recurrent and excessive, it can be a symptom that something’s wrong in your body. Excessive sleepiness and tiredness can be symptoms of serious diseases that may affect patients’ quality of life. These signs can be associated with neurological (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and depression) or psychiatric (schizophrenia) diseases, as well as with sleep disorders.

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These symptoms can lead to irritability, to learning difficulties, as well as to decreased motivation and performance at work. These people are also more likely to be involved in traffic and work-related accidents.

How do I know what is my degree of sleepiness? You can do a simple and quick test to assess your degree of sleepiness called Epworth Sleepiness Scale, available at the end of this text.

Let’s now discuss a few disorders that can cause excessive, frequent tiredness:

  • DepressionVery serious and common disorder that affects negatively the way you feel, think, and act. One of the typical symptoms of depression is daytime fatigue. While it affects your mind, this disorder also has an impact on your body. Medical assistance is crucial to prescribe the most adequate treatment, be it with antidepressants and/or based on psychotherapy.
  • Diabetesdisease caused by insufficient production or poor absorption of insulin, hormone that regulates blood glucose and makes sure there is energy available to your body. When blood glucose is not available to all cells, you experience a lack of energy. Diabetic patients urinate more often, lose weight easily, and their muscles weaken, which make them complain of physical tiredness.
  • Sleep Apnea: Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS):disorder characterized by upper airways obstruction during sleep, is usually accompanied by a drop in blood oxygen saturation, followed by a transient arousal from sleep to breathe, all of which end up impairing people’s sleep and rest. Therefore, they often wake up very tired, experience muscle tiredness and daytime sleepiness.
  • Thyroid disturbances: Thyroid disturbances can cause a number of symptoms that, left untreated, can worsen. A disturbed thyroid function means it is either upregulated (hyperthyroidism, too much thyroid hormone in the body) or downregulated (hypothyroidism, underactive thyroid). While hyperthyroidism can cause symptoms such as restlessness, nervousness, difficulty concentrating, and weight loss, hypothyroidism cause symptoms such as tiredness, memory loss, easy weight gain, dry, cold skin, irregular menstrual cycle, and hair loss.
  • Heart diseases:Common cardiovascular conditions, such as arrhythmia, and diseases, such as artery clogging, can cause frequent tiredness and dizziness. Their heart is not strong enough to pump blood to the entire body, and this is why patients are continuously tired.

Do you remember I mentioned a test? Take now the test to assess your level of sleepiness
How likely are you to doze off or fall asleep in the following situations, in contrast to just feeling tired?
This refers to your usual way of life lately. Even if you have not done some of these recently, try to work out how they would have affected you. The Epworth Sleepiness Scale developed by Dr. Murray Johns is a tool very often used to assess daytime sleepiness. The total score is 0-24, with scores above 10 meaning sleepiness and above 16, severe sleepiness. A score up to 9 is considered normal. With higher score, it is recommended you see a physician.

Situation Would never doze Slight chance of dozing Moderate chance of dozing High chance of dozing
Sitting and reading 0 1 2 3
Watching T.V. 0 1 2 3
Siting, inactive, in a public place (theater, meeting, lecture) 0 1 2 3
As a passenger in a car for 1 hour without a break 0 1 2 3
Sitting quietly after lunch, but no alcohol 0 1 2 3
Lying down to rest in the afternoon whenever it is possible 0 1 2 3
Sitting and talking to someone 0 1 2 3
In a car, while stopped for traffic or a light for a few minutes 0 1 2 3

Add your score for each answer. Score 0-9 – normal daytime sleepiness.
Score 10-24 – above 10, your score indicates sleepiness; above 16, severe sleepiness.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this blog aims at assisting you in your education and is not intended to be construed in any manner as medical advice. Only physicians and dentists can diagnose diseases and prescribe treatments and medication. Thank you for visiting our website.

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