What causes fatigue?

Many conditions, disorders, medications and lifestyle factors can cause fatigue. Fatigue can be temporary, or it can be a chronic condition (lasting six months or more). You may be able to relieve your symptoms by changing your diet, medications, exercise or sleep habits. If an underlying medical condition causes fatigue, doctors can usually treat the condition or help you manage it.

Causes of fatigue include:

  • Lifestyle habits: Poor diet, excessive alcohol, drug use, too much stress and a sedentary lifestyle can all contribute to fatigue. Jet lag commonly causes temporary fatigue (symptoms usually improve in a few days).
  • Medical conditions: Fatigue is a symptom of a wide range of diseases, disorders and deficiencies affecting various parts of the body.
  • Sleep disorders: Insomnia, sleep apnea, and narcolepsy can cause extreme exhaustion and long-term fatigue.
  • Medications and treatments: Several prescription and over-the-counter drugs, including antihistamines and blood pressure medications, can cause fatigue. Fatigue is a common side effect of bone marrow transplants, chemotherapy and treatments for a range of conditions.

What medical conditions cause fatigue?

Hundreds of conditions and disorders lead to fatigue. Some of the most common causes of fatigue include:

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