Fatigue: Identifying and Treating Fatigue Syndrome | NDR.de – Guide

To: 01/22/2023 20:04

Fatigue syndrome is a very debilitating persistent exhaustion. Fatigue is a typical accompaniment and consequence of serious illnesses.

Persistent fatigue, deep weakness and lack of dynamism, so that a normal daily life can hardly be managed: doctors call this state fatigue (exhaustion in French/English) or exhaustion syndrome. Fatigue significantly affects quality of life. At the same time, it is often difficult for those affected to make their situation understandable to outsiders – especially when the causative disease dates back some time. The syndrome often occurs in association with serious illnesses. Fatigue often occurs during or after cancer, for example, and up to 90% of patients suffer from excessive exhaustion weeks after treatment. Recently, many people affected by Covid-19 have reported corresponding symptoms. Fatigue should not be confused with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

If the symptoms do not disappear after four to six months or if they reappear after a while, one lies chronic fatigue Before. It is estimated that 20 to 50 percent of cancer patients are affected. Fatigue syndrome occurs particularly frequently in the context of chemotherapy or radiotherapy as well as in cases of leukemia, lymphoma and metastatic breast cancer.

Persistent fatigue as the mainsymptom


Exhausting cancer therapy often leads to physical and mental exhaustion.

In the context of a serious illness and the corresponding energy therapies, fatigue is normal. When fatigued, however, the exhaustion does not improve by sleeping and taking breaks to recover. The degree of exhaustion has no relation to previous physical or mental exertion. In addition to or as an alternative to physical symptoms, emotional and mental symptoms may also occur. Typical signs of fatigue are:

  • persistent fatigue, even during the day
  • insatiable need for sleep
  • reduced physical performance
  • Heaviness in the limbs
  • Lack of motivation and drive
  • Difficulty concentrating, difficulty finding words.

fatigueThe diagnosis is not easy to make

Since the symptoms are not very specific and there are no clear markers of fatigue, the diagnosis is not easy to make. The doctor will first take the medical history and after a physical examination will check some blood values. In particular, diabetes, hypothyroidism and anemia can be excluded. It is also important to differentiate between chronic fatigue and depression. About a third of fatigue patients also suffer from a mental illness that must be treated separately.

Fatigue is different causes

One of the best-studied areas is tumor-related fatigue, but its causes have not yet been clearly clarified. Obviously, fatigue results from the interaction of various factors and also depends on individual sensitivity to stressful stimuli. The stress associated with cancer and chemotherapy or radiotherapy drains energy stores. In chemotherapy, tumor tissues and healthy cells in the body are affected to varying degrees and cell formation processes are disrupted, leading to metabolic changes. Anemia associated with certain chronic diseases and often with chemotherapy could be one of the causes of fatigue, because the lack of red blood cells means that the organs are not supplied with enough oxygen, which weakens the body. Lack of exercise and psychological stress due to pain or an unclear prognosis probably also play a role.

fatigueTherapy begins at different points

Therapeutic approaches are as varied as the manifestations of fatigue. First of all, it is important that the patient and his relatives are well informed about the clinical picture: The persons concerned must learn to ask for help and to accept it. The private and professional environment, in turn, should accept complaints and show consideration.

Keep a fatigue diary

keep one ordinary sleep pattern is essential for those affected: Too little, but also too much sleep can increase fatigue. It’s also important set priorities, to save energy. Many patients benefit fatigue diary to guide: This allows you to determine which activities you have enough strength for, when exhaustion is highest, and when activities fit best into your daily routine.

Measured exercise and healthy diet against fatigue

Well-dosed measures are among the generally useful measures Movement. Studies have proven the positive effect of exercise on states of physical exhaustion during and after cancer. The goal is that Develop physical fitness and muscle mass. Good are endurance sports like brisk walking, Nordic walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, cross-country skiing or rowing. Exercise, especially outdoors, also acts as a mild sleep aid: those who are physically active enough fall asleep better and deeper and can recover more efficiently. In individual cases, behavioral therapy can be considered for those affected, in which the focus is on conflict resolution and the treatment of possible sleep disorders. A balanced and above all nutritious diet generally makes it possible to replenish energy reserves

nutritional therapy

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Nutrition Literature | 01/23/2023 | 9:00 p.m.

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