Causes of Fatigue That Might Surprise You

There are many possible causes of fatigue, but once you figure out what’s causing you to be so tired, it becomes easier to combat it. Some of the causes of fatigue are causes nobody would think of, which is why it’s important to do your research.

In this fast-paced, modern world, many people succumb to stress and fatigue. It can completely drain your energy when you’re trying to balance so much on your plate. Most of the time, you feel unbearable tiredness because of job stress, long commute, financial issues, and childcare concerns. At times, your habits and routines like lack of sleep and physical activity also make things worse.

Many people, however, have chronic fatigue even though they do not have demanding jobs, kids, or a hectic lifestyle. There are people who always feel lethargic, low energy and have low motivation even though they are not over-exerting themselves.

On occasion, fatigue is a symptom of underlying health issues that may need medical treatment. This includes mental health issues such as anxiety disorders causing fatigue or medical issues such as an iron deficiency or other nutrient deficiency. If you feel fatigued, you should not have to endure the ill feelings and negative emotions that come with it. After all, feeling tired all the time impacts your productivity and well-being. It can even affect your work performance and relationships. Thus, you must find the root cause of the problem so you can properly address it. Below are some causes of fatigue, many of which might surprise you:

Health Conditions That Can Cause Chronic Fatigue

In general, many people feel tired due to lack of sleep and the stressors of everyday living. However, in some cases, it can indicate a more complex problem. Thus, it is important to seek medical help if your exhaustion is unrelenting and try to decipher your causes of fatigue. Evaluate what’s causing you to feel this way to find a solution. Fatigue will hinder your daily activities and make you feel depressed about your situation. Below are some health conditions that can be causes of fatigue:

Nutrient Deficiencies

Poor diet is one of the top causes of fatigue that people don’t consider. Nutrient deficiencies such as a lack of magnesium, potassium, vitamin B12 and folic acid can all cause fatigue.


Anaemia (Iron Deficiency)

Anaemia results in low red blood cells, and they are responsible for carrying oxygen all over your body. With insufficient oxygenation, you will naturally feel tired. Anaemia can be related to a disease like Sickle Cell Anemia, or it could also be due to an iron deficiency. Women who experience heavy menstrual bleeding, are pregnant, or those who don’t eat enough meat often lack iron. In this instance, you can take an iron supplement and eat iron-rich food like meat, tofu, beans, nuts, rice, etc. Talk to your doctor about proper dosage before taking any supplements.

Sleep Apnea

People with sleep apnea do not get a good night’s rest. This sleep disorder interrupts their breathing repetitively during sleep. It is characterized by loud snoring. At times, the person stops breathing for several seconds. It is important to seek medical help to address this problem.


Your thyroid regulates your body’s metabolic process or how fast your body converts fuel into energy. Hypothyroidism or a lazy thyroid causes fatigue, weight gain, depression. Simple blood work can confirm this and therapy to regulate hormones will help alleviate fatigue.

Unresolved UTI

If you have a urinary tract infection or pain when peeing, it will result in weakness and fatigue. Don’t wait to see your doctor because UTIs can lead to a kidney infection. All it takes is a course of antibiotics to clear the infection and alleviate fatigue.


Problems with your blood sugar can make you feel lethargic. Low blood glucose means you may not have enough simple sugar in the body for energy. It would help to speak with your doctor to confirm if you are diabetic. From there, you can manage the disease by tweaking your diet. You may also need maintenance medication

Heart Disease

If simple activities like going up the stairs or walking wear you out, you could be battling a heart condition.  When the heart is unable to pump efficiently, it will divert resources from your limbs to your vital organs. As a result, you end up feeling tired and winded. If you experience unrelenting fatigue, speak with a cardiologist to check for heart disease and hypertension.


It’s very common to feel lethargic and fatigued if you are depressed. Depression can lead to severe melancholy, insomnia, fatigue, and physical pain. It is vital to take care of your mental health by speaking with a counsellor, especially if you’re experiencing symptoms of depression.


When you have chronic anxiety or anxious thoughts, it feels like you can’t turn your brain off. This can lead to chronic fatigue because even if you’re sitting still all day, your anxious thoughts are draining your energy. It doesn’t help that anxious thoughts also keep us awake at night, making it less likely that we’ll get a proper night’s sleep.

Medication Side Effects Can be Causes of Fatigue

Certain medications can cause extreme drowsiness. Exhaustion can be a by-product of certain drugs or medications that you take to treat the following conditions:

  • Chronic pain
  • Acute liver failure
  • Anxiety disorders
  • COPD
  • Emphysema
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Chemo

Causes of Fatigue That Are Controllable Lifestyle Factors

Take an honest inventory of your life and take responsibility for your habits and choices. You may be doing things that aggravate your situation. The first step to finding relief for your chronic fatigue is to identify the source of the problem. Most of the time, fatigue is related to decisions you can control. For example, the following can make you feel overtired:

  • Insufficient sleep due to poor sleep hygiene
  • Unhealthy eating habits
  • Excessive physical activity
  • Lack of physical activity (yes, it works both ways)
  • Excessive caffeine consumption
  • Alcohol and drug use
  • Jet lag
  • Taking medications for allergies
  • Dehydration
  • Shift work sleep disorder

Do You Have a Health Condition Causing Fatigue?

While your doctor could help you discover an underlying health condition that is causing fatigue, it’s also important to note that you could have a genetic health condition that causes fatigue. Since it’s very common for the causes of fatigue to be related to underlying health conditions, why not find out through CircleDNA which health conditions you have a genetically at higher risk of developing? This way, you can take preventative measures to stay healthy and combat fatigue. Your DNA test will also tell you if there are any vital nutrients that you’re genetically prone to have higher needs of. Your diet and nutrition report from CircleDNA could help you combat fatigue.

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