There are lots of health complaints that can make you feel tired. Not just the well-recognised ones like anaemia and thyroid problems, but also more surprising ailments, such as diabetes, food intolerance and a sleeping disorder called sleep apnoea. Any serious illness, especially painful ones, can make you tired. But some quite minor illnesses can also leave you feeling washed out. Here are 6 health conditions known to cause fatigue.
1. Coeliac disease
This is a type of food intolerance, where your body reacts badly when you eat gluten – a substance found in bread, cakes and cereals. One in 100 people in the UK are affected, but research suggests up to 90% of them don't know they have the condition.
One of the most common medical reasons for feeling constantly run down is iron deficiency anaemia. It affects around 1 in 20 men and postmenopausal women, but may be even more common in women who are still having periods. Typically, you'll feel you can't be bothered to do anything, your muscles will feel heavy, and you'll get tired very quickly.
3. Chronic fatigue syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a severe and disabling tiredness that goes on for at least six months. There are usually other symptoms, such as a sore throat, muscle or joint pain, and headache.
4. Sleep apnoea
Sleep apnoea is a condition where your throat narrows or closes during sleep and repeatedly interrupts your breathing. This results in bad snoring and a drop in your blood's oxygen levels. The difficulty in breathing means you wake up often in the night and feel exhausted the next day. It's most common in overweight middle-aged men. Drinking alcohol and smoking makes it worse.
As well as making you feel very sad, depression can also make you feel drained of energy. It can stop you falling asleep or cause you to wake up early in the morning, which makes you feel more tired during the day.
Feeling anxious is sometimes perfectly normal. But some people have constant uncontrollable feelings of anxiety, which are so strong they affect their daily life.
*It may be common to feel tired all the time, but it isn’t normal. If you’re worried, see your doctor for advice and reassurance. A blood test is your first step to rule out a medical cause, such as anaemia or an underactive thyroid gland.