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Tiredness

For tiredness caused by poor sleep, see chart 3

It is normal to feel tired during the day if you have had difficulty sleeping or if you have been working hard or exercising. You should not be concerned unless your tiredness is persistent and severe. If you are uncertain about the cause of your tiredness, you should consult your doctor.

  • Do you have any of the following symptoms?

    • Feeling faint or passing out
      • Possible cause Anaemia is a possible cause of your symptoms.

        Medical help See your doctor within 24 hours.

    • Shortness of breath
      • Possible cause Anaemia is a possible cause of your symptoms.

        Medical help See your doctor within 24 hours.

    • Paler skin than normal
      • Possible cause Anaemia is a possible cause of your symptoms.

        Medical help See your doctor within 24 hours.

    • None of the above

      Have you progressively lost weight without a change in eating habits or increased exercise?

      • No, or gained weight

        Do you have any of the following symptoms?

        • Increased dryness or roughness of the skin
          • Possible cause Hypothyroidism is a possible cause.

            Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

        • Feeling the cold more than you used to
          • Possible cause Hypothyroidism is a possible cause.

            Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

        • Generalized hair thinning
          • Possible cause Hypothyroidism is a possible cause.

            Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

        • None of the above

          Are you currently taking any medications, complementary remedies, or recreational drugs?

          • Yes
            • Possible cause Certain drugs and remedies may cause tiredness, for example, some drugs used to treat high blood pressure (see Antihypertensive drugs).

              Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor. Continue to take prescribed medication unless advised to stop by your doctor but stop taking any other medications, complementary remedies, or recreational drugs.

          • No

            Do you regularly drink more than the recommended limit of alcohol (see Safe alcohol limits)?

            • More than the limit
              • Possible cause Regularly drinking too much alcohol can cause tiredness (see Alcohol and health).

                Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor for advice about reducing the amount of alcohol you drink.

            • Within the limit

              Do you have any of the following symptoms?

              • Low self-esteem
              • Inability to concentrate or to make decisions
              • Lack of interest in sex
              • None of the above

                Have you recently had a viral illness such as flu?

                • Recent illness
                  • Possible cause It may take several weeks to recover from an illness, particularly from some viral infections, such as infectious mononucleosis.

                    Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor if you are still feeling tired 1 month after any other symptoms you had have disappeared.

                • No recent illness
                  • If you cannot identify a possible cause for your tiredness from this chart, make an appointment to see your doctor.

      • Yes

        Have you been experiencing any of the following symptoms?

        • Increased thirst
          • Possible cause Diabetes mellitus may be a possibility.

            Medical help See your doctor within 24 hours.

        • Passing more urine than normal
          • Possible cause Diabetes mellitus may be a possibility.

            Medical help See your doctor within 24 hours.

        • Blurred vision
          • Possible cause Diabetes mellitus may be a possibility.

            Medical help See your doctor within 24 hours.

        • None of the above

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

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