It's typical to find yourself feeling a little sluggish on occasion. But when you've felt tired for days or weeks on end, it's possible that something more serious is at the root of your lethargy.
Elderly fatigue is a common ailment: More than 30% of adults over the age of 51 report dealing with fatigue. If you're not sure whether you're experiencing normal exhaustion or chronic fatigue, here's what you need to know, along with tips to boost your energy.
Tiredness vs. Fatigue
Feeling tired is normal after you've had a late night or finished a grueling activity. The daily exhaustion of fatigue, on the other hand, doesn't go away after a good night's sleep.
Fatigue can interfere with your daily life, and it could also be a sign of a more serious underlying issue. If you consistently have trouble staying awake during the day, struggle to concentrate or fall asleep unintentionally, you may be dealing with fatigue.
Causes of Elderly Fatigue
Fatigue can come from many sources. Underlying medical conditions are one common cause — anemia, sleep disorders, mental health conditions such as depression, and chronic illnesses including thyroid disease or diabetes can all lead to fatigue in older age. Side effects from certain medications used to treat mood disorders, nausea, pain or allergies may also play a role.
How To Overcome Fatigue
Fortunately, there are many effective strategies that can help you manage fatigue.
Depending on the specific cause of the fatigue, some people find relief from taking medication to help manage depression, pain or other ailments. Therapy is another valuable tool to address the root cause of fatigue and boost your energy levels.
It may seem counterintuitive, but starting an exercise routine offers another way to combat fatigue. Studies have shown that low-impact exercise both reduces fatigue and increases energy. Mindfulness practices such as meditation and yoga can also help you cope with fatigue as you age, whether you prefer to roll out your yoga mat or load a quick meditation on your favorite mobile app.
When To See a Doctor for Elderly Fatigue
If you've attempted to manage your fatigue on your own and you're still struggling, don't hesitate to call your doctor. They can diagnose or rule out medical conditions to help pinpoint the source of your fatigue and get you back to your regular energy levels.