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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Fatigue is mental and physical exhaustion that does not get better with rest. Fatigue may make daily activities difficult or cause extreme sleepiness. It is normal to feel tired sometimes, but long-term fatigue may be a sign of serious illness.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You have chest pain.
- You have difficulty breathing.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have a cough that gets worse, or does not go away.
- You see blood in your urine or bowel movement.
- You have numbness or tingling around your mouth or in an arm or leg.
- You faint, feel dizzy, or have vision changes.
- You have swelling in your lymph nodes.
- You are a woman and have vaginal bleeding that is not normal for you, or is not expected.
- You lose weight without trying, or you have trouble eating.
- You feel weak or have muscle pain.
- You have pain or swelling in your joints.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
You may need more tests. Your healthcare provider may also refer you to a specialist. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
- Keep a fatigue diary. Include anything that makes you feel more tired or less tired. Bring the diary with you to follow-up visits with your provider.
- Exercise as directed. Exercise can help you feel more alert. Exercise can also help you manage stress or relieve depression. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
- Keep a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same times every day. Limit naps to 1 hour each day. A nap can improve fatigue, but a long nap may make it harder to go to sleep at night.
- Plan and limit your activities. Limit the number of activities such as shopping and cleaning you do each day. If possible, try to spread out your trips throughout the week. Plan ahead so you are not rushing to get something done. Only do activities that you have the energy to complete. Take breaks between activities. Ask for help if you need it. Another person may be able to drive you or help with daily activities.
- Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Good nutrition can help manage fatigue.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol. These can make it difficult to fall or stay asleep. Women should limit alcohol to 1 drink a day. Men should limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day. A drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor. Ask our healthcare provider how much caffeine is safe for you.
- Do not smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause lung damage and increase fatigue. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.