Fatigue facts now available online
The first difficulty in diagnosis is that patients may give vague descriptions of what they are feeling. There are many possible explanations for ‘sleepiness’ or ‘weakness’.
Fatigue may be a feature of medical or psychosocial problems and eTG complete gives the prevalence of conditions which may cause fatigue in men and women and in different age groups. Diseases commonly associated with fatigue include depression, anaemia and thyroid disease, but most cases have no explanation.
As there are no diagnostic tests for fatigue a thorough clinical assessment is needed. Ask the patient about the onset and the duration of the fatigue.
It is important to take a social and occupational history and to ask the patient how fatigue affects them. Enquire about medicines and other drugs they may be taking.
‘Red flags’ which suggest possible underlying disease include weight loss, shortness of breath, fever and