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Fatigue Causes

One of the most common reasons people come into see us is for fatigue. Fatigue causes are multiple; they are often hidden and can take some considerable detective work to figure out.

For many people, the problem is simple. A multitasking life (work/school/kids, etc) and 5-6 hours of sleep each night just isn’t going to cut it. But, if you are getting a good nights sleep (7-8 hours, uninterrupted) and you’re still tired, then we need to start looking deeper for the causes of fatigue.

Here are some common, but often hidden fatigue causes:


    Is a shortage of red blood cells. Red blood cells carry and deliver oxygen to the cells of the body. If you don’t have enough red blood cells, you will definitely feel fatigued.

    Typically, this is caused by heavy menstrual bleeding, uterine fibroids, recent childbirth, intense exercise and a vegetarian (typically) diet. Other causes include lack of vitamin B12 or folic acid, or more serious conditions like internal bleeding or kidney disease.

    People with anemia will feel very tired, dizzy, foggy brain, cold and no amount of sleep or rest will make them feel better.

    Anemia is detected by a simple blood test in the doctor’s office.

    Here's a more in-depth article about causes of anemia.

Adrenal Fatigue

    Adrenal fatigue is the result of too much demand on the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands manufacture several different hormones, some of which are termed ‘stress hormones’.

    It is often caused by intense or prolonged stress or serious illness. It occurs when the adrenal glands can no longer produce adequate levels of the ‘stress’ hormones it typically manufactures.

    People with adrenal fatigue can barely get out of bed. The slightest stresses, or exercise, can knock them out for days.

    You can read more about adrenal fatigue here.


    The thyroid gland is like the accelerator in your car; it governs how fast your metabolism goes. If your thyroid is low, you will feel fatigued, along with other telltale symptoms.

    Hypothyroidism is a major cause of fatigue in people. Women are affected much more often than men. Many women are hypothyroid and don’t know it because no one has ever bothered to test them.

    Symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, water retention, hair loss, feeling cold, constipation and dry skin.

    There are specific blood tests to detect how well your thyroid is working. You can read more about thyroid problems here.

Food Sensitivities

    Food sensitivities are simply an adverse reaction of your body to a particular food(s). They can be responsible for a number of symptoms, but fatigue is definitely one of them. If your body is fighting against the food, this can take a lot of energy away from the rest of your body, leaving you exhausted.

    Getting tested is important to find out which foods could be the causes of fatigue. You can read more about food sensitivities here.

Sleep Apnea

    Sleep apnea is a condition where a person stops breathing while asleep. Each time the person stops breathing, it pulls them up out of their deep sleep. This can happen many, many times a night resulting in entire nights being disrupted.

    Most of the time, they are unaware of it. Sometimes they will remember dreams of being suffocated, or others where they can’t catch their breath!

    Sleep apnea is caused when the soft tissues in the back of the throat sag down and block the airway. People that are overweight and sedentary are most affected. Snoring is a big sign, and often times bed partners will report snoring, snorting and gasping at night.

    Sleep apnea needs to be diagnosed in a sleep lab, where your doctor can refer you. Not only is sleep apnea a fatigue cause, it increases the risks of stroke, heart attack and high blood pressure.

As you can see, there are many fatigue causes. Getting to the bottom of what causes fatigue is important; this way you don’t have to waste time or resources guessing at what the cause may be. We can help you find out the causes of fatigue at our Fort Collins clinic.