Fatigue: Common Causes, Types, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

Fatigue is a severe form of tiredness characterized by low energy and motivation. It is what makes it difficult for you to carry out your usual day-to-day tasks, get up from bed in the morning, or stroll around the exterior corridor as you always do.

Fatigue can be mild or severe and result from some lifestyle habits like lack of sleep, drug use, excessive alcohol intake, poor diet, etc. In men, fatigue can be caused by sleep apnea or low testosterone—a situation where the reproductive gland doesn’t produce enough testosterone.

In this post, we covered the causes, symptoms, types and diagnosis of fatigue. 


Symptoms of Fatigue

An individual experiencing fatigue may feel tired regularly and find it hard to fulfill simple tasks without feeling exhausted or drained. In addition to exhaustion and recurring tiredness, other common symptoms of fatigue are:

  • Brain fog, or difficulty concentrating
  • Lack of motivation
  • Feeling sleepy during the day

Men whose fatigue results from low testosterone should consider testosterone replacement therapy. Such men can receive TRT at home, or they can choose to visit the clinic, whichever they find more convenient.  


Types of Fatigue

Common types of fatigue are physical and mental fatigue.

Individuals with physical fatigue will suffer from physical exhaustion, making it impossible to do things they often do, like house chores, taking a walk, mowing the lawn, etc. Symptoms of physical stress are muscle weakness, and diagnosis may involve completing a strength test.

Mental fatigue affects the mind. It makes it hard for an individual to concentrate on tasks and maintain focus. People who experience mental fatigue may feel sleepy or find it hard to work without falling asleep.


Is it Sleepiness or Fatigue?

Though they share some symptoms, sleepiness shouldn’t be mistaken for fatigue. The former occurs when an individual doesn’t get adequate sleep, while the latter is often associated with a health condition or problem.

Sleepiness is usually short-term and can be treated with regular and consistent sleep. On the other hand, fatigue can go on for a while, and unlike sleepiness, it can be treated with medications, antibiotics, vitamins, or exercises.


Factors Causing Fatigue

Fatigue is caused by some factors, and they can be categorized into:

  • Lifestyle factors
  • Physical health conditions
  • Mental health issues


Lifestyle Factors

Are you experiencing fatigue? It may be as a result of some lifestyle choices like:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Boredom
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Grief
  • Periods of emotional stress
  • Using illegal drugs, like cocaine
  • Not eating a balanced diet


Physical health conditions 

Fatigue can also result from many health conditions like:

  • Sleep disorders
  • Cancer
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease Fibromyalgia
  • Eating disorders
  • Infections like cold and flu


Mental Health Issues

Mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and seasonal affective disorder can also be the root causes of fatigue. 


Common Causes of Fatigue

Here are three common causes of fatigue.

  1. Diet

You are what you eat. While a healthy diet is associated with many health benefits, eating unhealthy can result in fatigue. Healthy diets with abundant vegetables, whole grains, and proteins can increase your energy. On the other hand, diets that lack important nutrients like protein, vitamins and minerals can lead to fatigue.


  1. Low testosterone

Testosterone is a common hormone in men. It plays a key role in reproduction, growth, and maintenance of a healthy body. Like estrogen, male testosterone reduces with age. The result? Low energy levels, fatigue, and depression. Low testosterone, aka hypogonadism, becomes common as a man ages.

Other common signs of low testosterone are:

  • Irritability
  • Hot flushes
  • Decrease in muscles mass
  • Anemia
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Decrease in beard and body hair growth


  1. Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that is more common in men than women, including overweight individuals. It is where a person’s breathing is obstructed during sleep, stopping for around 10 seconds at a time and several times each night.

Common symptoms of sleep apnea are:

  • Excessive sleepiness during the day
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Morning headaches
  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping for air during sleep

These symptoms don’t often indicate sleep apnea. If you suspect that you have sleep apnea, contact your doctor. Untreated sleep apnea can be fatal.



Fatigue may not be life-threatening. However, doing nothing about it can affect your relationship, social life, job, and overall health. So if you are experiencing fatigue, rather than shrug it off , ensure you do something about it. If you try the tips above and your situation doesn’t change, contact your doctor.


Elements used to create Featured image Artwork provided by Created by Jill.

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