Information for affected and their familiy
 
Fatgue
Diagnosis of fatigue

It is often difficult to distinct fatigue from general tiredness and exhaustion. A general gradation of tiredness does not exist. The judgement of the patient and the surrounding’s observation are the most significant criteria for a firm diagnosis.

A comprehensive conversation between patient and doctor is essential for the diagnosis of fatigue. Due to the fact that all patients react differently to the symptoms of chronic diseases and the therapeutic measures that are prescribed to cure them, most patients do not identify the exhaustion as a treatable symptom but as a necessary side affect to deal with.

Diagnosis of fatigue

It is often difficult to distinct fatigue from general tiredness and exhaustion. A general gradation of tiredness does not exist. The judgement of the patient and the surrounding’s observation are the most significant criteria for a firm diagnosis.

Anamnesis

A comprehensive conversation between patient and doctor is essential for the diagnosis of fatigue. Due to the fact that all patients react differently to the symptoms of chronic diseases and the therapeutic measures that are prescribed to cure them, most patients do not identify the exhaustion as a treatable symptom but as a necessary side affect to deal with. A questionnaire helps to differentiate between general and fatigue-related exhaustion and explores the physical and mental or cognitive capability and the emotional condition.

Recognition of symptoms

A well trained doctor inquires the symptoms of fatigue and prescribes helpful measures. In the interview, the doctor will presumably ask for general weakness, limb severity, lack of concentration and attention, problems of motivation and sleeping behaviour. Further signs that lead to the diagnosis of fatigue are difficulties to cope with tasks and a labile emotional state.

International definition

In order to diagnose fatigue definition criteria have been defined internationally: patients who suffer from permanent exhaustion, a low energy level and a higher need of sleep in spite of constant activity for every single day during one month or almost every day during a period of two weeks will have diagnosed with fatigue.

Differences in perception

Despite the defined criteria that help to make a diagnosis, people who suffer from fatigue perceive the symptoms of the exhaustion syndrome very differently. Often, the restrictions patients suffer from do not match the medical facts that a doctor can diagnose. Above all, a subjective estimation is necessary to diagnose fatigue. Naturally, not every patient has the ability to monitor himself and to deal with the situation to the same extend and this influences the moment of diagnosis.

Diagnosing anaemia

Anaemia is one of the most articulate causes and reason for fatigue. In order to make a diagnosis the contingent of haemoglobin, the red blood cells and the solid parts of the blood are being measured. If their percentage is lower than usual, an anaemia is being diagnosed and this can lead to the diagnosis of fatigue if not other causes like infections or electrolyte disorders or even the medication which is used in the treatment of the diseases cause the anaemia.

Barbara Kliem

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One of the difficult tasks while coping with fatigue is to make the surrounding understand the permanent exhaustion and tiredness. On the other hand the surrounding cannot see clear visible signs of fatigue and can experience difficulties to put themselves in the position of the patient. In order to prevent mental burdens, relaxing and joyful activities should be planned for every day.

Although fatigue patients experience permanent tiredness, many of them suffer from insomnia. A light hypnotic can help to fight severe sleeping problems but it should have a short impact and should not take an effect the next day.

It is often difficult to distinct fatigue from general tiredness and exhaustion. A general gradation of tiredness does not exist. The judgement of the patient and the surrounding’s observation are the most significant criteria for a firm diagnosis.

A comprehensive conversation between patient and doctor is essential for the diagnosis of fatigue. Due to the fact that all patients react differently to the symptoms of chronic diseases and the therapeutic measures that are prescribed to cure them, most patients do not identify the exhaustion as a treatable symptom but as a necessary side affect to deal with.

In order to treat the lack of blood (anaemia), either red blood cells are administered to the body in a transfusion or the body’s own production of red blood cells is stimulated with hormones. Both methods lead to a quick multiplication of oxygen in the blood and, for this reason, to an increase of a person’s energy and productivity.

If the fatigue is caused by muscle weaknesses, a systematic exercise programme can be used for therapy. Endurance sports like jogging, swimming and cycling are effective means of exercise for fatigue patients.