Information for affected and their familiy
 
Fatgue
Therapy of fatigue

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.

Therapy of fatigue

For a long time, only anaemia was treated in order to cure fatigue. Nowadays, multiple therapy measures are used for treatment. Medicinal and non-medicinal measures shall help the patient to cope with fatigue in a better way.

Treatment of anaemia

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. Due to the fact that the blood transfusion bears the risk of infections or incompatibility, the hormone treatment is being preferred. An advantage is the quicker effect that lasts for approximately three weeks and that can be repeated if necessary.

Treatment of physical causes

By treating cancer-related fatigue an impact onto the complete cancer therapy can be observed. Not only can a patient improve his or her quality of everyday life but also he/she can deal with the therapeutic measures in a better way. In order to improve the amount of red blood cells cancer patients are being preferably treated with the hormone erythropoietin (known as EPO) rather than a cell transfusion due to the higher risk of infection. A disadvantage of this treatment is the delayed or absent effect. Besides anaemia, metabolism or hormone disorders as well as thyroid and adrenal glands dysfunctions can be the cause for fatigue and be treated medicinally.

Sports and activities

If the fatigue is caused by muscle weaknesses, a systematic exercise programme can be used for therapy. Although a gentle treatment of the patient should be considered, activities during illness and therapy should not be reduced to a minimum as the lack of movement can have a negative impact upon the productivity of a patient and his or her course of disease. Endurance sports like jogging, swimming and cycling are effective means of exercise for fatigue patients. Even speedy walking heightens the productivity and fights the fatigue. The exercise should not only start after the therapy but with the beginning of the treatment.

Therapy of mental-related fatigue

A consequence of both the disease and the fatigue is the mental burden. A persistent depressive mood and a lack of motivation can occur on their own or together. In order to cure these mental symptoms, antidepressants sometimes are prescribed, but generally, means of behaviour therapy are preferred to the medicinal treatment.

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.

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.

“Fatigue” is the French word for tiredness or exhaustion and is also being called languidness or lassitude. It designates an exhaustion symptom which occurs with chronic diseases. As it is perceived by the patient and not visually noticeable to others it is a symptom opposed to a medical sign and primarily used in connection with cancer. It describes a feeling of sustained tiredness and listlessness that has an impact on the daily life of the concerned persons. In despite of sufficient sleep the patient feels weak, exhausted and overstrained.