Information for affected and their familiy
 
Fatgue
Further information about fatigue

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.

Further information

Commonness of fatigue

As many patients do not have their fatigue diagnosed, secure numbers about the commonness of fatigue do not exist. In the context of cancer, the information especially varies. Three quarters of all cancer patients state that they suffer from fatigue at some point during their disease. Most of these patients suffer from leukaemia or breast and prostate cancer.

Increase of the cognitive productivity

If fatigue shows an impact especially on the cognitive productivity, alertness, concentration and retentiveness are being influenced. Although drugs exist that increase these functions, they have not been thoroughly tested yet and are currently not recommendable. Measures in behaviour therapy are tested also in order to cure the disorders.

Fatigue in the job

Not only is the private everyday life influenced by fatigue but also the working life. Possible problems for a patient who keeps working with the disease or tries to reintegrate after therapy, are a lack of physical utilisability and of cognitive capacities. Because fatigue is a side effect rather than an independent diagnosis, the utilisation of rehabilitating measurements is difficult, but can be enabled with the help of the attending doctor, a psychologist or an insurance.

Observation of the energy level

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. For him or her it is important to economise the strength, to rest sufficiently and to openly communicate the exhaustion syndrome in order to integrate the symptoms into their everyday life. A reasonable energy level for the patient without him or her feeling unchallenged, can be generally found by learning to interpret the body’s signals und starting to keep an energy diary which leads to a sensible estimation and judgement of the energy spent. In order to prevent mental burdens, relaxing and joyful activities should be planned for every day.

Learning to sleep

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. The duration of sleep should be determined in a way that was being perceived as recovering before the disease. After having woken up, the patient should rise.

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.

“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.