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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Fatigue appears as a symptom of several diseases. It is mostly mentioned in the context of cancer. Other diseases which cause fatigue are autoimmune diseases, chronic infections and mental disorders. Besides the physical impact of these diseases the often long-term and exhausting therapeutic measures are responsible for the genesis of fatigue.

The cause of fatigue is being seen as a combination of multiple facts and therefore develops for different reasons. The treatment of an illness can cause changes of the metabolism, the hormone level and brain functions.

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.