Why Do We Experience Weakness & Fatigue?

It’s been nearly 9 months since the pandemic and most of us are still at home going about our daily routine. But what puzzles me is that in spite of being at home, I hear so many of my friends telling me that they feel tired or weak or even lazy.

Why do we feel weak in spite of being at home and in our own comfort spaces. Does “tired”, “weak” and “lazy” mean the same thing or do they each have a different meaning? 

Let’s see what they really mean and why do we experience it!

Weakness is a lack of muscle strength, stamina and not being able to move the body or a part of the body properly. It could be a result of multiple factors. Usually, weakness is very confused with tiredness and people use these two terms together thinking that they mean the same. 

Tiredness or also known as fatigue is a feeling of exhaustion or the need to rest because of a drop in energy or loss of strength. 

Lethargy or known as laziness is a similar term but it means a state of sleepiness, inactivity or lack of energy which lead to people experiencing tiredness.

Is your head spinning or are you weak already after reading these confusing yet simple terms. Do not worry! Keep reading as we explain in simple terms the various aspects of weakness.

What are the Body Weakness Symptoms?

Body weakness is a term that people use in general to describe feelings of tiredness or loss of energy. It can happen either when you have done a lot of work or have walked for a long time or exerted too much during a physical activity. Some people experience weakness as soon as they wake up in the morning or sometime during the day and mostly in the evening or towards the end of the day. 

The symptoms are broadly of 3 types but they vary from person to person:

  • Full Body Weakness: This means that you feel weak or tired all over the body. It might be due to a fever or a long period of any medical condition (thyroid, diabetes, viral infection etc…).
  • Area Specific or Isolated Weakness: This type of weakness is observed in any specific area of the body (legs, hands etc…) where you might not be able to move that part very well. You may even experience muscle twitching or cramps or slow movements in that area. 
  • Sudden Weakness in Body: As the name suggests these symptoms might develop without much warning. These symptoms are not the direct symptoms of weakness but are a result of long periods of weakness due to a medical condition or any of the facts mentioned above. These symptoms can appear in any part of the body. Symptoms include dizziness, difficulty in speaking, problems in vision, chest pain, difficulty in breathing, lightheaded and tired feeling. Contact your doctor or go to the nearest emergency center if you feel it is worsening.
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What are the Causes Of Weakness?

We as humans are always curious to know or understand the “WHY” of any disease or symptom we experience. There can be several causes of weakness. Common causes of  weakness:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Fever
  • Poorly managed Diabetes
  • Thyroid condition
  • Heart Failure
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Certain medications (used to treat anxiety, HIV etc..)
  • Anemia
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Lack in physical activity
  • Decrease in muscle mass, bone density
  • Old age 
  • Alcoholism
  • Use of steroids

Not so common causes can be: 

  • Medication overdose
  • Cancer
  • Heart conditions like stroke or heart attack
  • Vitamin overdose
  • Disease affecting nerves or muscles
  • Injuries to the nerves or muscles

These are just some of the causes that could lead to weakness. As each of us have different body types and are unique in our own way, we might experience weakness due to some other reason. In any case never create your own ideas or self-diagnose but always get an expert’s opinion.

Did You Know?
The medical name for weakness is Asthenia. It is a Greek term where “a” means not and “sthenos” means strength/power. It roots from the word “asthenes” meaning weak.

Relation of Weakness and Diabetes

Weakness in diabetics can be due to these major reasons:

  1. High Blood Sugar Levels (hyperglycemia): which are caused by decreased amounts of insulin hormone or because the body is not responding to insulin.
  2. Low Blood Sugar Levels (hypoglycemia): which are caused either by not taking meals on time in the required amount or increase in Insulins units or diabetic medications. 

So in simple terms it is basically the changes in blood sugar levels that lead to sudden or long term weakness in diabetics. 

Other factors that can cause weakness in a diabetic are the stress caused by the thought of living with diabetes and effects of long standing high blood sugar levels in a person’s body. 

But weakness in a diabetic is never permanent. It is about managing it in the right way through a disciplined and healthy lifestyle.

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Treatment of Weakness

As we continue living an everyday-busy-lifestyle, we lookout for simple tips to overcome any problem. Here are some easy to follow methods that can be used for the treatment of weakness. 

  1. Eat Right: Eating in the right amount and at the right time is very important to keep ourselves energetic throughout the day. Having small, frequent and balanced meals by taking chapati, rice, pulses (dal) and vegetables (sabzi) with curd or milk in breakfast, lunch and dinner can reduce weakness. Further strength can be maintained by avoiding long meal gaps and having fruits, sprouts, boiled dal or egg whites or soups in mid meals. It is important to have enough protein and adequate calories everyday.
  1. Drink Plenty of Water: Dehydration can leave you feeling weak and drained. 10-12 glasses of regular water will reduce the weakness due to dehydration along with improving constipation and skin etc. You can also have other fluids like lemon water, buttermilk, milk or coconut water to keep your body hydrated. When your urine is light-colored, you can tell you are well hydrated.
  1. 8 Hours of Quality Sleep: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”. This popular saying will always remain a rule that we must follow even if times are changing. Proper sleep of 8 hours is very important to stay fresh and focused throughout the day. Sleeping and getting up at the same time everyday will lead you to follow a fixed sleep routine. This will help to lower down your tiredness and the weakness in the body. When you need extra sleep, go to bed earlier than usual.
  1. Deal with Stress: Feeling stressed and depressed for a long period of time can increase weakness and tiredness. For weakness due to stress, other than medications, you can try counselling, psycho social therapies or some deep breathing exercises, yoga and meditation. Sometimes taking a long walk on the beach or listening to your favourite music can really lift your mood. Deal with these problems with the right guidance and do not ignore them.
  1. Pause your Exercise for a While: Although regular exercise is a must, you should listen to your body. Rest whenever you feel weak more than usual. Slowly and day by day increasing your exercise may help decrease your weakness. Sometimes it’s better to take rest especially after a long day.
  1. Get Extra Rest: If you have a cold and it’s causing weakness, you might just need to do steam inhalation to clear out the mucous and rest for a few extra hours or if you are having weakness due to fever then you might need to rest for a few days to give your body enough time to regain strength.
  1. Supplements: If weakness is due to a vitamin deficiency like low Iron (low hemoglobin) or Vitamin B12 levels or a medical condition like thyroid disorder or changes in blood sugar and BP (blood pressure) levels, your doctor would give you supplements (multivitamins or multiminerals) along with required medicines which you would have to take for a while to improve weakness. It will provide the body with the nutrients which will solve the basic cause of weakness.
  1. Medications: Limit taking medicines that cause weakness like allergy and anxiety medications. They may cause you to feel tired and hence you might want to just sleep for a little longer.
  1. Addictions: Reducing intake of alcohol and other products containing caffeine and nicotine will help in reducing weakness. These factors disturb your sleep cycle by causing you to wake up tired or wake up just after a few hours of sleeping. Try limiting their usage week by week and along with a proper diet. You can reach out to us for guidance on a balanced diet here at Zyla Health.

Weakness is never a permanent state or feature. You can always be stronger by getting the right guidance and treatment. But what matters the most is that you must have a strong mind to come out of it. 

People generally lose confidence when they are physically weak but be sure to train your mind along with your body. A strong mind will always carry a weak body. It is all about putting efforts daily with lots of love and care.

“ With right mindset you can change your weakness into strengths”

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