Women have always worked hard. Aside from their families, their jobs, and household responsibilities, there are still other activities that a woman needs to attend to, making them feel tired. But, today, doctors say, women are exhausted. Married or single, with or without kids, working in an office, a laundry, or at home, it seems as true as ever that a woman's work is never done.
Fatigue is a common health complaint, especially among women. It is a state of overwhelming, sustained exhaustion, and decreased capacity for physical and mental work that is unrelieved by rest. Around 20% of Americans experienced excessive fatigue that is enough to interfere with their normal life. However, it is one of the hardest terms to define and a symptom of many different conditions.
Fatigue is often an early sign of a neurological or psychological illness. Debilitating fatigue can be an early sign and symptom of either multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease. Some studies show that eight out of ten patients with depression report fatigue.
Marianne Legato, a professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University, said in an interview that several conditions can make a woman chronically feel tired or experience excessive fatigue. Women who go on crash diets and don't get enough nutrition can feel lethargic. Reports say that high-fat and low-carb diets are the worst offenders. Foods that help boost energy include complex carbohydrates such as wholegrain bread, wholemeal rice and pasta, fish, lean meat, fruit, and vegetables.
Moreover, according to the Thyroid Foundation, there are approximately 14 million people in the U.S. who have underactive thyroids, and about 70 percent of them are women. Dr. Legato said that the most common type of thyroid disease is called “Hashimoto's thyroiditis.” This is an auto-immune condition, in which the person produces antibodies that have an immune response to the thyroid gland.
Excessive fatigue can also be a result of one of several reasons including anemia, chronic illness, infection, diabetes, medication effects, and depression.
Excessive fatigue could also indicate an impending heart attack in women, researchers say. A study looked at more than 500 women who had suffered heart attacks. About 70% had experienced unusually high levels of fatigue, and 48% had reported disturbed sleep for more than a month before their attack. The researchers said they studied women because they have higher death rates and higher rates of disease than men.
The study focused on women with an average age of 66 who had suffered a heart attack in the previous four to six months. They were asked if they had experienced any of 33 early signs which can precede heart attacks or any of 37 symptoms that can accompany one. The women were also asked about other health problems, risk factors, medication, and social backgrounds. About 95% of the women said they had experienced new or different symptoms more than a month before their heart attacks that did not continue afterward. Excessive fatigue is the most common symptom.
Tiredness as a symptom is important when it is severe or unusual. Women who are experiencing tiredness or excessive fatigue may be referred to a health care professional or other specialists for additional tests and a definitive diagnosis to help them lessen the load of the burden they've been going through.