Fatigue can be described as a gradual feeling of tiredness that can be alleviated by rest. Fatigue is a common and nonspecific symptom that has various causes.
Fatigue can be divided into physical and mental fatigue. Physical fatigue is the temporary inability of a muscle to maintain the maximal physical performance while mental fatigue is the transient decrease in optimal cognitive performance.
Patients experiencing fatigue may appear to be lethargic or sleepy. Fatigue has been observed to contribute to accidents as it impacts a driver’s reaction time, attention, and awareness. Studies have shown that drowsy drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a road traffic accident. Drivers who have been awake for over 20 hours are thought to be equivalent to drivers who have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent. This article looks at 10 important causes of fatigue.
Cause #1: Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation occurs when there is inadequate or insufficient sleep. It can be an acute or chronic condition with varying levels of sleep deprivation. Chronic sleep deprivation can result in fatigue, clumsiness, daytime sleepiness, weight gain or weight loss, and a negative impact on cognitive functions.
Complete sleep deprivation is rare unless due to specific issues caused by surgery or fatal familial insomnia. However, brief episodes of microsleeps cannot be avoided. In animal models, long-term sleep deprivation can cause death. Other possible symptoms include aching muscles, headaches, malaise, and increased blood pressure.