Written by Dr. Laurie on November 9, 2010
Fatigue. That nasty side effect of RA that comes without warning and can cancel your most anticipated plans.
It is the second most reported symptom in RA, second only to joint pain. 40-80 % of those who are diagnosed state that fatigue affects them in negative ways.
Where does it come from, and how can you deal effectively with it?
I’ll answer the second question first.
On November 16th at 7:30 our next CreakyJoints mentoring call is about sharing your best strategies for dealing with fatigue. That is an opportunity to share and learn methods for staying ahead of the tiredness that can come with the disease.
You can sign up by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll send you a call in number and a pin number to access the conversation. It will only last an hour, and I moderate the discussion. I know there will be lots of practical wisdom to share.
The question of what causes the fatigue is something researchers have been studying.
Some possible culprits were thought to be anemia or inflammation. Both of those theories have been disproved. While exhaustion happens in both of those conditions, RA fatigue does not appear to be related.
Other researchers have examined the role of sleep disturbance and depression. These studies show a correlation.
The recommendation of the UK researchers is that doctors and patients pay more attention to insomnia – whether it is caused by nighttime joint pain or other factors, such as worry or poor sleeping conditions.
It is also essential to attend to your mental health. Depression and fatigue go hand in hand. If you are depressed, you will experience that extreme tiredness – in fact, exhaustion is one of the primary symptoms that points to depression.
I have written about depression and RA before. It is suspected that as with many inflammatory illnesses, depression is a biochemical result of the illness. It is not your fault because of your worry or sadness about having the disease – rather it occurs because of the biological changes that are occurring with the illness.
The origins of the depression are not as important as taking yourself seriously and getting it treated.
Especially if you are tired and dragging through your day.
There is more on the topic of fatigue and RA on the site:
Plan to come to our Peer Mentoring call and share how you restore and renew and revive your tired body. Send an email to register and we’ll be back in touch with you.