6 Effects of Chronic Fatigue in Autoimmune Diseases

Wendy Henderson avatar

by Wendy Henderson |

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Autoimmune diseases and chronic fatigue go hand in hand, as anyone with lupus, scleroderma, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, IBD (and a host more) will testify. Chronic fatigue affects daily life and your ability to go about your business. It’s incredibly debilitating and yet, very misunderstood by those who don’t suffer from it.

We’ve put together a list of six of the most common effects of chronic fatigue that people with autoimmune disease experience with help from prevention.com.

1. It’s more than just being tired. 
Chronic fatigue is more than just needing an early night or feeling a bit under the weather, everything you do feels like it takes an enormous effort — even the littlest of things. While sleep helps, it doesn’t necessarily fix things or instantly give you more energy, in fact, some days all you can do is sleep.

2. You can’t sleep, or get enough sleep.
Even though you’re exhausted, you may still be unable to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. Disturbed sleep or poor quality sleep only compounds the problem of chronic fatigue so people feel trapped in a never-ending cycle.

3. You can’t concentrate.
Many people with autoimmune diseases will be familiar with “brain fog.” Being unable to concentrate or keep your mind on one thing is very common with chronic fatigue. Many find that they’re unable to think of the words they want to say when in conversation, they’re forgetful, or they’re easily distracted and unable to focus.

MORE: Seven tips for new caregivers for scleroderma patients

4. Physical activity is draining.
For many with chronic fatigue, even the mildest of physical activities can wipe them out. Walking up stairs, fetching groceries, or doing household chores can all make you feel like you’ve tried to climb Everest or run a marathon.

5. You’re dizzy and lack balance.
Extreme fatigue may affect a person’s sense of balance, particularly when they stand up from sitting or lying down. They may also find themselves unable to stand for long periods of time without feeling dizzy and needing to sit down.

6. You’re in more pain.
Autoimmune diseases usually mean pain for patients, but this pain can feel worse when you’re suffering from chronic fatigue. Feeling so worn out can intensify joint and muscle pain and lead to headaches and other symptoms.

MORE: Did you know about these seven tips to help manage your fatigue?

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