If you have diabetes, then you are well aware how much of work goes into managing the disease. It is a demanding process which involves keeping a track of your blood glucose levels every day, watching the size of your food portion, being careful of your carbohydrate intake, tracking your insulin and medication doses, and at the same time making sure you are getting sufficient physical activity as well. While it could be due to such an overwhelming schedule or due to some other underlying factors of diabetes, it has been observed that diabetics tend to suffer from fatigue much more than people who do not have diabetes. In fact, fatigue is known to be the most common diabetes symptom and it is known to disrupt all aspects of a person's daily life. So how to fight diabetes fatigue? It is possible to overcome diabetes fatigue with certain simple tips. Let's take a look.

Advertisement

What is Diabetes Fatigue?

Diabetes fatigue is generally experienced by people having type 2 diabetes. Managing this kind of diabetes is known to be a taxing process and you start feeling tired all the time. Even doing daily activities and chores become difficult. Getting more sleep also is not the answer to dealing with this type of fatigue.

Studies have shown that type 2 diabetics experience extreme fatigue that often makes it difficult for them to function even. This type of extreme tiredness experienced by patients having type 2 diabetes is now referred to as diabetes fatigue. There are many causes of diabetes fatigue, though the most common cause is the fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Spikes in blood glucose levels make the person feel lethargic and sluggish. Even diabetes-related complications or medications can cause diabetes fatigue.

How to Fight Diabetes Fatigue?

What Causes Diabetes Fatigue?

Well, to begin with, the primary cause of diabetes fatigue is, of course, the spiking in blood sugar levels. High or low blood sugar levels can cause diabetes fatigue.

High blood sugar levels cause the blood to become 'sludgy'. This slows down the circulation of blood in the body, causing the cells to be deprived of sufficient oxygen and nutrients. Due to this, the person starts to feel sluggish and fatigued.

Advertisement

On the other hand, when you have low blood glucose levels, fatigue sets in because the cells lack sufficient energy to function properly.

High blood sugar levels also cause fatigue by giving rise to inflammation. When the blood vessels become inflamed due to the high levels of glucose, it causes immune cells known as monocytes to reach the brain, giving rise to fatigue.

Advertisement

While fluctuations in the levels of blood glucose are thought to be the primary cause of diabetes fatigue, there are certain other conditions and factors that also cause fatigue in diabetics.

Some other factors that are also observed in diabetics and cause fatigue include:

  • Insomnia
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Low levels of testosterone in men
  • Kidney failure
  • Inflammation
  • Depression
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Side effects of medication
  • Skipping meals
  • Poor nutrition
  • Lack of exercise or physical activity
  • Lack of proper social support
  • A poor lifestyle when you have diabetes is also a major reason for experiencing diabetes fatigue.

How to Fight Diabetes Fatigue?

Regular exercise is one of the most important factors in managing and preventing diabetes fatigue. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) advised people living with diabetes that they must indulge in a certain level of regular physical activity in order to manage their health and their blood glucose levels. The ADA recommends that people having diabetes should not be sitting for prolonged periods of time and instead should be doing some stretches or walking after every 30 minutes of sitting.

Fatigue indeed makes it difficult to stick with any exercise routine, but at the same time, exercise is also an important part of diabetes management.

Healthy lifestyle choices, having a social support system, as well as opting for mental health therapies, can help you deal with diabetes fatigue.

Healthy Lifestyle Choices

It is important that you have a healthy lifestyle if you have diabetes. Regular exercise, weight control, as well as having the proper nutrition, all these factors are crucial in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle will help increase your energy levels and also help you control any fluctuations in blood glucose.

In fact, a study done in 2012 has shown a strong relationship between fatigue in women having type 2 diabetes and a high body mass index (BMI).

Having Social Support

Having a social support is very important to deal with diabetes fatigue. A study conducted in 2013 found that adults having type 2 diabetes are able to deal with diabetes fatigue better if they have a proper social support system in place. Support from loved ones and family helps lower the levels of diabetes fatigue.

Therefore, make sure that you talk to your family and friends and keep them in the loop about your diabetes fatigue. Engaging in your hobbies with your friends and hanging out with your family members will help you get back your energy levels to get through the day.

Mental Health Therapies

It has been observed that depression is a common factor amongst many diabetes patients. People having diabetes are twice as likely to get depression and other mental health disorders. Biological changes or psychological changes over a period of time have been shown to cause such types of mental health issues.

If you are undergoing treatment for depression and taking medications for dealing with your condition, then it may be possible that your antidepressants are causing a disruption to your sleep patterns. In this condition, you should consult your doctor to change your medication to improve the quality of your sleep.

Regular physical activity is also known to increase the levels of the hormone serotonin that is known to help improve depression. Counseling with a therapist or a psychologist may also help your depression.

Conclusion

Diabetes fatigue is a worrying condition, particularly when it begins to interfere with your daily life and chores. You must consult your doctor if your fatigue starts to affect your daily life. It is important that diabetes fatigue is treated on time as there could be an underlying diabetes-related condition as well which is causing this fatigue.

Therefore, it is important to consult your doctor to get to the bottom of this. A healthier lifestyle and changes in medication may help improve your fatigue over a period of time.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: December 14, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

Advertisement

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

We'll help you live each day to the healthiest