Diabetes and Fatigue

Sleepiness, weariness, tiredness or lethargy: Whatever word is used, it remains among the most common physical complaints from those who are diabetic, no matter if it is type 1 or type 2.

Diabetes is a great disruptor of energy supplies in the body. Glucose, after all, is the substance that supplies energy to cells, allowing them to do what they need to do.

Too much glucose in the bloodstream is a symptom that the cells are not accepting the glucose because of a lack of insulin. Too little glucose may be an indication that most available glucose has been used, and cells may be craving even more. Either way, the net effect is a diminished source of energy.

Additionally, other factors can cause fatigue in people who have diabetes.

Inflammation

There are a lot of comorbidities (simultaneously occurring diseases or disorders) with diabetes: obesity, cardiovascular disease, kidney and liver disease, thyroid problems, nervous system damage, and more. Most of these have the common symptom of inflammation.

When the body senses a threat – illness, injury or autoimmune disease – it responds with inflammation throughout the body as part of its immune response. Maintaining this response for an extended period of time, in an attempt to protect the body, is draining on the body's resources.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea often co-occurs with obesity. With excess fat around the neck, the throat tends to collapse when then patient relaxes. This closing of the throat, sometimes hundreds of times each night, blocks breathing. When this happens, the patient awakens, even if it is only for a second or two, until he or she starts breathing again. This constant interruption of sleep can cause a patient to fail to achieve certain deep levels of sleep, limiting rest. The person awakens groggy and often finds him or herself sleepy throughout the day.

Sleep apnea can be addressed by use of a cpap (continuous positive sir pressure) machine, which forces air, under pressure, into the throat continuously throughout the night, keeping airways open and preventing the constant waking that disturbs sleep patterns. Patients who use this machine report better wakefulness and more energy throughout the day.

Anemia

Another possible cause of exhaustion is anemia, which can often result from poor diet, or undiagnosed bleeding issues, like ulcers or gastritis. Regular monitoring by your physician, with testing of the blood, can address these possibilities.

Depression

Deep, ongoing fatigue is one of the symptoms of depression and certain other mood disorders. A diagnosis of diabetes can trigger depression in a lot of people. If you think you may be depressed, you should check with your doctor. There are very effective treatments available.

Exhaustion can limit activity with family, the ability to drive distances, and the ability to think clearly enough to get a job done. It is important to speak with your doctor about your tiredness, so that together you can come up with a diagnosis and treatment.

Sources: Diabetes Self Management and Diabetes UK

Get a Free Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to BattleDiabetes.com who, in addition to 3rd party partners, may contact you with updates, products and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy and terms and conditions.

More Articles

More Articles

Scientists have discovered that a single gene forms a common link between type 2 diabetes and...

Natural supplements like cinnamon extract and apple cider vinegar could hold the key to lowering blood sugar levels, according to a recent...

Natural supplements like cinnamon extract and apple cider vinegar could hold the key to lowering blood sugar levels, according to a recent...

Could a person's risk for type 2 diabetes be written in their genes?

According to a study recently published in ...

Women who frequently shift around their sleeping hours could have worse metabolic health outcomes than their peers who stick with a...

The presence of the hormone leptin may hinder prenatal development, which could explain the origin of type 2 diabetes, according to...

An analysis of fossilized Native American feces shows that our ancestors ate up to sixteen times the fiber that we do today, but our...

Managing diabetes is hugely challenging for people of any age, but a new study suggests that young people may suffer all the more....

Disruptions to the gut’s ecosystem could be a future symptom facing young children who take antibiotics, which makes them more susceptible...

Breastfeeding a newborn holds many benefits for mommy and baby; it reduces the baby's risk for colds and viruses, it helps his bones (and yours)...

Fans of the Dexcom G5 Mobile have something to smile about.

At yesterday's hearing with the U.S. Food and Drug...

If you start your day with a cup of tea and end it with a glass of red wine, your blood sugar may thank you.

At least that...

As medical experts continue to debate whether or not "healthy obesity" can even exist, one new study suggests that risk for heart disease...

For years, type 1 diabetics have been anxiously waiting for that medical marvel that can stop the constant injections: the artificial...

“Low-fat” has been the battle cry of the health-conscious for over ‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌...