Is your fatigue a sign of illness?

Feeling a little drowsy in the afternoon or after a large meal is normal. But, when you wake up after...

Feeling a little drowsy in the afternoon or after a large meal is normal. But, when you wake up after a night of rest feeling like you haven't slept, have a foggy brain and have difficulty moving about, you may be experiencing fatigue.

This extreme form of exhaustion is often a warning sign of something bigger going on inside your body, according to the Mayo Clinic. It's best to call your physician for a checkup and discuss how you've been feeling. Here's a few medical and lifestyle concerns you might hear the doctor mention.

1. Legal and illegal drug use
Excessive consumption of alcohol, prescription medications or caffeine can make you feel lousy. Whether it's a side effect of a drug you need to take for health reasons, or a recreational drug, tell your doctor. Drug abuse is an illness.

2. Sedentary lifestyle
If you're very inactive, your body tends to shut down. Do you exercise? Do you move about often? If you're confined to a small space and only walk a few paces each day--say from the bedroom to the television in the living room--you're not doing your body any favors.

3. Mental health concerns
Fatigue is a common symptom of depression, anxiety and stress. Your doctor can recommend psychiatric care to help alleviate your discomfort. Or, maybe joining a group therapy program is the answer. Either way, your mental health deserves evaluation.

4. Severe illness
If you're fighting a chronic or life-altering illness, your body is working overtime. Fatigue is not uncommon among cancer patients, people with liver failure, diabetes or heart disease. People struggling with obesity and sleep apnea also experience bouts of fatigue.

5. Pregnancy
On the other end of the spectrum, signs of fatigue are an early indicator of pregnancy. Although becoming a mother is a wonderful venture, it's also very taxing on the body and can make you feel more tired and disoriented than usual.

Ready to get a professional opinion? Call a physician in Atlanta to make an appointment. Knowing what's causing your extreme exhaustion is just an evaluation away.

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