Fatigue is often dismissed as a lack of energy, but it’s a symptom that can quickly become debilitating. This extreme feeling of weakness and/or tiredness affects everyone differently and has a number of causes. Sometimes the explanation is simple, like not getting enough sleep. On the other hand, fatigue that’s occurring frequently could be a symptom of more serious health concerns. For seniors, ongoing fatigue or weakness is often associated with the latter—making it important to remain cautious and consult with a medical professional when experiencing any new, sudden feelings of fatigue. That said, here are some of the most common causes of fatigue in older adults:
Chronic Medical Conditions
Ongoing fatigue in seniors can be caused by chronic conditions, making it important to monitor and report any new symptoms of weakness and exhaustion to your care team. Some common underlying health conditions that can contribute to fatigue in older adults include:
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Liver disease
- Thyroid disease
- Sleep apnea
Untreated or Long-Term Pain
Living with chronic pain can be exhausting, and fatigue is one of its many side effects. Understanding the root of this long-term pain can help you better manage its symptoms. In older adults, back, neck, and joint pain is common—typically caused by fibromyalgia, arthritis, or injury.
Anemia is common in older adults, affecting around 10% of people age 65 and older. This condition occurs when the body doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to tissues, making you feel dizzy, tired, and weak. Anemia’s prevalence increases with age, but it’s typically caused by underlying health conditions and iron deficiencies.
Severe dehydration is more than a mild inconvenience. Since our bodies are mostly made up of water, when we don’t have enough in our systems, it can cause many problems—including fatigue and weakness.
Dehydration in older adults is much more common and is typically caused by medications (like diuretics and blood pressure meds) and/or weakened kidney function.
Low On Energy? Get Care at Home
If left untreated, the underlying cause of your persistent fatigue may go undetected. So, when you’re feeling overly tired, it is best to consult a medical professional as soon as you can. DispatchHealth can help you find the root cause of your ongoing fatigue or weakness. Our on-demand service focuses on bringing personalized, same-day medical care to your home, helping you receive comprehensive medical attention without the stress of arranging for transportation or waiting in a germy room. We treat a wide range of serious conditions, and we’re in-network with most insurances.
DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies.
Sources referenced in this article: