Friday, April 19, 2024

Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Cause Extreme Fatigue

Doctors Agree On Fatigue Symptoms

Dr. Susan Bartlett on What Factors Contribute to Fatigue in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Sluggish, weary, lethargic – sometimes, these words arent enough to capture how RA fatigue makes us feel. The source of fatigue is even tougher to pinpoint. Is it tiredness? Maybe I didnt get enough sleep? Did I overdo myself a few days ago? Is it all in my head? But there is a bit of good news – your doctors are listening! Although its complicated for patients to describe fatigue, doctors recognize that fatigue is a bothersome symptom of RA.

Self Management Is Variable Professional Support Is Rare

Participants reported trying a variety of self-management strategies, particularly acceptance: âBut you got to accept that sometimes, and try and work around it, and work with it rather than just think âOh, Iâll battle through’ because I can make myself more fatigued and more tiredâ , adopting positive attitudes: âAnd I think it’s because I’ve got a positive attitude that I get through it, and I don’t go round complaining. I never say to my son, âOh, you know I feel dreadfulâ or âIâm tired.’ I just get on with itâ , and persistence: âI’m aware at the moment that I’m fighting it in that I’m working through itâ . Participants reported using specific actions to deal with fatigue, particularly pacing and rest: âI just do a little bit in the morning, then I’ll take a bit of a rest ⦠and then when I come back I’ll do whatever else needs to doâ . Occasionally they made a choice to carry on regardless and take the consequences: âOr you go out and do it all in one day. Go mad and suffer for about 3 days afterâ .

Psoriatic Arthritis: Flares And Fatigue

Psoriatic arthritis might cause fatigue in several ways. In part, the disease process itself may be to blame.

When you have psoriatic arthritis, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines. Those proteins trigger inflammation throughout your body a hallmark of the disease. Researchers believe the cytokines also cause fatigue, perhaps through several different pathways in your body.

Psoriatic arthritis symptoms come and go. Sometimes, they are relatively mild. Other times, the pain and swelling become significant. Those bad periods are known as flares. And when a flare occurs, fatigue often comes along for the ride.

You May Like: Symptoms Of Arthritis

Rest Before And After Particularly Active Days Whenever Possible

Its been 12 years since Creaky Joints volunteer Elisa C., 55, was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and making sure she has plenty of downtime before and after busy days is one of the habits that have helped her most in that time.

If Im going to have a fun day with my husband at the park, I know to plan several days for that, she tells SELF. For her, that can mean doing food prep in advance and freezing meals so that she doesnt use up too much energy cooking the day before her planned activity. She also plans on having a rest day filled with naps and just taking it easy, after her activity day, Elisa says.

Although you cant always anticipate every single event that pops up, this can be helpful to try whenever you make plans in advance. Or you can try to modify this by scheduling a quick 20-minute nap or fitting in a few rest breaks whenever possible in the days after a super-hectic time.

Causes Of Fatigue In Arthritis

Early Intensive Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis is ...

Inflammation, pain, inactivity and lifestyle factors can cause extreme tiredness when living with arthritis.

Everyone gets worn out from time to time. But exhaustion that disrupts your daily life and doesnt get better after a good nights sleep has its own medical term: fatigue. Fatigue significantly affects the quality of life for people with many forms of arthritis-related diseases, includingrheumatoid arthritis,psoriatic arthritis, spondyloarthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia andosteoarthritis. Your lack of energy may be caused by your inflammatory disease and other health conditions you have, as well asmedications side effectsand lifestyle habits.

Recommended Reading: Can You Have Arthritis Without Swelling

When To Get Medical Advice

See a GP if you think you have symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, so they can try to identify the underlying cause.

Diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis quickly is important, because early treatment can prevent it getting worse and reduce the risk of joint damage.

Find out more about diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis.

Strategies To Boost Your Energy

Any plan to fight fatigue begins with taking good care of yourself. Start with these tips to help you manage chronic RA fatigue and regain energy.

1. Talk to your doctor about controlling RA inflammation. You dont need to battle fatigue on your own working with your doctor to get any underlying RA-related inflammation under control can help significantly. Cytokines proteins produced by cells can amplify inflammation, which may have a direct influence on brain receptors to cause fatigue. So the first step is to work with your rheumatologist to get inflammation under control,” Ali says. “Medications that decrease inflammation often decrease fatigue.”

Also Check: Pain Relief For Arthritis In Hands

Role Of Inflammation In Pain

Pain has been investigated in animal models and humans. In animal models, pain could result from complex interactions between joint inflammation and altered pain processing: a peripheral mechanism and central mechanism , opiod expression in ganglia, central sensitization). Dopamine and serotonin systems are also involved in pain: COMT gene expression and polymorphisms of serotonin transporter genes were found associated with pain . Patients with RA showed production of peripheral pain agents, pro-inflammatory cytokines and nerve growth factor in synovium or synovial fluid, which sensitized peripheral receptors . TNF- injected in mouse joints induced persistent sensitization of nociception with noxious stimuli, with a dose-dependent effect, with prevention by injection of an anti-TNF agent . Endogenous opioids, somatostatin, lipid mediators and anti-inflammatory cytokines were also present in synovial tissue, but their roles remain to be determined. Central pain processing was increased in RA patients, with a change in neuronal adaptive response and increased activity of the thalamus, secondary sensory cortex and limbic system, which could be modulated by emotional processing or low mood . Proinflammatory cytokines could have a direct action on pain via sensory neurons or an indirect action via inflammatory mediators such as prostaglandins .

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Living And Dealing With Fatigue

Rheumatoid Arthritis Naturally: Tired of your RA fatigue?

People with rheumatoid arthritis typically have several permanently inflamed joints. The inflammation inside the body can lead to general physical weakness, drowsiness and exhaustion. This feeling of extreme tiredness is also called “.” Some people find this to be the worst symptom of the disease.

Other typical symptoms are joint pain and swelling, and also joint stiffness and physical weakness later on. Non-specific symptoms like exhaustion often start earlier on in the disease. But the symptoms and course of rheumatoid arthritis can vary greatly. People also deal with the disease in different ways. Although people experience their symptoms differently and cope with the disease in different ways, there are some things that many people with rheumatoid arthritis have in common.

Recommended Reading: Swollen Hot Finger Joint

Helping People Around You Understand Fatigue

Fatigue is a major symptom of many conditions, such as arthritis often its as much of a problem as pain and inflammation. But its an invisible symptom and a lot of people avoid talking about it because they think their family, friends and colleagues wont understand.

It can be stressful if you think people around you dont understand how youre feeling. Even when you explain, some people may struggle to realise how fatigue affects you and that it stops you doing certain activities. This can be frustrating and tiring and can put a big strain on your relationships. Getting help, support and understanding from the people around you can make a huge difference.

Good communication and explaining clearly and calmly how fatigue affects you is important to help others understand.

Its ok to say that you need help with tasks around the home.

Learning to say you cant do something or go somewhere because of the way it will affect you can help. It may also reassure people that sometimes you just dont feel up to socialising and its no reflection on their company.

If people ask for your help with something, remember its ok to say no. Its ok to put yourself first.

If you find it difficult to talk about your fatigue, you could ask people to read this information.

Other Sources Of Fatigue

Your fatigue is not always directly related to your arthritis disease activity, inflammation or pain. In fact according to a 2017 study published inCurrent Rheumatology Reports your fatigue level probably has more to do with other contributing factors, including obesity, physical inactivity, sleep disturbance and depression. Several of them may work together to cause your extreme tiredness, but identifying and treating even one of these factors can provide relief.

Managing Pain

You May Like: Arthritis Pain In Hands Relief

Are The Causes Of Ra

On balance, and based on the available evidence, it appears likely that the predictors of fatigue are not unique to RA populations. Rather, some of the most consistent candidates have been identified as predictors in other rheumatic diseases, such as osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia, as well as in a broader range of long-term medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis and cancer . Together, this points towards an as yet untested hypothesis that fatigue, its prognostic factors, and therefore its optimal treatment strategy, may be common across many long-term illnesses, irrespective of whether they have an inflammatory aetiology. Future studies may benefit from investigating this hypothesis with a view to developing generic fatigue interventions across a range of chronic conditions.

How To Report Fatigue To Your Doctor

Rheumatoid Arthritis Fatigue Symptoms

Patients should tell their providers exactly how chronic fatigue is disrupting their routine. Patients should be as specific as possible. For example:

I have trouble getting going in the morning

I used to cook my dinners but I dont anymore.

In addition to fatigue, patients should also identify excessive sleeping or sleeplessness. They should report if they have been told that they snore at night .

Keeping a diary, filling out a questionnaire , or using a phone app to record symptoms can help patients track fatigue levels and their changes over time. Patients can record fatigue at various times in the day to identify trends.

For example, a patient who has a high level of fatigue in the morning might have sleep issues. The more accurate patients can be in describing their fatigue, the easier it will be for doctors to assess and address it.

See Diagnosing Depression in People with Chronic Pain

Also Check: Can You Get Arthritis In Your Legs

Talking To Your Doctor About Fatigue

There are several things that can reduce the impact of fatigue. Firstly, it helps if you can work out what could be causing it.

There arent any specific tests for fatigue. However, you can help your doctors diagnosis by writing down how you feel, what could be causing it and how its affecting your life. They may also be able to provide you with a self-assessment questionnaire to fill out.

Depending on your symptoms your doctor may recommend you have blood tests to check your fatigue hasnt been caused by another condition. If it has been, treating this condition may improve your fatigue.

There arent any specific drug treatments for fatigue. However, your doctor, physiotherapist, occupational therapist or rheumatology team, should be able to help you recognise the signs and learn to manage them.

Why Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Cause Fatigue

The occurrence of fatigue can vary from person to person. It may last only a short time or a long time and it may be predictable with specific trigger or may strike at any time . Overall, it can be a sign of many different health problems. It also can be a consequence of chronic rheumatoid arthritis , how and why?

Fatigue is a common symptom in RA

It is a common cause that makes many people to visit their doctors. If you have RA and often complain about feeling of tiredness, you are not alone. Most sufferers with this chronic joint disease report that they experience fatigue.

Actually, it is a vague symptom, because there are so many people with lots of different medical conditions experience it. So, finding the cause is not always easy.

Moreover, it is also not easy to describe. In general, if you experience too low energy even though after a full nights rest, you may have it.

However, sometimes it is not only about the normal need of the body for rest! In other words, there are lots of factors attribute to fatigue.

Why and how does RA cause fatigue?

Various chronic conditions can lead to come and go symptoms. And in RA, the symptom like fatigue could be chronic or long-lasting. It also can become unwarranted since many times it is not preceded by certain trigger , and even sometimes it flares when the joints are not painful or feeling good!

Pain and poor function in the affected joints

Systemic inflammation

Poor sleep

Read Also: How To Stop Arthritis In Fingers

How Does Fatigue Change Your Life

Fatigue is different than normal feelings of tiredness. People describe it as being overwhelming and uncontrollable. They feel worn out and drained of energy, and sometimes even lose all interest in anything.

It can increase the need for sleep and make it hard to concentrate or do anything. Constantly feeling exhausted and not being able to maintain an active lifestyle can affect your mood too: Many people who have rheumatoid arthritis also feel depressed, irritable or anxious. These feelings can be hard for others to fully understand.

The severity of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms may vary a lot over time. This can make it difficult to plan ahead. You don’t know how you will feel the next day or whether the symptoms will get better or worse. This means that people with rheumatoid arthritis feel like they have lost control of their lives. If they are too exhausted, they may not have enough energy even for simple everyday activities or for playing with their children or grandchildren. Appointments may need to be rescheduled, and some people give up their favorite activities if they prove to be too demanding.

And at work it may be difficult to accept that you can’t do as much as you used to. You might need more breaks, or certain tasks might need to be reassigned.

What Causes Extreme Weakness And Tiredness

Physical Activity and Inflammatory Arthritis (RA, PsA, AS) 2: Flares, Pain, and Fatigue
  • |
  • Pages: 2
  • This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students’ samples.

It is normal to feel weak and tired after executing some strenuous activities either at home or in the office. Weakness, tiredness or exhaustion can occur when you have flu, cold, or a viral infection. But it is considered abnormal if you perpetually experience extreme weakness and tiredness. It may require you to confer with your doctor.

Extreme weakness is a form of lasting fatigue it is a protracted form of exhaustion. Extreme weakness and tiredness is an unexplained and persistent tiredness. Extreme weakness is similar to the feeling you get when you come down with the flu or when you have insufficient sleep.

Extreme weakness and tiredness is similar to symptoms experienced when you have chronic fat, or systemic exertion intolerance disease . When you are very weak and exhausted extremely, you may be incapable of being productive at the home front. In this article, we examined the possible causes of extreme weakness and tiredness and possible ways you can overcome them.

So, what causes extreme exhaustion? Extreme weakness and tiredness may be caused by some possible factors such as:

  • Anemia
  • Chronic kidney disease

Also Check: Is Vicks Vaporub Good For Arthritis

Get Help For Depression

Mood disorders like depression take a toll on energy levels, and they commonly occur in people with chronic pain conditions. In fact, research has shown that nearly three-quarters of those with RA were depressed.

Left untreated, depression may lead to more severe arthritis symptoms, including greater arthritis pain and fatigue. Other conditions, such as obesity, obstructive sleep apnea and anemia may also contribute to fatigue, adds Dr. Schiopu.

While depression, sleep disorders, and other factors could be linked to inflammatory arthritis, they may also be independent conditions that patients have, she says. Your doctor may screen for these and other conditions to find the root cause, and then determine the best treatment.

Tips For Getting A Hold Of Ra Fatigue

Talk with your healthcare provider about RA fatigue. They may be able to address other health issues that contribute to fatigue like:1

  • Review or adjust medications
  • Discuss medications like antidepressants that may help with physical tasks during the day
  • Discuss sleep aids that may help you get a good nights rest
  • Suggest lifestyle changes that may improve your energy such as manageable ways to maintain physical activity

You can:1

  • Make a to-do list and cross off the least important things
  • Find small ways to stay physically active
  • Maintain a balanced nutrition. Protein helps build strong muscles and complex carbs are great for energy
  • Check out CBT to cope with the impact of fatigue on mental health
  • If youre comfortable, talk to your employer about adjusting your hours
  • Ask for help from a friend or family member that you trust

* Top 2 box on a 7-pt. scaleThe 8th Annual RA In America survey was conducted online from April 6 to June 25, 2020. A total of 3,511 people completed the survey.

Don’t Miss: Best Remedy For Arthritis In Fingers

Check For Thyroid Issues

RA is, as you know, an autoimmune disease. People with an autoimmune condition are more likely to develop another autoimmune condition. One of those conditions that often pairs up with RA is thyroid disease, says Dr. Cappelli. Low thyroid activity, hypothyroidism, causesyou guessed itfatigue. Its reasonable to ask your doctor for a blood test to check for hypothyroidism, she says, even if you dont have some of the other symptoms of the condition, including weight gain, constipation, dizziness, muscle cramps, a hoarse voice, and dry, scaly skin.

Popular Articles
Related news