How Are Diabetes and Fatigue Related?
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Fatigue is often described as having low energy or feeling worn out. Fatigue can be mental, physical, or both. Having diabetes may contribute to feelings of fatigue. To learn more about fatigue and how it relates to diabetes, read on!

Links between fatigue and diabetes

A recent article from NewsNotes reviewed causes of fatigue and how they relate to diabetes:

  • Inadequate Sleep
    1. Not getting enough sleep can make you feel sluggish throughout the day, negatively impact blood sugar control, and increase your risk for other health conditions.
      1. For more information: Sleep Disorders
    2. How much sleep should you get?
      1. The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following:
        1. Adults, ages 26-64, should get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night.
        2. Adults, over the age of 65, should get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep night.
      2. Persistently elevated blood sugar levels can cause increased thirst and urination, both of which can be disruptive to your sleep.
      3. Could sleep apnea be the cause of poor sleep?
        1. If you are feeling fatigued along with having memory problems, mood changes or feeling irritable, you may have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea, a condition that interrupts your breathing during sleep, prevents you from getting a good night’s rest.
          1. To learn more: Sleep Apnea
  • Depression
    1. Depression is nearly twice as common in those with diabetes.
    2. A common symptom of depression is fatigue.
      1. To learn more about depression symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment: mental health
      2. Please speak with your physician if you think you might be depressed.
  • Taking on too much
    1. Are you taking on too much at work or home? Putting “too much on your plate” over time can take its toll, contributing to stress and poor blood sugar control.
      1. Stress increases the release of counter-regulatory hormones which oppose insulin, thus increasing blood sugar levels.
  • Excessive caffeine consumption
    1. Too much caffeine may cause you to have difficulty sleeping.
      1. According to the American Medical Association Council on Scientific Affairs “moderate caffeine consumption (about 400 mg of caffeine per day) is likely not harmful to your health as long as you have other good health habits.”
      2. Make sure that you speak with your physician about your caffeine consumption. Certain health conditions may warrant an avoidance of caffeine.
    2. Caffeine has also been linked to insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels.
      1. For more information: https://type2diabetes.com/nutrition/caffeine-blood-sugar-control/
  • Infection
    1. Having an infection can cause blood sugars to be elevated, and poor blood sugar control puts you at greater risk for developing an infection.
  • High blood sugar
    1. High blood sugar levels slow blood circulation so body cells may not get the oxygen they need. This can cause you to feel fatigued.
view references
  1. NewsNotes. (2016). Retrieved February 25, 2017, from http://www.childrensdiabetesfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/CDF_NewsNotes_Winter_2016_web-1.pdf
  2. Caffeine in the diet. (2017, February 7). Retrieved February 25, 2017, from MedlinePlus, https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002445.htm
  3. Foundation, N. S. (2017). How much sleep do we really need? Retrieved February 25, 2017, from National Sleep Foundation, https://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need
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