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"Why am I feeling so very tired all the time, even after a good night's sleep?"

ZocdocAnswersWhy am I feeling so very tired all the time, even after a good night's sleep?


I am a 78 year old woman in good health. About 2 months ago I began to feel very tired, physically and mentally. I can't seem to get going in the morning, and don't have the energy to do anything but sit. I have always been very active and enthusiastic toward the many projects and volunteer groups I am involved with. I think my nutrition is okay. Could this be some kind of infection?


The list of causes of fatigue is long and diverse, but your primary care doctor can help you figure out the cause and eventually feel better. To address your specific question, the chances of an infection causing overall fatigue for two months without causing other systemic symptoms such as fever, chills, etc is very low. Your doctor can check basic blood work to rule out some organic causes for fatigue, such as low thyroid hormone level and a low blood count (anemia). Low thyroid function may also be associated with cold intolerance, weight gain and constipation, among other symptoms. He or she can also address the possibility of depression with a simple series of questions; depression is a very common (and under-diagnosed) problem affecting the older population and is one of the most frequent causes of fatigue. Your sleep habits and nutrition can be reviewed to make sure that these are not contributing.

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