Q: I am tired all of the time. Why?

A: I am continuing my series on medical problems that cause fatigue. This is the first of several thoughts on the subject. Today, I will discuss three medical causes of fatigue and things to look for. The first is congestive heart failure (CHF). This is caused by your heart not being strong enough to pump the blood your body needs. Your body tries hard to compensate for this, and many times people do not know they have the problem until it is advanced. In the early stages of CHF, it is common to feel tired and fatigue is common. You may also be short of breath or have palpitations. The second medical cause is COPD, or chronic lung disease. It is caused by damage to the lungs over many years, usually from smoking. Breathing chemical fumes, dust, and air pollution over a long period of time is also a cause. Less air reaches the lungs and can make you short of breath. Early signs are a cough that will not go away, and sometimes mucus that comes up when you cough, shortness of breath that gets worse with activity, and fatigue is also a common complaint. The third condition that can cause fatigue is sleep apnea. This is where you stop breathing for 10 seconds or longer during sleep. This is due to blocked airways in your nose or throat. Your airway can become blocked when your throat muscles and tongue relax during sleep. This causes loud snoring, daytime fatigue, poor sleep, and daytime sleepiness. We will discuss more causes, next week.

Dr. Rick Casey

Questions can be submitted directly to the providers, called in to Mercy Clinic at 417/876-5851 or submitted through their new App mymercy.net.

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