What is fatigue?
Fatigue is the feeling of extreme tiredness or exhaustion, often
involving muscle weakness, that can result in difficulty performing
How does fatigue make you feel?
It affects everyone differently. For example, it can make you
feel very tired, with no energy. All you want to do is sleep, &
everyday tasks become too much. Fatigue may be accompanied by pain,
irritability, or a loss of concentration.
What causes fatigue in lupus?
No one knows, yet it is one of the most common symptoms of lupus.
Some scientists believe that fatigue is the body's response to cytokines
that are produced in many cells of the body, but it's not known
why the body responds in this way or what the cytokines do to cause
the body to respond by being fatigued. Fatigue can be due to
lupus symptoms & the effects of lupus on the body. Things such
as depression, & overdoing things can exacerbate the fatigue
a lupus patient already suffers from.
Does the fatigue ever go away?
Even when the lupus is treated, & your antibodies are normal,
& your disease is in remission, the fatigue can persist.
Are there any medical treatments for fatigue?
Currently, there are no specific medical treatments that can improve
fatigue. However, there are several drugs in development that appear
to have some success in helping with fatigue. These drugs include
male hormones, which probably work by inhibiting certain cytokines,
& therefore, reduce the fatigue. Some lupus patients find that
corticosteroids help. However, it is unlikely that an overall effective
treatment will be found until the cause of the disease is better
How can I deal with fatigue?
Try to analyze what causes your fatigue to worsen, e.g. depression;
pain; anaemia; muscle weakness; emotional stress; not eating properly;
not enough sleep; overdoing things. Are there any of these things
that you can change? For example, if overdoing things worsens your
fatigue, then try slowing down & not doing so much at once.
Pace yourself. Do a heavy task, then a light task, etc. Delegate
- let somebody else do certain tasks, & don't be afraid to ask
for help.. Learn your body's signs of getting tired. Take breaks
during or between tasks, before you get too tired. When your lupus
is more active, take longer & more frequent rests.