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Diabetes and Fatigue: why am I so damn exhausted all the time?

Tired of being tired? There are several possible reasons why you might be feeling so exhausted.

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Do you feel tired all the time? Does it seem like no matter how much sleep you get, you just can’t seem to shake the fatigue?

If so, you’re not alone. Many people with diabetes report feeling fatigued regularly.

Fatigue is one of the most common complaints among people with diabetes.

There are several reasons why fatigue is such a prevalent problem for people with diabetes.

woman tired and exhausted with diabetes fatigue

First and foremost, managing diabetes can be exhausting. Constantly monitoring your blood sugar levels, taking insulin injections or using an insulin pump, and ensuring you’re eating healthy foods, and moving day in and day out can take its toll both physically and emotionally.

Additionally, certain diabetic medications can cause fatigue as a side effect. And finally, having chronically high blood sugar levels can also lead to feelings of lethargy and exhaustion.

Several things can be done to help improve your energy levels and help you feel better overall. In the meantime, learn more about what causes diabetes fatigue and ways you can manage it with your care team.

Defining diabetes and fatigue

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic medical condition that is marked by elevated levels of glucose in the bloodstream. It can cause two types of fatigue: General fatigue, which occurs when a person expends too much energy and needs to rest more; and diabetic fatigue which is caused by out-of-range blood sugars, medications, or other complications related to diabetes.

It can be challenging to differentiate between the two, as they may produce similar feelings of exhaustion or physical and mental lethargy.

Taking good care of yourself, from following your treatment plan to creating healthy lifestyle habits, can help reduce tiredness resulting from diabetes and provide greater long-term well-being.

Fatigue is an extremely common symptom of diabetes, and if you have this condition, it can often feel like a never-ending battle.

This fatigue can affect both physical and mental performance, leaving you feeling frustrated and overwhelmed.

The link between the two is complex; many researchers now believe that fatigue is partially caused by irregular blood sugar levels, as diabetes can make regulating these levels incredibly difficult.

Researchers also believe that a lack of insulin relative to the body’s needs may also shift the energy from carbohydrates to fat. When this occurs (once glycogen stores are exhausted), the ADP phosphorylation rate falls and ATP (the energy-carrying molecule found in the cells of all living things) resynthesis slows down. This process may explain the occurrence of fatigue in diabetes.

Additionally, long-term complications such as nerve damage or kidney disease associated with diabetes can contribute to feelings of exhaustion.

Seeking help from your doctor or a certified nutritionist is the best course of action.

They will be able to help you identify any nutritional deficiencies that may be exacerbating your fatigue while also recommending treatment and dietary modifications that help normalize your blood sugar readings.

Causes of fatigue for people with diabetes

Many people with diabetes find themselves dealing with chronic fatigue, a feeling of tiredness that won’t go away.

Unfortunately, there’s no one definitive cause for it, as several different factors can contribute.

High and low blood glucose levels can both lead to feeling more tired than usual, making fatigue a common symptom experienced by those with diabetes. Stress and depression from the burdens of managing diabetes daily may also leave people feeling exhausted.

In addition, life-altering complications such as diabetic neuropathy or cardiovascular issues may also be responsible for causing significant exhaustion – affecting both physical and mental health.

Experiencing diabetes-related fatigue can be frustrating and challenging to manage.

There are several effective ways to cope with this exhaustion and live a more balanced, energetic lifestyle.

First, it’s essential to have a proactive and comprehensive approach to managing diabetes by doing things like eating healthy meals and getting regular exercise and having a clear plan with your care team. That may include medication, talk therapy, or additional check-ins.

Additionally, scheduling regular rest periods throughout the day can help improve your stamina as it gives your body time to recover from physical and mental exertion.

Furthermore, don’t be afraid to reach out for support and proper guidance if needed. Talking about how you feel with a support group, friends or family members can give you the support system you need, while doctors or specialists might also be able to provide helpful, individually tailored advice.

Finally, try to make small lifestyle changes that fit into your daily routine such as going for walks outdoors or meditating for a few minutes each day – activities which will reduce stress levels and do wonders for boosting overall energy levels in the long run. Plus, they give your mind a much-needed rest.

When to see a doctor about fatigue and diabetes

Fatigue and diabetes can both be challenging to diagnose and manage. If you experience frequent or prolonged fatigue, you should keep track of those instances and talk with your doctor.

Similarly, if you are managing or recently diagnosed with diabetes and are experiencing significant fatigue, it is best to let your doctor know right away.

Your doctor will likely run lab tests to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms and may refer you to an endocrinologist who specializes in diabetes treatment if necessary.

It is important not to ignore any signs of fatigue related to diabetes because early detection and management can drastically improve outcomes.

Your health should always be a priority, so never hesitate to visit a doctor if you think it may help.

The bottom line on diabetes and fatigue

Living with diabetes can be exhausting. Between managing blood sugar levels, doctors’ appointments, and dietary restrictions, it’s no wonder that people with diabetes often experience fatigue.

Fatigue is a common symptom of diabetes, but it’s not something you have to live with. By understanding the link between fatigue and diabetes as well as some of the possible causes, you can take steps to manage your fatigue and improve your quality of life.

If you’re feeling exhausted or your fatigue is interfering with your daily activities, talk to your doctor. They can help you determine if other underlying medical conditions are causing your fatigue or offer suggestions for managing diabetes-related fatigue.

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About Mila

Hi! I'm Mila.

I’m earning my Master’s degree in Applied nutrition.

I’m a journalist and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach living with  LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults, a slow-progressing form of autoimmune Type 1 diabetes) I love food, travel, and my kitchen, and teaching you about diabetes self-management.

I’m here to help you live your best life possible diabetes by showing you how to create simple, blood-sugar friendly and delicious meals and tips on diabetes self-care.

Be sure to download my FREE Diabetes Community App Glucose Guide, or reach out for FREE 1:1 diabetes health and habit coaching.

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