Feeling Constantly Fatigued? You Could Be Suffering From An Autoimmune Condition.

Ever wondered what fatigue is? Fatigue is something that prevents us from doing our everyday tasks. Fatigue is labeled as “profound,” “debilitating,” and “preventing those suffering from an autoimmune disease (AD) from doing the simplest everyday tasks. This has affected their mental and emotional well-being and their ability to work. While most AD patients have discussed their fatigue with their physicians, many have not found a treatment for fatigue.

What is an autoimmune disease?

Autoimmune disorders are conditions in which the immune system of your body mistakenly damages healthy cells. So, what are the types of autoimmune disorders? Autoimmune disorders include rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and some thyroid conditions. So, what causes autoimmune disease? Unfortunately, the exact cause of an autoimmune disease is not known.

Relation between Fatigue and Autoimmune Disorders

According to a new online survey of autoimmune disease patients conducted by the American Autoimmune Disease Related Diseases Association (AARDA), “The nation’s only not-for-profit autoimmune disease patient advocacy organization, to examine the connection between autoimmune disease and fatigue. AARDA released the findings of the survey of 7,838 AD patients at a national summit held to commemorate National Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.”

Other findings of the survey are as follows:

● Almost all (98 percent) AD patients surveyed report they suffer from fatigue.

● Nine-in-10 (89 percent) say it is a “major issue” for them and six-in-10 (59 percent) say it is “probably the most debilitating symptom of having an AD.”

● More than two-thirds (68 percent) say their “fatigue is anything but normal. It is profound and prevents [them] from doing the simplest everyday tasks.”

● While nearly nine-in-10 (87 percent) report they have discussed their fatigue with their doctor, six in 10 (59 percent) say they have not been prescribed or suggested treatment by their doctors.

● Seven-in-10 (70 percent) believe others judge them negatively because of their fatigue.

● Three-quarters (75 percent) say their fatigue has impacted their ability to work; nearly four-in-10 (37 percent) say they are in financial distress because of it; one in five (21 percent) say it has caused them to lose their jobs; while the same number (21 percent) report they have filed for disability as a result of their fatigue.

● Fatigue impacts nearly every aspect of AD patients’ lives including overall quality of life (89 percent), career/ability to work (78 percent), romantic (78 percent), family (74 percent), and professional relationships (65 percent) and their self-esteem (69 percent), among others.

How Fatigue affects autoimmune disorder patients?

Virginia T. Ladd, President, and Executive Director of AARDA says, “In this busy, busy world, it’s normal to be tired, but the kind of fatigue autoimmune disease patients suffer from is anything but normal. The overwhelming response AARDA received to this survey shows without a shadow of a doubt that fatigue is not a ‘fuzzy’ symptom, it is real. Yet, for too long, it has been ignored and/or misunderstood by the medical community and the public at large. It’s time we bring more research funding to this issue to advance understanding and effective treatments for fatigue.”

Fatigue and its impact on mental health

The survey also revealed that fatigue has a significant impact on AD patients’ mental and emotional well-being. They say it has resulted in increased emotional distress (88 percent), a sense of isolation (76 percent), anxiety (72 percent), and depression (69 percent).

According to one AD patient, “It’s difficult for other people to understand our ongoing fatigue when it can’t be seen by them. It is so hard just trying to get others to really, really understand how very tired you are sometimes — even our own doctors do not understand. One wonders if even our doctors may think we are for the most part just mental cases and/or whiners.”

Story Source:

Materials provided by American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA). Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Page Citation:

American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA). “Profound, debiliating fatigue found to be a major issue for autoimmune disease patients in new national survey.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 March 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150323105245.htm>.

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