Many diabetics would describe themselves as feeling weary, lazy or drained sometimes. It may be a result of hard work, stress, or deficient night’s sleep. Yet, it may also be associated with having too high or too low sugar levels. Regular fatigue, predominantly tiredness following meals, is a common sign of diabetes.
What causes diabetics to be weary?
Two common causes for weariness or lethargy are having too high or too low blood glucose levels. Fatigue occurs because of a disproportion between one’s level of blood sugar and the amount of circulating insulin. If a person feels exhausted during the day, in spite of having slept well, it might be a result of either high or low glucose levels. Test the blood sugar levels to see whether fatigue is certainly because of high or low glucose levels. This is chiefly important for individuals on insulin.
Fatigue and high blood glucose levels
Blood sugar levels go high when there is either inadequate insulin. This typically occurs in the case of type 1 diabetes. And, in type 2, insulin does not work effectively enough. To offer a person with energy, there is a need of insulin. It moves sugar from blood into body cells for energy. When there is not sufficient insulin, or the insulin fails to work effectively, it implies the glucose in the blood fails to get into the cells. And, thus body cells do not receive the energy they require. Consequently, people feel tired.
Managing fatigue and high blood glucose after meals
If high sugar levels follow by fatigue after meals, it might indicate:
- The carb a person is consuming is too rapid acting for the drug to manage.
- A person is consuming too much carbs for the medication/dosage.
- The medicine/dosage is not strong enough.
- A person must only alter the drug dosage only after the doctor’s approval.
Putting on weight is a common sign of raised insulin levels. Individuals who are obese and experiencing fatigue because of high sugar levels might battle tiredness. This is because of decreased carb consumption. A doctor or dietitian must help a person to lower the blood sugar levels. At the same time, a person can attain a healthy weight.
Fatigue and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels)
When blood sugar levels are low, the body functions like a car running out of fuel. Except a person is capable of adding more fuel, the car would rapidly come to a jerky stop. Similarly, when blood glucose levels are low, more carbs are required. They offer body with the energy it needs. If a person is regularly suffering low blood glucose levels, the dosage of medicine might be too high. For individuals on insulin, hypoglycemia may also take place. In case when insulin injections are given (or boluses) too soon prior to eating.
Fatigue upon waking
If fatigue occurs upon waking after a full night’s sleep, it may be due to too high or too low blood glucose levels overnight. Fatigue followed by a headache in the morning may often indicate an overnight hypo in individuals using insulin.
Managing morning tiredness
If a person is regularly fatigued in the morning, despite having had a full night’s sleep, testing the glucose levels upon waking is must. It helps in noticing whether fatigue associates with the blood glucose. Some individuals may also wish to wake during the night to test their blood sugar levels. This helps in seeing whether they are experiencing high or low blood sugar overnight. Blood glucose levels might vary overnight. And, a doctor or diabetes specialist must advise if the glucose levels are causing any issues.
Underlying health problems and diabetic complications are added factors that adds to fatigue. When people have a history of type 2 diabetes for a long time, they may develop damage in their kidneys, heart, and liver. Fatigue may also result due to abnormalities in these organs. When fatigue is a concern, screening for anemia is also done. Anemia does not result due to diabetes, yet it often occurs in diabetics. It is a common cause of fatigue. Also, checking of thyroid hormone level is also done. Diabetics are at increased risk for thyroid ailments, particularly hypothyroidism. An inactive thyroid in combination with diabetes can be another cause. Fatigue might be a side effect in few individuals. In particular, medicines to control blood pressure like beta blockers.
To lessen fatigue and risk of other signs, it’s vital to discuss with the health care team. They make sure that diabetes and any co-morbid conditions are well-managed. Diabetes care includes making healthy lifestyle choices. Individuals with a healthy lifestyle tends to feel well. These may include:
- exercising every day
- eating well
- drinking a lot of water and,
- consuming medicines properly.
Also read:- Are you getting sufficient sleep