5 Ways Arthritis Can Trigger Chronic Fatigue Symptoms

Fatigue is often used to describe a lack of motivation or energy. Unlike sleepiness, which is short-term, fatigue often persists even after you rest. It can be ongoing and debilitating enough to disrupt your daily activities and quality of life. In fact, untreated fatigue can make activities like doing the laundry, going to work, and shopping nearly impossible. Lawrenceville fatigue experts explain that most cases of fatigue are usually a symptom of an underlying condition rather than a disease in itself. Medical experts have long noted a connection between this symptom and autoimmune conditions like arthritis. Below, we look at five reasons you may be experiencing fatigue alongside other arthritis symptoms.

Chronic Pain

Many medical experts concur that fatigue in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) patients is primarily triggered by joint pain. Chronic joint pain and fatigue in arthritis patients share a vicious symbiotic relationship. When you deal with the debilitating pain for months on end, you can get weary and tired. You may sleep less and feel exhausted all the time. This exhaustion and lack of sleep, in turn, can worsen your pain and make it difficult to manage. This is why both problems should be addressed simultaneously.


Autoimmune diseases are characterized by a miscommunication in your immune system that causes it to attack your body. The result of this is inflammation, a process by which your body releases inflammatory proteins into the blood, causing pain and other symptoms. Inflammation can also result in fatigue, especially when it is chronic. Currently, experts are trying to better understand this connection but have found that treating inflammation in arthritis patients helps reduce fatigue.

Poor Sleep Quality

Insomnia and poor-quality sleep can trigger feelings of fatigue. This situation is common in arthritis patients whose sleep can be compromised by chronic pain. Due to swollen and sore joints, staying asleep or finding a comfortable position to sleep in can be challenging. This is why many arthritis patients toss and turn in bed, and in turn, feel fatigued during the day. Sleep apnea can also contribute to this. According to medical data, RA patients have a 75 percent higher risk of developing sleep apnea. This condition limits the amount of oxygen available to your body during sleep and causes uninterrupted sleep. Consequently, it can leave you feeling exhausted even after sleeping all night.

Medication Side Effects

Some arthritis medications can cause fatigue and drowsiness. Other drugs that can have the same effect include some disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), some prescription NSAIDs, narcotic pain relievers, blood pressure medication, and certain antidepressants. When these medications are included in your arthritis treatment plan, they can address your symptoms but inadvertently make you tired all the time. Corticosteroids, for instance, can make you drowsy during the day.


Anemia is a medical condition caused by a shortage of red blood cells in the body. The lack of sufficient RBCs means that your muscles receive less oxygen and nutrients than they need and, subsequently, get tired fast. This can cause fatigue, which is unfortunate because research shows that about 7 in every 10 RA patients have anemia.

Discuss Your Fatigue With A Physician

In addition to joint pain and reduced mobility, people with arthritis often have to contend with poor sleep quality and fatigue. The main cause of this is usually chronic pain and the inflammatory processes that cause it. However, other factors like depression and anemia can contribute to arthritis-related fatigue. This is why you should discuss your fatigue symptoms with a physician. The more information you give them about how it feels and the effect it has on your life, the easier it will be for them to identify and treat the problem. Schedule a consultation today to get started.

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