People get tired at one point or another. There is no cause for alarm when you feel really tired after a long day at work. You go to sleep wake up energized and ready for the new day. However, when you feel tired all the time even if you do no strenuous or exhausting activities, then that should be a cause for alarm.
To understand this condition, it is important to define lethargic or its root condition, lethargy. The lethargic medical definition is a condition that is characterized by frequent and unexplained fatigue. There is no exhausting activity required in order to feel fatigue when a person is lethargic.
The act of waking up and doing ordinary chores is already exhausting for someone who is feeling lethargic. The tiredness and the inability to perform mundane tasks can lead to feelings of embarrassment and frustration as well as the emotional and psychological aspects of lethargy.
What is lethargic condition? This condition can become a serious and life-threatening illness. It is best to be educated early about the definition of this condition and what dangers that it can pose to the body.
What does lethargic mean?
To answer the question, “What does the word lethargic mean?”, the etymology behind the word comes from the Latin word lethargia, which was passed down from the Greek word lethargos. Health professionals who study lethargic define it in health terms as a very serious condition.
The lethargic definition can be described as weakness in the body. The definition lethargic can also be simply described as feeling tired all the time. The meaning of lethargic is also included as a type of sleeping disorder.
Being lethargic means that medical attention should be taken immediately. The definition for lethargic includes these words to describe the same feelings that a person has with lethargic symptoms – a state of drowsiness that one cannot fight off even with caffeine or energy drinks. The definition of lethargic describes these symptoms which are normally the result of overexertion like over-fatigue from work or lack of sleep.
A person experiencing extreme stress will also experience the onset of symptoms associated with being lethargic. Many people feel lethargic after eating. Age is also not a factor since it is possible to have a lethargic baby. Baby lethargic symptoms should also be treated by a doctor immediately.
Why Do I Feel So Lethargic?
You may often ask yourself, “Why do I feel lethargic?” Chronic fatigue is normally treated with ample rest and nutrition. Fatigue is a manifestation of the lack of certain nutrients in the body, so replenishing the body with those necessary vitamins and minerals should be able to address the feeling of tiredness.
In addition, taking time off work can temporarily eliminate stress from the body and allow a person to recover from constant stress at work. Besides de-stressing and getting enough rest, eating the right kinds of foods will also contribute to the elimination of lethargic symptoms and guide the body to recovery.
However, lethargy becomes a problem when it is not alleviated with proper rest and self-care techniques. Prolonged lethargy needs to be addressed because of the symptoms that come with tiredness.
An episode of lethargicness also comes with symptoms like depression, apathy, and the lack of a will to do things. This is dangerous since apathy comes with the lack of concern for oneself and others and can lead to destructive behavior. Depression is also another cause of suicide as well.
If the lethargic depression is allowed to continue for a longer time, it poses a danger not only to the persons afflicted, but also to the people around them.
Identifying the Cause of Lethargy
There are many causes of lethargic behavior. While only a physician is qualified to make the right diagnosis, one can make an educated guess on what is causing the fatigue. It is suggested to see at what times of the day the person becomes lethargically tired. The pattern is very important for both the individual and the physician because it can help with the diagnosis.
An episode of lethargy that starts a few minutes or a couple of hours after waking up in the morning and persists until the afternoon can be treated as a sign that the person lacks sleep. This type of lethargy is usually treated by getting enough rest and sleep. However, if the lethargy does not disappear after self-treatment, the symptoms could be manifestations of a more serious condition.
The individual should take the time to go to a physician for diagnosis and get help for proper treatment. Time is important. Lethargy is a result of not only stress and fatigue. This condition is also linked to several serious diseases. Without proper diagnosis and treatment, an individual risks the possibility of these diseases worsening and reaching a terminal stage since no treatment was undertaken to eliminate these ailments from the body.
Different Diseases Linked to Lethargy
Persistent lethargy is actually a manifestation of different conditions. A physician will be able to make a diagnosis of what the condition actually is by observing the different symptoms that accompany the feeling of fatigue.
For instance, chronic fatigue can be a symptom of a condition in the thyroid gland. The gland may not be producing enough of the hormones that it is supposed to secrete in the bloodstream which leads to a reduced body function including lack of energy. Aside from chronic fatigue, this condition exhibits symptoms like sensitivity to very low temperatures, dryness in the skin, cases of constipation, and an unexplained gain in body weight.
On the other hand, lethargy is also a symptom of problems in both the heart and lungs. In this case, a person not only feels inexplicably tired but may also experience difficulties in breathing. They will also feel shortness of breath even when doing normal tasks like going up the stairs and walking short distances.
The diseases that are linked to lethargy are actually numerous. Malnutrition is one associated disease since it is caused by insufficient nutrients in the body. Anemia is also commonly linked to long-term lethargic behavior and so is diabetes. Sleep disorders contribute to chronic fatigue and lethargy.
Other diseases considered to be the cause of lethargic symptoms are kidney disease, cancer, problems with the thyroid, and various other types of infections. Medication and exposure to toxins in the environment can also cause the onset of lethargy and fatigue.
Environmental and Social Factors that Can Lead to Lethargy
Even a perfectly healthy individual can succumb and develop symptoms of lethargy. This is a result of factors within their environment and their peer groups.
Work-related fatigue is a prime culprit in the development of individual cases of lethargy. This in turn is caused by extreme stress in the workplace. The body’s normal reaction to stress that is above normal levels is to pump more adrenaline into the body. When the body experiences an overdose of adrenaline, an individual becomes more alert and experiences extreme anxiety; which is one of the catalysts for extreme lethargy to set in.
Problems with eating can also lead to lethargy. The causes of eating disorders are more social than physical and they are related to the stress associated with the pressures to fit into the norms of society. More often than not, eating disorders are also coupled with emotional symptoms like depression and sadness. When the body is not receiving the nutrients that it needs, fatigue can set in and lead to lethargic conditions.
Abusing the body using drugs, consuming too much alcohol, or living a sedentary lifestyle can also cause symptoms of lethargy. These contributing factors can lead the way to more serious illnesses that can be life-threatening if left to progress further.
What Extreme Lethargy Can Do
When a person experiences lethargic episodes that persist for weeks or even months at a time, he or she will start exhibiting other symptoms that can be dangerous for the body if they are not subjected to proper treatment immediately.
Chronic fatigue and lethargy can contribute to serious heart and lung conditions. In addition to shortness of breath, a person may also feel symptoms like abnormal heart rates. The heart may beat too fast and that will bring about difficulties in breathing.
As the body struggles to keep up with the abnormal heart rates and rhythms, an individual may also experience massive chest pains. Breathing may also be difficult and can produce a wheezing sound. Dizziness is not an uncommon symptom of fatigue as well.
Persistent lethargy also produces psychological responses in addition to the physical symptoms. Extreme anxiety is a common manifestation of this condition. The affected individual will have difficulty concentrating on tasks at hand and will continually worry about concerns that are non-existent.
Since lethargy can lead to depression and apathy, lethargic individuals will experience a loss in appetite. Because they do not eat normally, some affected people will exhibit extreme weight loss. In other cases, depression and apathy can lead to emotional eating and will result in extreme weight gain.
Lethargy becomes a very serious case when a person experience these manifestations: extreme loss of hair, unexplained and recurring fever, dryness and other changes in the skin, extreme thirst, myalgia, or pain in the muscles and skeletal system, and general weakness in the muscular system.
Other symptoms to watch out for are changes in the person’s habits in excreting waste from the body. Lethargy may even cause a person to not urinate at all which indicates a serious situation in the kidneys. Other serious physical manifestations of lethargy include cardiac palpitations, recurrent fever that is 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, unexplained and sudden problems in eyesight, passing blood in vomit or stools, and extreme pain.
Extreme lethargy is not expressed exclusively by physical symptoms. There are also psychological and emotional effects of the condition for the affected individual. These effects are more dangerous because they can also affect people in the immediate vicinity. These symptoms are predominantly caused by the depression associated with lethargy that comes along with fatigue and tiredness.
Extremely lethargic individuals may engage in behavior that can be described as irrational and may exhibit behavior that is opposite to the person’s personality as his or her peers are accustomed to. They may also exhibit suicidal tendencies and may even attempt to kill themselves in some cases.
Lethargic individuals may also be unresponsive to stimuli from their environment or they may become extremely alert and can suffer from paranoia and extreme anxiety. In other cases, they may suddenly lose consciousness.
When a person is observed to show symptoms of extreme lethargy, it is best to call emergency services or 911. These manifestations are life-threatening and should be addressed by medical experts as soon as possible. If left untreated, this condition can lead to a variety of problems.
If lethargy is connected to bodily infection or cancer treatment, the condition can hasten the development of both the infection and cancer. Women can also suffer abnormal menstrual patterns and may even lead to infertility. Heart, kidney, and lung diseases can also progress uncontrollably if lethargy is kept unchecked. A person can also suffer psychologically and can result in isolation and withdrawal from society. Depression and suicidal tendencies will also worsen without professional help.
Lethargy is a problem that requires action not only from the individual suffering the condition, but also from the people around them. A physician can also prescribe the necessary medication and refer the patient to the right therapy and experts However, the emotional and psychological aspects of the condition requires patience and support from the person’s friends, family, and colleagues.