Chronic fatigue: patients' experiences and solutions

Published Apr 15, 2019 • By Lee Ruiz

When you have a chronic disease it is common to be fatigued and to experience painful symptoms, severe side effects, and anxiety... Daily life can be difficult and lead to real exhaustion. We wanted to know more and allow Carenity members to express their opinions on this subject.

How do they perceive their fatigue and its causes? What solutions have they implemented? What is the role of the doctor? Read our article to find out what patients think! Also, identify and suggest new ways to fight chronic fatigue.

Chronic fatigue: patients' experiences and solutions

Fatigue that is both physical and mental

Let's start with an overview of the fatigue experienced by survey respondents.

88% - feel physically tired

73% - feel nervously tired

88% of our members feel physically tired. 73% also reported experiencing nervous and psychological exhaustion. The stress of diagnosis, waiting for each appointment, and the difficult administrative procedures can undermine patients' morale and energy.
On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 corresponding to extreme fatigue), patients rated their fatigue as 7. For them, the party responsible is clear: for 89% of respondents it is the disease; the disease plays a major role in their physical and psychological condition.

Symptoms of the disease are responsible for patient fatigue

We wanted to know more precisely what caused fatigue for those diagnosed with chronic diseases.

   83% - symptoms of the disease

   31% - side effects of treatments

   25% - social pressure

   22% - treatment

Our survey video!


The impact of fatigue on patients' daily lives

We wanted to know more precisely how fatigue impacted the daily lives of individuals with chronic diseases. For 98% of patients, fatigue has a strong impact on family and social life.

99% - social life

98% - family life

90% - intimate life

81% - professional life

All aspects of patients' daily lives are affected by chronic fatigue. Some members have even experienced embarrassing or dangerous situations because of their condition, for example, falling asleep at the wheel: "I refuse to go out if it takes more than 20 minutes to drive. One day, I was driving my child back to his internship and I was very, very scared." 

Solutions against chronic fatigue

Patients have tried to implement solutions to fight chronic fatigue. 62% have even discussed it with their general practitioner and 47% with another specialist. Our respondents took charge of their health, even though 42% of them did not benefit from the exchange with the doctor. 59% of the members occasionally or often use sleeping pills. Here are their other solutions:

   50% - more sleep

    30% - do less activities

   27% - energizing supplements and relaxing activities

   22% - a rich diet

What our members expect: more advice and alternative medicines

"In my opinion, health professionals should take this concern into account and possibly suggest elements that relax us and make it easier to fall asleep."

"It's up to me. I have to reduce my activities so that I can spread them out better over the week."

"Doctors should direct us towards alternative medicines or suggest taking supplements, herbal remedies etc.

"If the doctors could explain to me the cause of this fatigue, it would reassure me. Doctors and specialists could better take this fatigue into account and could try to find solutions".

"I don't think there is a solution, fatigue is an integral part of my illness."

"Listening and guidance to an appropriate professional, include in the care path of sophrology, acupuncture..."

"I think I need to better acknowledge my fatigue and actively work at reducing it as well as accept it. As my acceptance plays a large role in getting my head round the idea of working at improving it. Also speaking to someone who could possibly understand my fatigue would really help me."


How about you... Are you tired?

What is your solution against fatigue?

Survey of 2,862 Carenity members in France, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Germany and the United States in March 2019.

avatar Lee Ruiz

Author: Lee Ruiz, Community Manager USA

Lee is a Juris Doctor and Doctor of Physical Therapy. Now the Community Manager of Carenity US, he strongly believes that the platform has to be a haven and a tool for patients seeking information, advice or just a... >> Learn more


on 4/16/19

With auto immune ITP and hashimotos thyroiditis I can totally agree and relate to these findings !

on 4/16/19

I have metabolic disorder with insulin dependant diabetes 2 and renal and liver disease. Lately I have become so fatigued and weak I find it hard to do even the most mundane tasks. Even taking a shower is exhausting. I need to lose weight so lying in bed all day is not conducive to weight loss, yet a simple trip to my mailbox leaves me panting and having to lie down. I am afraid to take any kind of energy drink, food or supplement that may increase my appetite and drive my blood sugar up. What is the solution if there is one?

on 4/17/19

@BunnyT I would not recommend an energy drink - they are overall just not healthy from all I have read.

I too get fatigued and feel like I cannot focus because I am always in pain and exhausted from my mind focusing on the pain and me trying to get through the day.  I try to get around 7 - 8 hours of sleep, but I really need to get one of those sleep monitors to see if I am really getting that amount of sleep.

on 4/17/19
Some days are better than others. Today I did not get up except to get a bite to eat and potty. Yesterday I had a bit more energy. Thank God for my sweet fiance who usually fixes dinner and does the shopping. My daughter comes over and cleans for me. I just wish I could do more. Thanks for the advice on energy drinks.

on 4/18/19

 Thank you for sharing the results of the survey- they are very interesting to read and yes, I get fatigued from the overwhelming feeling of diabetes and its symptoms/nerve pain. To combat fatigue, I do try to get my rest, take melatonin to help me fall asleep and get good rest, do not consume alcohol, do not smoke, and try to consume health fats, such as fish oil and extra virgin oil that is California certified.

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