Sudden, extreme fatigue can occur due to various medical conditions, including diabetes, depression, and fibromyalgia. Treatment varies depending on the cause.

This article explores what triggers extreme fatigue, their treatment options, and the lifestyle changes that people can make to feel less tired.

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A person can feel sudden, extreme fatigue for several reasons.


Allergies result from the body’s immune system overreacting to allergens, such as pollen, pets, and foods.

Some people may experience a runny nose, itching, rashes, and breathing problems due to allergies.

When people come into contact with an allergen, the body releases the chemical histamine to fight it off. This causes the symptoms of an allergic reaction, which can include sudden tiredness.


The following treatments may help a person with allergies:

  • avoiding contact with allergens
  • taking medication, such as antihistamines or steroids
  • allergen-specific immunotherapy


Depression is a mood disorder that causes feelings of sadness and disinterest.

The condition is due to a disturbance in the central nervous system, which causes neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, to not function as they would normally.

Depression can cause extreme fatigue in several ways.

A 2015 study found that participants who experienced fatigue had a higher level of pain, depression, difficulty sleeping, and anxiety.

This suggests that people with more severe depression symptoms are more likely to experience fatigue.


Some research supports the following treatments for fatigue and depression:


Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder.

Scientists do not currently know why some people develop this condition, although studies suggest that genes play a part.

Fibromyalgia causes people to perceive pain as being greater than the discomfort that people without this disorder experience.

One of the symptoms of fibromyalgia is chronic fatigue. People are more likely to experience this fatigue when they wake up in the morning, but this can also occur in the mid-afternoon.

Periods of inactivity and activity can increase this tiredness, and it may disturb sleep, causing people to wake up feeling unrefreshed.


Treatment options for fibromyalgia include the following:

  • aerobic physical activity of 30 minutes, three times a week
  • antidepressant medications, such as duloxetine
  • physical therapy and psychotherapy
  • alternative therapies, such as tai chi, yoga, and acupuncture

Heart disease

Heart disease refers to four different conditions:

People may not show any symptoms of heart disease. For example, a person may have a silent, unnoticeable ischemic attack.

Other symptoms of heart disease include:

  • chest pain
  • weakness in the limbs and arms
  • facial drooping
  • cough and shortness of breath

Women are more likely to experience fatigue as a symptom of heart disease. People with chronic heart disease are also more likely to experience fatigue.

Symptoms become worse the longer a person has heart disease due to plaque building up in the arteries, narrowing and hardening them.


Treatment options for heart disease include the following:

  • Statins and aspirin may help prevent stroke and other complications of heart disease.
  • Making sure cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose are at normal levels.
  • Quitting smoking, following a healthful diet, and taking up physical activity may help prevent complications.


Arthritis, particularly rheumatoid arthritis (RA), can trigger fatigue.

RA causes people to have swollen and painful joints, joint stiffness, and a feeling of physical weakness.

People can experience fatigue early on in RA, or not at all. Symptoms are a result of a dysfunction of the immune system.

People who develop RA are likely to be genetically predisposed to this condition. Environmental factors, such as smoking, can also increase the risk.


Treatment options for arthritis include the following:

  • physical activity, physical therapy, and acupuncture
  • anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids
  • disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition where the upper airway does not function correctly during sleep.

This leads to snoring and disturbed sleep. People with apnea may also stop breathing due to this obstruction for 10 or more seconds.

People are more likely to have sleep apnea if they have obesity, consume alcohol or sedatives, or smoke.

Because this condition causes disturbed sleep, people are likely to wake up tired. They may also experience fatigue during the day.

Other symptoms of sleep apnea include memory problems, a sore throat, and a decrease in sex drive.


Treatments for arthritis include:

  • using a continuous positive airway pressure machine
  • chin straps or devices that keep the tongue in place may reduce snoring
  • eating a healthful, balanced diet and exercising
  • avoiding alcohol before bed
  • sleeping on the side rather than on the stomach or back


Diabetes is a long-term health condition that affects how efficiently the body turns food into energy.

When a person eats food, their pancreas releases insulin, which allows blood sugar into the cells so the body can use it for energy.

In type 1 diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.

Fatigue is a common symptom of diabetes.

Researchers believe that a lack of insulin makes the body rely on fat instead of carbohydrates for energy. This causes chemical changes that may lead to an increase in fatigue.

It is also possible that people may experience psychological fatigue.

Researchers believe that the inability to manage diabetes without medication may lead to a sense of fatigue. When people experience fatigue, they are less likely to manage their condition. This can lead to a cycle of tiredness and distress.


The treatment options for diabetes include:

Lifestyle changes may help people feel less tired during the day. These adjustments include:

  • keeping a fatigue diary to note tiredness patterns
  • exercising regularly
  • avoiding napping for more than 30 minutes
  • quitting smoking
  • asking for help if they feel overwhelmed

People should see a doctor if they think their fatigue is a symptom of an underlying condition.

A person should also speak with a medical professional if their fatigue stops them from participating in normal daily activities, or negatively impacts their life.

A doctor can share management tips, diagnose any underlying conditions, and suggest treatment plans.

The best way to prevent fatigue, aside from treating and managing underlying conditions, is to ensure people practice good sleep hygiene.

Some tips for a good night’s sleep include:

  • sleeping with a regular schedule
  • relaxing before bed
  • avoiding using electronic devices in the bedroom
  • keeping the bedroom at a comfortable temperature and using low lighting in the evenings
  • exercising during the day
  • avoiding eating large meals before bed and drinking caffeine in the afternoon and evening

Fatigue, or extreme tiredness, can be due to several conditions.

It can stop people from participating in their normal daily activities. However, by treating or managing this symptom, people may go on to live normal lives.

A doctor can recommend lifestyle changes and medical treatments to manage the conditions that trigger fatigue.