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News Letter

Home Health Education Living With Joint Pain
Fatigue Plays a Major Role in the Daily Life of Osteoarthritis Patients Print E-mail

Fatigue is a common arthritis symptom. Tasks taken for granted by healthy people require special attention for osteoarthritis sufferers. The extra effort needed for routine activities -- vacuuming, tying shoes, climbing stairs -- tires arthritis patients to a greater extent than it does healthy people.

Fatigue is a warning that you need rest. Without fatigue as an indicator, you would likely push yourself to do more and cause harm to your body and your joints.

Several factors cause fatigue in people with osteoarthritis:

  • Immune response. Fatigue is a known arthritis symptom and becomes a greater problem during flare-ups. Fatigue is a result of the body's reaction to substances released in the bloodstream by activated immune cells.
  • Interrupted sleep. The pain of osteoarthritis interrupts sleep patterns for many sufferers. One arthritis study revealed that more than half of the participants complained of interrupted sleep cycles.
  • Anemia. A low number of red blood cells and/or hemoglobin is common in people who have osteoarthritis. Anemia can cause fatigue.
  • Side-effects. Drowsiness is a side-effect of some arthritis medicines.

Rest is the best solution to coping with fatigue. Give yourself plenty of short breaks throughout the day to rejuvenate. Don't try to do too much - it is actually counterproductive. Listen to your body.

Don't use fatigue as an excuse to avoid exercise, though. People with arthritis can benefit greatly from even a little exercise. Talk with your doctor about the best exercises for your condition. The right exercises will strengthen muscles and help you face daily challenges more effectively and with greater flexibility.

Plan ahead. Pace yourself. Limit the number of strenuous activities. Prioritize activities and do the most important things when you are most energetic.


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