9 Signs Your Tiredness May Be Caused By An Underlying Medical Condition

Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Feeling exhausted all the time is basically a rite of passage for adulthood, and it's no wonder why: between waking up early, working all day, attempting to be active, maybe trying to keep your home clean, and trying to have some sort of social life, it feels like there's barely any time left over for sleep. Everyone is tired all the time, and everyone likes to complain about it. So if that's the case, then how are you supposed to know when your exhaustion is actually a sign of something more serious? Feeling sleepy no matter what isn't always just the mark of too many responsibilities — sometimes there are actually signs your tiredness may be caused by an underlying medical condition that is worth looking into.

Fatigue is a symptom of basically every illness out there, from the common cold to something life-threatening. Figuring out whether your inability to keep your eyes open is grounds for a doctor visit or not can be confusing, which is why you should know the other things you should be looking out for. Of course, feeling extra sleepy doesn't always mean there's something wrong with your health, but if this is a feeling that won't go away no matter what, there could be something more pressing going on with your body. Below are a few signs that your tiredness could actually be part of an underlying medical condition you never even knew you had. These are worth looking into if you notice the other symptoms — but if you don't, don't panic. Maybe you actually do just need some extra rest. Let's find out:


You're Exhausted Even When You Get The Right Amount Of Sleep

Think about how much sleep you get compared to how exhausted you feel. If you're sleeping a full seven to nine hours a night, yet you still feel completely shot the next day, that could definitely be a sign that something more serious is going on. This is probably the biggest symptom of chronic fatigue symptom (CFS), a serious illness that can leave you feeling exhausted no matter how much sleep you get. Track your sleep and your feelings for at least a week to see if this seems like it could be you. If it does, see a doctor. Unfortunately, experts still don't know enough about CFS, but it's definitely worth speaking to a professional about.


Even Simple Tasks Feel Impossible

When you're really tired, doing pretty much anything can feel tough. You'll probably feel that kind of overwhelming exhaustion if you're sick, if you barely got any sleep the night before, or if you're jet-lagged. But if you feel this sluggish all the time, no matter how much sleep you get, that's a problem. This is another very common symptom of CFS — those effected often notice a big lack of activity and motivation to really do anything. If you can barely walk somewhere without feeling exhausted or you find that even just picking up a few clothes leaves you ready for a nap, there's something going on.


You Feel Achy Quite Often

As you get older, you'll notice that you feel achy more often for seemingly no reason. However, feeling achy and tired all the time should never be the norm. If you feel that way, you should see a doctor, as it can be a sign of so many different things. Feeling achy is a common symptom of CFS, as many patients experience headaches and muscle soreness.


It's Been Months Of Exhaustion That Doesn't End

Think about how long you've been feeling tired enough to look up an article like this one. Has it been simply as few days, or more like weeks or months? If you feel like the exhaustion is never-ending, it could mean something more serious is going on, and that could range from anything to CFS to another serious illness. Jot down any other symptoms you're having and see a doctor.


Your Brain Feels Foggy

You know when you only get a few hours of sleep and you find that, the next day, you can't concentrate at all? Brain fog is common with a lack of sleep, but if you feel that fogginess and exhaustion constantly, no matter what, it's a sign something else is going on. This is another big symptom of CFS, but it could also mean you're depressed. One of the most common symptoms of depression is exhaustion — in fact, people often don't realize they're depressed until they see a doctor for exhaustion.


You're Really, Really Thirsty

If you've noticed that, along with being tired all the time, you're also thirsty all the time, you may want to consider seeing a doctor. Both of these could be symptoms of diabetes — in fact, fatigue is often the first symptom of diabetes that people notice. Another common symptom to look out for is frequent urination.


People Always Complain About Your Snoring

Sometimes snoring is just annoying — and sometimes it's the sign of an underlying medical condition. Does anyone you sleep near complain about how loud you are while you're sleeping? If so, you could potentially have sleep apnea, which is a disorder that causes shallow breathing and extended pauses in breathing during sleep. Those pauses can often result in snoring or coughing. Even if you don't realize it, that's disrupting your sleep and keeping you from getting deep shut-eye, which can make you feel tired no matter what.


You Feel Light-Headed A Lot

If you always feel very sleepy and pretty light-headed, you might have adrenal insufficiency, a common endocrine disorder that has fatigue has one of its biggest symptoms. With adrenal insufficiency, adrenal glands don't work well and your body doesn't make enough cortisol. This can leave you feeling tired and light-headed, and can also come with weight loss, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and hyperpigmentation.


You Feel Dizzy And Get Headaches

If you feel like you're always tired, and you also usually feel dizzy with headaches, you could be anemic. Anemia is a condition where the blood doesn't have enough red blood cells, and it can lead to serious fatigue. It can also cause heavy periods, feeling cold all the time, brittle nails, and a racing heart.