Tiredness: what can it be? See when to seek medical help

It is very common to hear people complaining about tiredness. In reality, it seems that we are all constantly feeling overwhelmed and sometimes unwilling.

However, there is a difference between feeling tired after an exhausting day or week and feeling that way constantly – which can be a sign of other problems. Thus, it is important to pay attention to messages from the body to know when it is time to seek help.

We have separated some information that can help to understand about the different types of tiredness, when to worry about this problem and what forms of treatment. Check out:


Tiredness: what types?

When we talk about tiredness, we usually think of a feeling of physical exhaustion – which is quite common. However, there are other ways to feel tired.

Many people need treatment in order to improve mental and psychological fatigue , for example. In addition, it is also common for some to experience respiratory tiredness due to sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical fitness.

Understand better how this sensation can manifest itself in different areas:

Mental (psychological)

Mental exhaustion (or fatigue ) is more than just a feeling of fatigue or stress normal routine. It is characterized by chronic tiredness and intense feelings of frustration and disability – yet, it is usually related to other emotional problems.

Symptoms of this problem include:

  • Insomnia;
  • Intense feelings of frustration and inability;
  • Nervousness;
  • Discouragement;
  • Anguish and worries for no reason;
  • Anxiety;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Decreased libido.

As you can see from these examples, despite the fatigue in this case mainly affecting psychological factors (causing discouragement, lack of motivation, distress), it also affects the physical side through changes in sleep or appetite – for example.

Therefore, such signals should not be ignored. It is necessary to seek professional follow-up in order to carry out the timely treatment for the case individually.


As the name suggests, respiratory tiredness is characterized by difficulty in breathing normally. It is common for people to experience fatigue, wheezing and even chest pain.

This discomfort (called dyspnea ) can be caused by physical, emotional issues (such as anxiety attacks ), environmental situations (climate change), social situations (pressure at work, constraints, etc.), physical inactivity or respiratory diseases ( asthma , bronchitis , etc. ).

Considering that different factors can cause this type of tiredness, it is important to pay attention to the appearance and frequency of symptoms and, if necessary, seek professional help.


Certainly everyone has experienced physical exhaustion at some point, especially due to day-to-day issues – such as a very intense routine, physical exercise or sleepless nights.

However, in addition to these usual issues, some health problems can cause the feeling of physical exhaustion. Like:

Thus, fatigue may simply indicate that the person is overworked and needs more time to rest. On the other hand, it can also be an indication of diseases, including those related to mental health .

This reinforces the need to pay attention to the symptoms that your body presents and, when it persists, seek medical help to diagnose the real cause of this discomfort.

What is baby tiredness?

Adults tend to experience exhaustion after performing certain activities, having a long day at work or a sleepless night, for example. Babies and even children can get tired of doing even the usual routine things.

Especially babies tend to get tired simply by staying awake for a certain period – time that usually varies with age, as a newborn tends to be less awake than a 5-month-old baby, for example.

At first, it can be difficult for parents to understand when their child is tired and needs to sleep, since their only form of communication is crying and some signs.

Of course, every baby is unique and has different signs of tiredness, but here are some things he can do that are common:

  • Reduce movement and activity;
  • Be more and more quiet;
  • Losing interest in people, toys and games;
  • Relax the jaw, chin and mouth (with a “droopy look”);
  • Crying and showing greater irritability or agitation;
  • To yawn.

These are signs of normal baby tiredness . However, there are cases in which the child may present other forms of fatigue – such as respiratory, for example. Which usually lacks professional help.

How to know if the baby has respiratory tiredness?

All people who have difficulty breathing tend to show signs that the body is not getting enough oxygen or that there is some discomfort. It is no different with babies, with the exception of the fact that they cannot communicate this directly, which makes the perception of parents indispensable.

To find out if the baby has respiratory tiredness, it is possible to observe symptoms such as:

  • Clogged (clogged) nose – the child tends to breathe through the mouth more often than usual. Not infrequently this leads to difficulties in breastfeeding or eating due to discomfort in breathing;
  • Increased number of breaths per minute – the baby may have a short, very fast breath;
  • Nose wing flap – occurs when the nose edge moves outward and inward (imitating wing), that is, the baby is trying to pull the air with a lot of effort;
  • Muscle retraction – can occur just below the neck (so that the region sinks during inspiration) or in the intercostal region (muscles between the ribs with a sign of effort);
  • Lack of respiratory synchrony – looking at the child’s abdomen, it will be possible to notice a “seesaw” movement in the breath, so that the chest and belly show a lack of synchrony;
  • Wheezing – a sound or “hiss” that seems to come out of the child’s chest when he breathes, which may indicate that the air passages are narrow.

All of these are signs that the baby may be having difficulties with oxygenation. Which can be caused by issues such as climate change, external agents (such as dust) or even in the course of some disease.

Considering that respiratory conditions tend to worsen more quickly in children, when you notice any of the listed changes, see a doctor.

Exaggerated tiredness: what can it be?

There is no harm in feeling tired from time to time or after doing some activities. However, it is not normal to have a constant or exaggerated feeling of tiredness, especially if you are not doing anything to feel that way.

Contrary to what some people think, this excessive tiredness is not always a sign that we simply need a rest. Sometimes, it can be indicative of complications or diseases such as:

  • Hormonal dysregulation – usually diagnosed by blood tests, often involves thyroid hormones (especially in women);
  • Anemia – can also cause drowsiness and discouragement;
  • Allergies – when we have an allergic reaction, they cause inflammation in our body, which tends to make the body “slower” and increase the feeling of tiredness;
  • Depression – excessive sleep, constant feeling of tiredness and difficulty in performing usual tasks, are some of the main symptoms of this disorder;
  • Heart disease – when there are small (or large) changes, the heart may have difficulty sending blood to the entire body. This factor can lead to tiredness and recurrent dizziness;
  • Diabetes – glucose does not reach cells properly, so people may feel less energized and feel more fatigued.

Therefore, do not ignore the signs that your body may be showing. If you have this exhaustion in an intense and recurrent way, see a doctor to be sure about what is causing this problem!

Tiredness: when to worry?

As we have seen, tiredness can be triggered by different factors (lack of rest, excessive activities, illnesses, etc.). In addition, it can also affect the individual in different ways, affecting both the physical and mental side.

In general, it is always necessary to worry when something out of the ordinary is happening in our body. Especially if it affects our performance and willingness to do things that are part of everyday life.

Therefore, it is necessary to be attentive and seek medical help if necessary. We have separated some of the symptoms associated with tiredness and which may be a sign of some disorders:

Tiredness and joint pain

When tiredness is accompanied by joint pain, it can be associated with factors such as physical inactivity, obesity , rheumatic diseases and chronic diseases (such as fibromyalgia , for example).

Of course, sometimes, the problem may be simply linked to excessive physical activity or awkwardness. However, if this is not the case and the discomfort persists, it is necessary to seek professional monitoring.

Not only in order to eliminate these symptoms, but in order to treat the conditions that are causing them.

Tiredness with despondency and sleep

As we have seen, sometimes tiredness can be psychological or mental, associated with physical problems such as drowsiness.

Discouragement and excessive tiredness are among the main symptoms of depression , for example. A mental illness that affects millions of people worldwide and that requires clinical follow-up.

However, discouragement can also be due to some hormonal changes , such as the decrease in serotonin – known as the “happiness hormone”, but which also regulates functions such as sleep, appetite, mood, intellectual functions, etc.

Tiredness and shortness of breath

Tiredness can also be of the respiratory type, which consequently causes physical fatigue due to low oxygenation. In addition to the difficulty in breathing (dyspnoea), discomfort such as chest pain (which may indicate heart failure) can occur.

Dyspnea can be associated with emotional problems (such as anxiety), physical inactivity or mainly respiratory diseases (asthma, bronchitis, some allergies, etc.).

However, some habits can also influence the appearance of these symptoms together, such as smoking , for example.

Tiredness and weakness

Tiredness and weakness can even be confused. However, they are different things, since feeling weak is usually linked to pain or difficulty in performing certain activities. Fatigue, on the other hand, makes the person feel unmotivated and unable to do them.

However, when these symptoms appear together, it can be a sign of some illnesses such as anemia – a condition in which there is not enough healthy red blood cells or a full functioning of them.

It is also normal for people to experience dizziness , pallor, shortness of breath and other symptoms.

Tiredness and willingness to lie down

It is normal that when feeling very exhausted, the person just wants to lie down without doing anything else. However, it is necessary to identify what is causing this tiredness.

That is, if it is something that is related to daily activities (such as work overload) or if there is no apparent cause. As we have seen, some illnesses can trigger this type of unusual and unreasonable discouragement.

This is the case for some disorders that affect mental health, such as depression. It can lead to other discomforts such as lack of appetite, anxiety, agitation, anguish, etc.

Extreme tiredness: which doctor to look for?

Considering the fact that tiredness can be a symptom of different disorders, when seeking medical help you can initially choose a specialist of the general clinical type.

This (a) professional can make an initial diagnosis and, when necessary, refer the patient to other specialties – such as pneumology, rheumatology, endocrinology, etc.

However, if what you feel is mainly linked to factors that affect your mental health (discouragement, psychological exhaustion, etc.), it would be opportune to seek a psychologist.

How to treat exaggerated tiredness?

The treatment for tiredness will vary according to each problem, since in general it appears as a symptom of some diseases or disorders. Therefore, when performing treatment for such issue, consequently there will be improvement in tiredness.

However, some things can help to avoid exhaustion and / or improve the feeling of well-being, mood and disposition:

  • Carry out leisure activities;
  • Maintain a healthy diet (replacing important nutrients);
  • Practice physical exercises;
  • Have quality sleep;
  • Decrease the time of use of electronics (cell phone, television, computer).

These factors will directly influence the functioning of your body and mind. In this sense, such practices can help to avoid or reduce the feeling of exhaustion (physical or psychological).

However, remember that sometimes drug therapies or psychological counseling are needed to treat the illness that is causing tiredness. So, do not hesitate to seek professional assistance from the persistence or worsening of symptoms!