Fatigue is a symptom that can sometimes occur in people diagnosed with diabetes.

What causes fatigue

There are a number potential causes of fatigue, some these include:

  • Diabetes
  • Celiac disease
  • Depression
  • Illness
  • Anemia
  • Underactive thyroid

When to see your doctor

If you are repeatedly suffering tiredness through the day over an extended period of time, it’s important to see your doctor to assess the cause.

You should also see your doctor if you have other symptoms of diabetes as well.

Fatigue and high sugar levels

If you have diabetes and have high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia), your body may be struggling to get glucose from your blood into cells. After some time this can lead to feelings of fatigue.

If you take insulin and self-adjust your doses, you have the option of taking additional insulin as long as you don’t risk your sugar levels going too low.

The other option is to walk off high sugar levels which can help to reduce feelings of fatigue. Other exercise can also help, although note that if exercise includes a short burst of activity, such as sprinting, this can sometimes raise sugar levels.

Arrange to see your doctor if you cannot adequately control your blood glucose or if your fatigue is persistent.

Fatigue and low sugar levels

If you take insulin, or tablets such as sulfonylureas or prandial glucose regulators, it is important to be aware that fatigue can be a sign of hypoglycemia.

Resting without treating hypoglycemia can become dangerous, so it’s advisable to test your blood glucose levels if you feel fatigue during the day, as well as before going to bed.

Fatigue despite sleeping well

If you have diabetes you may feel fatigue despite having slept for a normal length of time if you had either high or low blood glucose levels over night.

If you are feeling fatigue unrelated to glucose levels during the day, it may be worthwhile testing your blood glucose during the night to check whether they’re normal.