Feeling tired every now and again is perfectly normal, but some people struggle with constant fatigue that seriously impacts their lives. Furthermore, this problem can get worse as we age. Remember, there are different factors at play that can cause a lack of energy. So, first, I recommend discussing anything that concerns you with your doctor. In the meantime, here are some of the reasons why fatigue can get worse as we age.
Increased Stress Levels
As we get older, stress levels can increase considerably, especially if there have been big changes like moving, death, illness, or financial problems. In high doses, stress triggers the release of cortisol – your ‘stress hormone’, which has negative effects on the body if it’s constant. This alone can leave us feeling exhausted.
Higher stress levels can also contribute to mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Mental health issues tend to go undiagnosed in older people because they can be masters at caring for others and ignoring their own needs. So, if you constantly feel tired, consider finding ways to reduce your stress.
Changes To Hormones
As we get older, our body chemistry changes and hormone levels reduce or increase. Testosterone decreases are common in men and women, while estrogen is the primary hormone women can become deficient in. Menopause can affect the levels of all hormones and definitely cause fatigue, mood issues, and even painful headaches. Any one of these symptoms is worth noting as a contributor to fatigue later in life. I went to a hormone specialist several years ago to get answers about my symptoms. They recommended that I attempt to reduce fatigue with testosterone replacement therapy as well as estrogen and progesterone. Though this is an option, it is not for everyone and can cause unwanted symptoms as well.
Reduced Physical Fitness
As we age, fitness levels can decline if we don’t sustain physical activity levels. This can cause day-to-day tasks to be harder, giving a reason to not do as much. You can easily see that this creates a cycle of inactivity.
Weaker muscles, stiff joints, and poor blood flow to the hands and feet are also some of the reasons why physical tasks become more challenging as you age. You may also notice that it takes longer for you to recover from an illness or injury than it did when you were younger and this can all contribute to fatigue. But if you fit in regular exercise to stay healthy, you will notice a knock-on effect on your energy levels.
Medication Side Effects
Consider that some medications and OTC drugs can actually cause fatigue. As you get older and possibly face more health challenges, you could need more medication. But don’t assume this is the reason behind your tiredness, so ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information. If something isn’t agreeing with you, there might be other options that have fewer side effects.