5 Under-the-radar illnesses that make you tired all the time

Feeling constantly tired can be frustrating and debilitating.

While common culprits like stress, poor sleep and overwork are often to blame, there are lesser-known medical conditions that can also lead to chronic fatigue. Here are five under-the-radar illnesses that might be causing your persistent tiredness:

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is complex disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that doesn’t improve with rest [1]. The exact cause is unknown, but it’s believed to involve a combination of factors, including viral infections, immune system problems and hormonal imbalances.

Symptoms include muscle pain, headaches and memory issues. Since there is no test for CFS, diagnosis often involves ruling out other conditions.

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a severe sleep disorder where breathing repeatedly stops and starts. The most common type, obstructive sleep apnea, occurs when throat muscles intermittently relax and block the airway during sleep. Symptoms include:

  • Loud snoring.
  • Episodes of breathing cessation during sleep.
  • Abrupt awakenings accompanied by gasping.
  • Daytime sleepiness.

Untreated sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart problems and type 2 diabetes.


Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, occurs when the thyroid gland produces insufficient thyroid hormones [2]. These hormones regulate the body’s energy use, and low levels can lead to fatigue, weight gain and depression.

Other symptoms include dry skin, hair loss and sensitivity to cold. Blood tests measuring thyroid hormone levels are used to diagnose hypothyroidism and it’s typically treated with hormone replacement therapy.


Diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes, is a common cause of fatigue. When blood sugar levels are consistently high, it can affect energy production and lead to feelings of exhaustion. Other symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst and urination, unexplained weight loss and blurred vision.

Managing diabetes involves lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise and medication to control blood sugar levels.


Depression is a mental health disorder that affects mood and overall energy levels. It’s more than just feeling sad; it can lead to persistent fatigue, even if you get enough sleep.

Other symptoms include loss of interest in activities, changes in appetite and feelings of hopelessness. Treatment for depression often involves a combination of medication and therapy.

Managing chronic fatigue

If you’re experiencing persistent fatigue, talking to a healthcare provider is vital. They can help determine if an underlying condition is the cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

In addition to medical treatment, lifestyle changes can also help manage fatigue:

  • Maintain a healthy diet: Eating balanced meals can help maintain steady energy levels.
  • Exercise regularly: Physical activity can boost energy and improve overall health.
  • Prioritize sleep: Ensure you’re getting enough quality sleep each night.
  • Manage stress: Techniques such as mindfulness, meditation and yoga can reduce stress and improve energy levels.

Chronic fatigue can be a symptom of various underlying health conditions [3]. By understanding these lesser-known illnesses and seeking appropriate medical care, individuals can find ways to manage their fatigue and improve their quality of life.

If you’re feeling constantly tired, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice to uncover the root cause and find effective treatments.

[1] https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/fatigue
[2] https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/thyroid-hypothyroidism#
[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557676/

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The information included in this article is for informational purposes only. The purpose of this webpage is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.