Chronic fatigue: patients' experiences and solutions
Published 15 Apr 2019 • By Josephine O'Brien
When you have a chronic disease it is common to be tired, have painful symptoms, severe side effects, anxiety... Daily life can be difficult and lead to real exhaustion. We wanted to know more and allow Carenity members to express their opinions on this subject. How do they perceive their fatigue and its causes? What solutions have they implemented? What is the role of the doctor? Read our article to find out what patients think, identify and suggest new ways to fight chronic fatigue.
Fatigue that is both physical and mental
Let's start with an overview of the fatigue experienced by survey respondents.
88% - physically tired
73% - nervously tired
88% of our members feel physically tired. 73% also reported experiencing nervous and psychological exhaustion. The stress of diagnosis, waiting for each appointment and the difficult administrative procedures can undermine patients' morale and energy.
On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 corresponding to extreme fatigue), patients rated their fatigue as 7. For them, the person responsible is clear: for 89% of respondents, the disease plays a major role in their condition.
Symptoms of the disease are responsible for patient fatigue
We wanted to know more precisely what caused fatigue for patients with chronic diseases.
83% - symptoms of the disease
31% - side effects of treatments
25% - social pressure
22% - treatment
Our survey video!
The impact of fatigue on patients' daily lives
We wanted to know more precisely what caused fatigue for patients with chronic diseases. For 98% of patients, fatigue has a strong impact on family and social life.
99% - social life
98% - family life
90% - intimate life
81% - professional life
All aspects of patients' daily lives are affected by chronic fatigue. Some members have even experienced embarrassing or dangerous situations because of their condition, falling asleep at the wheel, for example: "I refuse to go out if it takes more than 20 minutes to drive. One day, I was driving my child back to his internship and I was very, very scared."
Solutions against chronic fatigue
Patients have tried to implement solutions to fight chronic fatigue. 62% have even discussed it with their general practitioner and 47% with another specialist. Our respondents took charge of their health, even though 42% of them did not benefit from the exchange with the doctor. 59% of the members occasionally or often use sleeping pills. Here are their other solutions:
50% - more sleep
30% - do less activities
27% - energizing, food supplements and relaxing activities
22% - a rich diet
What our members expect: more advice and alternative medicines
"In my opinion, health professionals should take this concern into account and possibly suggest elements that relax us and make it easier to fall asleep."
"It's up to me. I have to reduce my activities so that I can spread them out better over the week."
"Doctors should direct us towards alternative medicines or suggest taking food supplements, herbal remedies etc."
"If the doctors could explain to me the cause of this fatigue, it would reassure me. Doctors and specialists could better take this fatigue into account and could try to find solutions".
"I don't think there is a solution, fatigue is an integral part of my illness."
"Listening and guidance to an appropriate professional, include in the care path of sophrology, acupuncture..."
"I think I need to better acknowledge my fatigue and actively work at reducing it as well as accept it. As my acceptance plays a large role in getting my head round the idea of working at improving it. Also speaking to someone who could possibly understand my fatigue would really help me."
Are you tired?
And what is your solution against fatigue?
Survey of 2,862 Carenity members in France, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Germany and the United States in March 2019.