6 Effects of Chronic Fatigue in Autoimmune Diseases

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by Wendy Henderson |

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Autoimmune diseases and chronic fatigue go hand in hand, as anyone with lupus, scleroderma, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, IBD (and a host more) will testify. Chronic fatigue affects daily life and your ability to go about your business. It’s incredibly debilitating and yet, very misunderstood by those who don’t suffer from it. We’ve put together a list of six of the most common effects of chronic fatigue that people with autoimmune disease experience with help from data from prevention.com.

It’s more than just being tired. 

Frailty and lupus

Chronic fatigue is more than just needing an early night or feeling a bit under the weather, everything you do feels like it takes an enormous effort–even the littlest of things. While sleep helps, it doesn’t necessarily fix things or instantly give you more energy, in fact, some days all you can do is sleep.

Discover some of the symptoms that could point to lupus.

You can’t sleep, or get enough sleep.

Even though you’re exhausted, you may still be unable to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. Disturbed sleep or poor quality sleep only compounds the problem of chronic fatigue so people feel trapped in a never-ending cycle.

Read our six tips for patients newly diagnosed with lupus.


You can’t concentrate.

brain fog

Many people with autoimmune diseases will be familiar with “brain fog.” Being unable to concentrate or keep your mind on one thing is very common with chronic fatigue. Many find that they’re unable to think of the words they want to say when in conversation, they’re forgetful, or they’re easily distracted and unable to focus.

What does lupus do to the immune system? Find out here.


Physical activity is draining.

lupus fundraisers

For many with chronic fatigue, even the mildest of physical activities can wipe them out. Walking up stairs, fetching groceries, or doing household chores can all make you feel like you’ve tried to climb Everest or run a marathon.

Find out what happens to your body during a lupus flare.


You’re dizzy and lack balance.

Extreme fatigue may affect a person’s sense of balance, particularly when they stand up from sitting or lying down. They may also find themselves unable to stand for long periods of time without feeling dizzy and needing to sit down.

Read about five lupus complications you need to know about.


You’re in more pain.

Inflammatory arthritis research

Autoimmune diseases usually mean pain for patients, but this pain can feel worse when you’re suffering from chronic fatigue. Feeling so worn out can intensify joint and muscle pain and lead to headaches and other symptoms.

Find out more about the different types of autoimmune diseases and what causes them.

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