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Joint Pain and Fatigue

How Joint Pain and Fatigue are Related

Chronic fatigue syndrome 300x225 Joint Pain and FatigueDid you know that joint pain and fatigue can be related? While fatigue can be caused by many different health problems, the addition of joint pain means that you may have an autoimmune disorder. Understanding how the two are related is important, as that will help you to know what you can do to prevent the joint pain and the fatigue from getting out of control. If you find yourself exhausted and in pain, you’ve come to the right place to learn everything you need to know…

The Relation of Joint Pain and Fatigue

When you have both joint pain and fatigue, it means that you probably have an autoimmune disorder. What is this disease?

Basically, an autoimmune disorder is when your body sees the various tissues, organs, joints, and muscles as the threat. Remember that your immune system is built to withstand attacks from the outside, and the white blood cells are able to kill off the invading germs and pathogens. A healthy immune system is able to defend your body easily, as the white blood cells are plentiful enough to overcome any invader. But when your body sees your joints, muscles, and organs as the threat, the white blood cells start attacking the healthy tissue and cells in your body.

It is surprising to hear that as many as 22 million people in the U.S. have this disorder, and as many as 80% of the people with this problem are women — according to the National Institute of Health. (http://www.lifescript.com/health/centers/rheumatoid_arthritis/articles/unexplained_pain_is_it_an_autoimmune_disease.aspx) If you have pain in your joints and you’re always exhausted, it may be an autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis.

What is It?

Rheumatoid arthritis is slightly different than osteoarthritis, which is basically just a general wearing down of the cartilage around the joints. Osteoarthritis comes from prolonged use of the joints, but rheumatoid arthritis is actually your body seeing the cartilage of your joints as an invader. It will attack the cartilage, and the white blood cells will eat away at the cartilage. When this happens, your body has to protect the cartilage, and it does so by swelling up. This swelling will cause your joints to be very stiff, and you won’t easily be able to move them.

Symptoms

Some of the symptoms of this autoimmune disease include:

  • Fever
  • Being very tired or perpetually lacking energy
  • Feeling a lot of pain in the morning
  • A warmth in the joints around your knees or elbows
  • Pain in your wrists and fingers

If you are experiencing these symptoms, you may be suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

Diagnosing the Problem

Unfortunately, it’s fairly hard to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis, as the symptoms take a while to manifest and there are no tests that will definitely give you a diagnosis. It will take a combination of lab tests and X-rays to determine that it is rheumatoid arthritis instead of one of the other forms of arthritis, and blood tests can help to detect whether there are rheumatoid factor antibodies in your blood.

Can It Be Treated?

If you want to treat rheumatoid arthritis, the truth is that you’re basically going to be treating only the symptoms instead of the disorder itself. Seeing as the problem is with the hard-wiring of your body, there’s not much that you can do to change your body’s reaction to the problem. There are medications that can help to reduce serious pain, or OTC drugs can help to counteract the discomfort that you feel in your joints. Exercise is highly recommended for those with this form of arthritis, as it will help to reduce swelling, increase your ability to move, and can strengthen your muscles. There are no treatments that will effectively deal with the problem, but it’s one that you will have to face for the rest of your life.

Joint Pain and Fatigue: If You Feel Fatigued, You May Have…

Now, joint pain and fatigue combined will usually indicate that you have an autoimmune disorder, but what happens if you just get the fatigue without the joint pain? There are many people that are just plain exhausted all the time, so here are a few things that can cause strong fatigue – though not usually joint pain:

  • Anemia – Anemia is due to a lack of iron in your blood, and it is present in roughly 5% of the general population. Women that are on their period will usually feel more fatigued, and this is due to the deficiency of iron.
  • Celiac Disease — Gluten intolerance is when your body sees gluten as an invader rather than a nutrient, and it can result in extreme fatigue.  You’ll find that most gluten-sensitive people will have problems with tiredness, as well as diarrhea, weight loss, and anemia.
  • Sleep Apnea — If you’re not getting enough good sleep at night due to snoring and other sleep problems, you may develop sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is when you can’t breathe properly during your night, as your throat closes or narrows. You’ll sleep poorly, and the result will be tiredness and fatigue all day long.
  • ME -- Myalgic encephalitis is also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, and it is accompanied by both joint pain and fatigue. It is a severe exhausting that can last for no less than six months, and headaches and muscle pains are also common symptoms.
  • Diabetes -­- Too much sugar in your bloodstream will cause your body to produce insulin, which will lower your blood sugar and make you feel tired. Diabetes is caused when your blood sugar is consistently high, and the result will be constant fatigue, thirst, excessive use of the bathroom, and weight loss.

These are a few disorders that can cause fatigue, but remember that joint pain is usually only combined with fatigue if you have rheumatoid arthritis. If you find yourself exhausted and in pain all the time, you need to take steps to deal with the problem. Joint paint and fatigue can hinder your activities, so do what you can to prevent it from getting out of control!

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