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Lethargy: what it is, what the symptoms are and how to treat it


Lethargy is a condition characterized by great tiredness and the development of deep sleep. Let's find out more about it and how to act when it occurs.

When we talk about lethargy we mean a state of generalized exhaustion which combines both the lack of energy and the inability to stay awake.
This condition can depend on various factors which must therefore be investigated in order to discover the triggering cause, thus arriving at a cure that is as effective as possible and capable of restoring the right energy. So let's find out everything there is to know about it.

The causes of lethargy

As already mentioned, lethargy can occur for various reasons which are very important for a correct assessment of the problem and for the consequent treatment. In milder cases, this condition can occur as a result of lack of sleep , excessive physical activity and psycho-physical stress.


In other situations it may be the answer to some pathologies that involve an alteration of the brain structures predisposed to regulate sleep and wakefulness.
Among the best known are:

Severe dehydration
Hypo or hyper thyroidism
– Carbon monoxide poisoning
– Kidney failure
Lyme disease
– Head trauma
– Heart failure
– Intracranial hypertension
– Parkinson's disease
Respiratory failure
– Diabetic ketoacidosis
– Hypoglycaemic crises
– Severe metabolic disorders
– Drug intoxication
– Liver failure
– Chronic pain of the neoplastic type
Sleep apnea
– Psychiatric disorders

In these cases it is important to trace the exact cause to act first on it and immediately after on lethargy. Which it is possible to do after a careful anamnesis.

Symptoms of lethargy

As already mentioned, those who suffer from lethargy experience profound tiredness that drives them to sleep and have great difficulty staying awake. To this problem (which in some cases can be so serious as to lead to a coma), there are also other symptoms which are:

– Chronic fatigue
– Continuous sense of fatigue
– Drop in mood
– Continuous drowsiness
– Slowness in the way of thinking and acting
– Attention deficit
– Confusional state
– Reduced working capacity
– Inability to perform even simple actions
– Sense of tiredness upon awakening

These symptoms are important in helping you figure out any underlying medical problems. Which, as already mentioned, is essential for a cure that is correct and decisive.

Diagnosis and treatment of lethargy

To identify the right treatment for those suffering from lethargy, it is important that the doctor asks the right questions, thus trying to find out how long it has been presenting, how long it lasts and what symptoms it is associated with.
To perfect the diagnosis, it may be useful to carry out blood tests and other tests such as ultrasounds, X-rays, MRIs and other tests aimed at assessing the general physical state of health.

Finally, there is also a test to understand psychic functions.
As for the treatments, these will depend on the triggering cause.
If it is a question of lack of sleep or too much tiredness, the doctor will prescribe more rest, suggesting a more balanced diet and providing any supplements.

In case of mental problems or depression, the doctor will prescribe antidepressants. If, on the other hand, the cause is pathological, it will be essential to act on the triggering disease by adding some basic rules such as good hydration , satisfactory rest, a nutritious and healthy diet, a good dose of rest and stress reduction.

In this way, acting on lethargy and returning to feeling strong will be much easier and will improve the quality of life.

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