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July 29, 2001

Other Illnesses

Question from Bayonne, New Jearsey, USA:

I am 38 years old, was diagnosed with diabetes a week before my 37th birthday, I am not an insulin user, and I monitor my sugar every day for good control. My sugar levels are right were they should be according to my dietitian. I am on a controlled diet. I work all day on the computer and work very hard.

Since I developed diabetes, I have never been so tired, but, no matter how much sleep I get, by 1:00-2:00 pm every day, I feel really dopey (like I could drop and fall asleep). What’s wrong with me? Am I lacking a vitamin or something? I hate this feeling. I do take a multivitamin for women. Should I be taking ginseng or something?

Please someone help me feel like a whole person again I am sick and tired of feeling this way.


From: DTeam Staff

Fatigue is only associated with uncontrolled diabetes, and you indicate your control is apparently okay (testing your hemoglobin A1c level would help confirm that your diabetes is indeed under control). If your control is okay, then the fatigue is not due to the diabetes. The first thing that comes to mind is another very common condition that’s associated with diabetes: hypothyroidism. This can be tested for with a simple blood test called TSH, and if your TSH is elevated, your doctor can do additional testing and start you on thyroid hormone replacement therapy with the expectation of complete relief of the fatigue in a short while.

There are many other medical reasons for fatigue, such as anemia, that should also be checked out.

I see no reason for you to self-medicate with vitamins, herbs, or other supplements of dubious value when there may well be a solid medical reason that should be diagnosed and appropriately treated.

Additional comments from Dr. David Schwartz:

Emotional problems leading to depression (such as stress) can also cause fatigue. Perhaps, seeing a mental health specialist may help if medical causes are ruled out.