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January 22, 2003

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada:

Even though on most days he is tired and has limited energy, for the past month, my boyfriend (who has type 2 diabetes) has had even less energy than ever. After sleeping for eight hours, he is so tired that he struggles to get out of bed and then he has to work 8-10 hours a day at a physically demanding job. At the end of the day he is completely exhausted. Some days it is a struggle to have supper, and then he is off to bed, only to wake up more tired than before he went to sleep. I have also noticed that he is getting leg cramps and cramps in his hands. The doctor has just recently done tests and a complete medical examinations and still finds that everything is normal. But it is not normal! My boyfriend has never ever been this tired and weak, and his energy level is fading on a daily basis. I have researched conditions and have read up on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but other than that, I am stumped. His doctor suggested Vitamin B 12 injections which he will be receiving starting next month. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.


I am sorry to hear about your boyfriend’s problems. This medium does not allow me a way of being very specific about the cause of the symptoms. I would agree with your posture. That is, even though the tests were normal, you still need to press for some answers because of the change in his quality of life. A general history and physical should also include screening laboratories for chemistries, blood count, urinalysis, and can include other tests as warranted by the physician.

Fatigue is a very nonspecific symptom and can be difficult to pin down in some cases. chronic fatigue syndrome should be a diagnosis of exclusion. That means all other things should be looked for before that diagnosis is entertained. Other problems that come to mind include hypothyroidism, depression, sleep disturbances, and job stress.


[Editor’s comment: Since thyroid disorders are very common in people with diabetes, please be sure that the testing included blood tests for hypothyroidism, such as the TSH test.