Fatigue is a feeling of extreme tiredness, lethargy or exhaustion, which persists most or all of the time. Fatigue is a common symptom of myeloma and a side effect of some of its treatments, affecting over 70% of myeloma patients.
Fatigue is recognised as one of the most debilitating symptoms of myeloma and side-effects of its treatment.
Common symptoms of fatigue include:
- Reduced energy levels
- Feeling weak or lethargic
- Reduced concentration and/or poor memory
- Mood swings and tearfulness
- Feeling dizzy or disorientated
- Shortness of breath after minimal activity
- Difficulty in sleeping or sleeping more than usual
- Loss of, or reduction in, sex drive
- Loss of, or reduction in, appetite
Living with fatigue can have a huge impact on your quality of life and can be extremely challenging both for you and your family.
Top ten tips for living with fatigue:
- Plan, pace and prioritise
- Do things that matter to you each day
- Spread chores throughout the week
- Do things when you have energy and rest when you don’t
- Maintain a well-balanced diet and eat little and often
- Take gentle exercise
- Ask for help
- Keep a diary to help you identify the times you feel most tired and what helps you combat the fatigue
- Try a complementary therapy, such as reflexology
- Be realistic about what you can achieve
If you are caring for someone who has fatigue, you may find it hard to know how best to help them – whether
you should be doing things for them or encouraging them to do more for themselves. You may also feel frustrated at times, especially if you are not able to do some of the things you used to do together.