TD1 Chronic Fatigue

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I’ve had T1D for almost 20 years but have never really experienced any major complications until recently. As I’m now entering my 30s, I’ve started noticing physical issues start to come up, the most prominent being fatigue.

I exercise regularly (2-3x a week) at the local gym and try to eat as healthy as possible but over the last few months I’ve noticed excessive fatigue creeping into my everyday life. It started out as just being more “out of it after the gym” but noticed it slowly starting to effect my work, physical activity, and social life to the point where I don’t feel like I have any energy to hangout with friends or do activities with my family.

I know it can be a side effect of T1D but does anyone have tips for combating fatigue? Supplements, dietary advice, exercise routines, etc?

Thanks everyone!

Hi @jkaspr2002 and welcome to the forum.
I’m no doctor (none of us are) but here are a few thoughts off the top of my head:

  • COVID has taken a toll on everyone - both mentally and physically. And even if you didn’t have it and have been taking excellent care of yourself - as it sounds like you have - sometimes stresses affect our bodies in ways we don’t expect. Also,
  • Sometimes in their efforts to eat healthy, people unknowingly omit certain things they need, and a few adjustments to diet, or supplements, can help; so in either case it might be that your body needs additional nutrients - in quantity or type - to keep you functioning the way you did before. On a related note, despite your healthy habits you may be anemic - I think that can be discerned easily via a blood test.
    Check in with your primary care doctor to see if they recommend blood work or supplements. And if you haven’t seen your nutritionist in a while it might help to have them look over your regimen to see if anything is missing.
    Wishing you all the best, and looking forward to your input on the forum!

It’s always good to log your symptoms and consult with your doctor. It’s funny you have recently experienced this fatigue…I recently had something similar. I wrote a list trying to figure out what was causing it. There are so many possible causes, like nutrition, hormonal, psychological, environmental, etc. I figured I’d get a full blood makeup to start. My sleepiness /fatigue hit suddenly and left suddenly. Before I could see my doctor it went away. I have no idea why. I didn’t do anything different and didn’t change my medication. I’m grateful. I hope you can get some answers and find some relief.

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Hi @jkaspr2002 welcome to Type One Nation. In my opinion, if you aren’t feeling depressed or have post traumatic stress from covid lockdown, the next level is making sure your endocrinologist knows what you are feeling. Endocrine includes adrenaline and disorders could include issues of feeling wiped out. I would also check TSH for thyroid issues if you haven’t had that checked, and then see if you have low testosterone, a possible complication of T1D.

Hey hopefully it’s because your boss is making you miserable which might be easier to fix!

In any case, good luck :four_leaf_clover:

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@jkaspr2002 Hi Jacob, and welcome to the JDRF TypeOneNation Forum! I hope that here you offer your diabetes experience and may be able to add encouragement to people learning to live with diabetes. Not many of the people posting here are medical professionals; most are people like me relating what has worked [and not worked] for us in managing diabetes.

Your fatigue may or may not be related to your diabetes, and I second what @Joe said about having your doctor(s) review results from a spectrum of lab panel test results. A couple of months ago, I “complained” to a doctor that I was tiring out to easily; more frequently on days I did not get much exercise. Results were reviewed by both the Internist and the Endocrinologist; the only suggestion made was that I “… try acting your age” and don’t push too hard.

What I suggest for you, as has already been mentioned here, is that you look at the foods you are eating. Possibly you are not eating sufficiently to fuel your body; a diet you consumed 10 years ago may not fit your current state. Keep in mind that carbohydrates provide energy, and when managed effectively by activity and insulin are not your enemy. For example, at the suggestion of a medical professional a few years ago, I began filling my water bottle with Gatorade for all walking, biking and gym days; the added 20 gm. of carb has done wonders for hydration, energy and more especially my TIR. And, in hind-sight, these are the days I don’t get the tired-out feeling.


A little additional info on hydration during exercise - I’m reminded of a story I read of man who enjoyed tennis. He played several times a week but was starting to feel bad following games - something he wasn’t used to. He saw his doctor and was carrying a huge water bottle with him. Most people carry around 20-some ounce bottles but his was much larger. Long story short, it turn out in his efforts to stay hydrated, the quantity of water he was drinking was flushing important chemicals out of his system, and that was causing him to feel ill.
Many athletes drink Gatorade (there is a sugar free version) or sports drinks in lieu of water (or perhaps alternate) to replace electrolytes that may be lost with sweat. I’m not a doctor so like to encourage people to do their own research, so do check it out for yourself.
(If you get a feeling of “deja vu” reading this, I copied pieces from another comment I wrote - you’re not losing your mind😊).

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I know the feeling. I’ve been alive 35 years and diabetic 28 and I’m always tired. I’ve been suffering from insomnia and sleep deprivation of late, partly due to out-of-range blood sugar levels. (And partly due to lots of other things going on in my life.) You didn’t mention if you have a CGM or what your blood sugar’s like when you wake up in the morning. Do you know what your blood sugar’s doing while you sleep? If it’s going high or low it could affect the quality of your sleep, even if you’re still sleeping through the night. I didn’t realize just how much my blood sugars affect me at night until I got my Libre a couple years ago.

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It’s worth checking for other things. I’m not just diabetic. I’ve also got a thyroid disorder, obstructive and central sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, and possibly more. Sleep apnea is not uncommon, especially as you age. And T1D is autoimmune, which means you’re a little more likely than average to develop another autoimmune condition. Talk to your doctors and see if maybe your fatigue has a treatable cause.

But I’ve been a spoonie since the 90s. Fatigue is just part of my life. I do my best with each piece of the medical puzzle, but I’m always tired. Just a question of whether I’m tired, exhausted, bone weary, burnt out, and/or too wiped to even move. The best way to deal with it is to accept what you’re feeling, learn your limits, know how much you can push those limits, know the cost of doing so, and run a cost/benefit analysis in your head before every choice.

Mayo Clinic suggests trying to keep your activity level fairly even: Push yourself a little on worse days, but hold yourself back a little on better days. It’s tempting to go a little nuts just because you feel the weight lifted off your shoulders for a while, but if you overdo on a good day, you’ll just be setting yourself up for a worse day tomorrow.

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