We may have experienced fatigue at some point in our lives. This is different from the tired feeling we get from physical exertion. Fatigue is that nagging, draining feeling of tiredness that happens regularly. It has several symptoms that we sometimes mistake for a different medical condition like flu because of their similarity. In reality, flu can actually cause fatigue-like symptoms sans the fever and cold. Fatigue can be caused by medical conditions or by an unhealthy lifestyle. Allergic rhinitis, anemia, diabetes and underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) are just a few of the medical conditions that cause fatigue. Repeated lack of sleep, alcohol or drug use and lack of exercise account for lifestyle causes. Fatigue can be resolved by working on the underlying reason of it, but can get people in trouble if fatigue strikes during moments where they need to be alert, concentrate, have a fast response and make sound decisions. Fatigue can be dangerous if it happens while driving, while at work or while playing.
Fatigue can Cause Accidents
A lot of road accidents are caused by sleepiness induced by fatigue. Despite falling asleep while driving is pointed as the main reason for vehicular accidents, the major underlying cause is actually fatigue. Drivers who do not get enough rest because of the long-distance drive are very prone to the primary symptom of fatigue – sleepiness.
Truck, bus and heavy equipment drivers are particularly prone to fatigue due to long periods of driving and longer distance travel. Vehicle owners, private entities and government agencies and officials have realized the potential dangers and damage that fatigue can cause if it happens to drivers of larger vehicles, particularly trucks. Thus, fatigue management courses were developed for truck drivers and other professional drivers of large and heavy vehicles. These courses aim to lessen, if not eliminate the undesirable effects of fatigue when driving, and still retain alertness, quick response time and concentration among truck drivers. The perks of undergoing this program are not only limited to physical benefits, but also to the job improvement potential. Drivers who finish the course are recertified and are given priority for long haul travel assignments.
Fatigue can Cause Injuries
Fatigue can also cause injuries even if you are outside of the road. Sports and workout injuries happen when fatigue strikes during sports and workout activities that need concentration, balance, speed, precision and strength. Biking, swimming, diving and running are just a few of the sports activities that injuries can potentially happen. Barbell bench presses, leg presses and seated rows are also just a few workout activities that can be prone to injuries. Therefore, before going to a workout or going to do sport activities, make the necessary preparations by having enough rest, sufficient warm up and correct stretching sessions.
The workplace is not also safe from accidents and injuries caused by fatigue. Work environments with heavy equipment and machinery like factories, assembly lines and construction sites are particularly dangerous places if you report to work in a fatigued state. Machine and equipment operation needs concentration, hand-eye coordination, fast reaction time and sound decision-making. Working while fatigued can cause machine entanglement, machine breakdown and injuries due improper operation. Even office environments are not safe from injuries due to fatigue. Employees often run into walls, doors, cabinets, chairs and tables and hurt themselves because of lack of balance, coordination and concentration.
Fatigue can Cause Poor Performance
Fatigue can cause significant depletion in short-term memory, concentration and impairs decision-making and judgment. Mental acuity and physical alertness – which are essential elements in work and play – can be affected by fatigue. Fatigued workers generally perform poorer than their well-rested peers because of lower concentration and memory retention. Thus, repeated fatigue can severely affect work performance and in turn affect a worker’s prospects for promotion and career advancement. The same can be true in sports and workout. Athletes and fitness enthusiasts need to have optimum concentration, fast reaction and reflexes, alertness, muscle strength and hand-eye coordination. These are important in performing well in any sport event or workout session. On the other hand, performing poorly in sports and workouts because of fatigue can lower chances of sports achievements and milestones and achieving fitness goals.
Fatigue is a condition that needs to be remedied. Although tiredness is a natural body reaction to exertion and stress, fatigue can be considered as the longer and more persistent version of this. Because fatigue is considered a symptom of an underlying medical condition, it would be wise to have yourself checked by a doctor just to make sure and to fix the condition right away before you get yourself in trouble. Do not disregard fatigue because it can cause more trouble for you in the future. As a preventive measure, always keep your body fit and well rested. The rewards of staying alert and active are beyond price.