Lethargy

Dr. Nadheer K M (AIIMS)MBBS

December 23, 2018

June 04, 2022

Lethargy
Lethargy

What is lethargy?

Lethargy can be best described as a feeling of sluggishness and fatigue. Those who feel sleepy and experience these symptoms are said to be lethargic. The dullness and sluggishness may be mental or physical in nature and may indicate the presence of an underlying physical or mental condition in the person.

What are its main associated signs and symptoms?

Lethargic people are usually a little disoriented and move around very slowly. Other symptoms you may observe in lethargic people include mood swings, tiredness, lack of energy and lowered ability to think. Lethargic people also tend to be less alert.

What are the main causes?

When suffering from physical illnesses like fever or flu, it is common to feel weak and lethargic. However, there are other conditions which may also cause lethargy. These include:

How is it diagnosed and treated?

A complete medical history and physical examination are required to diagnose lethargy. The examination of the heart and lungs may be conducted. The doctor will also evaluate mental alertness and check for bowel sounds and pains. A series of tests and imaging studies may be conducted to check for the presence of medical conditions which could be the potential cause of lethargy.

In order to treat lethargy, it is important to detect the underlying cause. Treatment for the condition is then initiated depending on its nature. Doctors may prescribe medications, including antidepressants in case the lethargy is related to mental illness. Simple remedies, such as ensuring adequate fluid intake, proper sleep, a balanced diet and stress management can also help limit lethargy.

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References

  1. National Cancer Institute. [internet]. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Fatigue and Cancer Treatment.
  2. National Institute of Mental Health. Depression. National Institutes of Health; Bethesda, Maryland, United States
  3. KidsHealth. [internet]. The Nemours Foundation; Florida, United States. Meningitis.
  4. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine. Fatigue.
  5. Better health channel. Department of Health and Human Services [internet]. State government of Victoria. Fatigue.
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