With fatigue and night sweats, sometimes the problem is a temporary viral infection, or some other mild, self-limiting condition. Other times, the symptoms can signal a deeper medical issue. If fatigue and night sweats persist, or the cause seems unexplainable, a medical evaluation may be needed to rule out a more serious cause.
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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS is a debilitating condition of feeling extremely tired, or exhausted. While all people with CFS feel severe fatigue, some of the other symptoms vary from person to person. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that many people with CFS also suffer from night sweats. The intense type of fatigue suffered by those with CFS is not relieved by sleep or rest, and is made worse by exertion. CFS causes a person to function at a decreased level of activity, and lowers their ability to do productive physical, or mental work. Between 1 and 4 million Americans live with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Lymphoma is classified as either Hodgkin's, or non-Hodgkin's. There are several types of these two major classifications. All lymphomas can produce symptoms of fatigue and night sweats, depending on the stage of the illness. Fatigue is usually related to anemia caused by the lymphoma, and night sweats generally means a more advanced stage of the disease. Lymphomas often have several additional symptoms that may help distinguish it from other illnesses. Painless swelling of one or more lymph nodes is typically the first sign of lymphoma.
Subacute Bacterial Endocarditis
Subacute bacterial endocarditis, or SBE, is a very serious bacterial disease of the interior lining of the heart, and heart valves. SBE can come on slowly, gradually worsening over a period of weeks, or months. Fatigue, and night sweats are common, as are fever, and weight loss. Some people may have chills, and painful joints. Two of the bacteria most commonly associated with SBE are staphylococcus, and streptococcus species. Treatment is required for this illness, as it is otherwise always fatal.