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What Are the Causes of Sudden & Extreme Fatigue?

author image Norene Anderson
Norene Anderson has been a writer since 2003. She is also a registered nurse with expertise in a wide range of medical conditions and treatments. Anderson received her associate degree in nursing from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo.
What Are the Causes of Sudden & Extreme Fatigue?
What Are the Causes of Sudden & Extreme Fatigue?

Fatigue is a common symptom in many illnesses and daily routines. It becomes a concern when it is not relieved by rest, good nutrition and a reduction in the stress level. A sudden onset of extreme fatigue from an unknown cause indicates the need to see a health care provider for a medical diagnosis. The pattern and extent of the fatigue are important criteria in determining a diagnosis.

Acute Kidney Failure

Acute or sudden kidney failure is kidney damage that keeps the kidneys from removing waste and producing urine without losing the electrolytes, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Symptoms of kidney failure include fatigue, decreased appetite, pain between the ribs and hips, elevated blood pressure and seizures.

The possible causes of acute kidney failure that leads to sudden and extreme fatigue include burns, dehydration, surgery, septic shock, a transfusion reaction, pregnancy complications and a urinary tract obstruction. Treatment includes defining and treating the underlying cause, limiting liquid intake to the amount of urine produced and monitoring lab reports to determine whether dialysis is required.

Mitral Valve Diseases

The mitral valve is the valve that regulates the blood flow between the upper and lower left chamber of the heart. Diseases of the mitral valve include mitral valve prolapse, which is one of the most common forms of valve disease, according to the Texas Heart Institute; mitral regurgitation, also known as mitral insufficiency; and mitral stenosis, or narrowing of the mitral valve.

Common symptoms of the mitral valve diseases include heart palpitations, chest pain and coughing. Symptoms of mitral valve prolapse include extreme fatigue. Cautions for people with any type of mitral valve disease include taking antibiotics prior to any dental procedure or general surgery to prevent infection of the valve.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Although the exact cause of chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS, is unknown, symptoms similar to a viral infection appear suddenly or within a few days, states MedlinePlus, a publication of the National Institutes of Health. The major symptom is extreme fatigue that limits the ability to carry on routine daily activities. A diagnosis of CFS requires the fatigue to last at least six weeks with no relief from bed rest.

CFS has no cure, so treatment focuses on the symptoms and includes medications for depression and sleep management; relaxation and stress-reduction techniques, such as biofeedback and deep breathing exercises; and activity management, such as dividing the amount of time spent on difficult tasks with rest periods.


Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect many parts of the body, such as the brain, skin, joints, heart, kidneys and lungs. For people with lupus, the body's immune system cannot distinguish the difference in the tissues and cells in the body and antigens, so it creates antibodies that cause pain, inflammation and damage to the cells.

Symptoms include extreme fatigue in 81 percent of people with lupus, states Disabled World. The treatment of lupus depends on the location of the affected organs or body system involved and includes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, immunomodulating drugs and anticoagulants.

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