Causes of Fatigue and Nausea

Fatigue is a feeling of exhaustion and weariness that does not go away with rest. Fatigue is not drowsiness that responds to a good night's sleep. Nausea is the feeling of sickness or discomfort in the stomach that produces the urge to vomit. Many diseases, conditions and disorders produce symptoms of fatigue and nausea, and some are potentially fatal.

A woman is fatigued. (Image: ERproductions Ltd/Blend Images/Getty Images)

Addison's Disease

Addison's disease, or adrenal insufficiency, occurs because the adrenal glands don't produce enough cortisol and, in some cases, aldosterone, according to Addison's disease can occur at any age and in both sexes. Adrenal insufficiency occurs because the outer layer of the adrenal glands is destroyed. Symptoms of Addison's disease include fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, muscle pain, joint pain, weakness and dizziness. Treatment requires the replacement of the low levels of hormones with medications such as hydrocortisone or prednisone to replace cortisol, and fludrocortisone, if aldosterone levels are low.

Heart Attack

Plaque buildup in the coronary arteries can cause coronary artery disease, also known as coronary heart disease. As the plaque builds, the arteries become narrowed or blocked and prevent an adequate supply of oxygen-rich blood from reaching the heart muscle, which can cause a heart attack. Symptoms include nausea and vomiting, a feeling of pressure in and around the chest, sweating, and pain spreading to the arm and jaw. Symptoms that are found more in women, as stated by, also include unusual fatigue. Treatment depends on severity and may include medications such as blood thinners, pain relievers, thrombolytics and statins. Possible surgical procedures include angioplasty to open blocked arteries and bypass surgery to restore blood to the heart muscle.

Meningococcal Disease

Meningococcal disease, a highly contagious infection caused by Neisseria meningitidis bacteria, affects all ages but is most common in infants less than a year old and in college dormitory occupants. The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases reports that meningococcal disease affects almost 3,000 Americans every year, of which about 10 percent die. Early symptoms include nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity and seizures. Other symptoms, such as fatigue, fever and muscle aches, can be mistaken for influenza or some other viral illness. Diagnostic confirmation usually requires a spinal tap to obtain spinal fluid for a culture to determine the presence of the bacteria. Early antibiotic treatment is important to reduce the chances of damage to many organs in the body or dying. Vaccines to prevent meningococcal disease are recommended, especially for people traveling overseas and for college students.

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