Diabetes Forecast

Does Diabetes Cause Fatigue?

I am a 55-year-old man with type 2 diabetes who is on oral medication. I find that I am very tired in the afternoon. Is this a side effect of diabetes? If so, can anything be done about it? Name Withheld

Robert A. Gabbay, MD, PhD, responds:

A feeling of tiredness and fatigue is often a difficult symptom to try to explain. It can be caused by so many different factors. In people with diabetes, those can include anything from hypothroidism to heart disease to anemia that is related to kidney disease, to name a few.

Both hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) and hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) can cause fatigue. Checking your blood glucose when you feel tired is an important step, to be sure that it is not too low or too high. If you do have hypoglycemia, then the diabetes medication certainly could be the cause of your tiredness. If there is no hypoglycemia, however, oral medications for diabetes do not typically cause fatigue.



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