We have learned that when a patient walks into your office and says "my chief concern is fatigue", we have to ask a bunch of questions to understand what they actually mean by fatigue.
What does fatigue mean to the patient? Does it mean:
...tired? ...sleepy? ...physically exhausted? ...apathetic? ...depressed? ...is there lassitude?
The descriptors above would each point the doctor towards a different diagnosis so it is very important to ask the right questions to make that sure he or she is going in the right direction when a patient presents with fatigue.
Several examples of questions that may be asked to help determine the diagnosis:
- Are you still fatigued after a good night of sleep?
- Do you feel well rested in the morning?
- Do naps help the fatigue?
- Tell me about your sleep. Is your sleep of adequate quantity and of good quality?
- Does the onset of the fatigue happen at the end of the day?
- How is your mood?
- How is the fatigued changed by exercise? Increased or decreased?
- Tell me about your diet. Are you consuming adequate calories, nutrients, and iron?
- Do you drink caffeine? How much and when?
- Etc, etc...