Tiredness

When to Get Help

Go to the nearest emergency department, or call 911 if you are really tired and:

  • have confusion
  • can’t speak, walk properly, or follow directions
  • have a fever
  • have severe nausea and vomiting

Tiredness or lack of energy can be common in people with chronic conditions, like cirrhosis. Even if you rest or get lots of sleep, you might still feel tired or have low energy.

Causes

Feeling tired can be cause by many different things like changes with sleep, long workdays or stress. People with cirrhosis can also have conditions like low iron or vitamin D, or a build-up of toxins that cause tiredness.

Treatment

Lifestyle Changes
  • Exercise: If you are able to, consider physical activity 3-5 days a week. Exercise has many benefits including improving your mood and energy level.
  • Nutrition and hydration: Eat a balanced diet and drink enough water to stay hydrated (unless your healthcare team tells you not to). This will help improve your energy.
  • Sleep: It is important to get a good night’s rest in order to reduce tiredness. You can find tips for improving sleep here.
  • Mind and body therapies: Try complementary treatments such as mindfulness, support groups, or acupuncture
Medication

If you continue to have problems with feeling tired after trying the lifestyle changes and self care tips on this page, talk to your healthcare team about whether medicine may be right for you.

Self Care Tips:

  • Sit down to bathe.
  • Install accessibility bars in your home.
  • Ask about equipment that can help with mobility such as cane, walker etc.
  • Place chairs around your home so you can stop and rest as needed (for example, at the top and bottom of the stairs).
  • Spread chores out over the week.
  • Whenever possible, sit down to do chores (make dinner preparations while sitting down).
  • Prepare an organized grocery list so you can minimize the time spent walking in the grocery store.
  • Ask for help from family or friends.
  • Order groceries online.
  • Look for organizations that will grocery shop for seniors and individuals with various health conditions.
  • Look for organizations that prepare pre-made meals.
  • Try a food delivery service that can deliver items and recipes to make various meals.

Let your healthcare provider know if you:

  • notice new extreme tiredness.
  • continue to have extreme tiredness despite trying the above tips.
  • think you need a disability parking placard so you won’t have to walk as far when you go out.
  • think you need accessible transit services. These are available in some areas.

References:

The information on this page was adapted (with permission) from the references below, by the Cirrhosis Care Alberta project team (physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, registered dietitians, physiotherapists, pharmacists, and patient advisors).

This information is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare team. They know your medical situation best. Always follow your healthcare team’s advice.

References: 

  1. US Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration 
  2. Canadian Liver Foundation
  3. Davison SN on behalf of the Kidney Supportive Care Research Group. Conservative Kidney Management Pathway; Available from: https//:www.CKMcare.com.
  4. My Health Alberta
Last reviewed March 15, 2021
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