Fighting Fatigue

Managing diabetes can be demanding, with so much to keep track of every day: blood glucose levels, food portion sizes and carbohydrate content, drug and insulin doses, physical activity. Perhaps in part because of this routine — or possibly just due to underlying factors related to diabetes — people with diabetes tend to experience fatigue at a higher rate than the general population. Now, a survey has put a number on this phenomenon: Eighty-five percent of people with diabetes experience fatigue daily that makes it difficult to perform regular activities.


The survey, as reported in an article at, was conducted by Diabetica Research Solutions Inc. (DRSI), a company that makes a nutritional supplement aimed at people with diabetes. Since the company did not provide its methodology, the survey can be presumed to be nonscientific. Nevertheless, it can be safely assumed that fatigue is a widespread problem — but what should be done to remedy it? DRSI, not surprisingly, tacitly offers its own suggestion based on another number from its survey: Only 6% of people with diabetes say that they use energy drinks. Most energy drinks contain caffeine, which can of course boost energy levels — but then it often leads to a crash. DRSI offers a supplement without caffeine, but some people may find such a drink less effective than the well-worn allies of coffee, tea, and caffeinated soft drinks.

It is likely, though, that caffeine or energy drinks treat only the symptoms of fatigue, not its root causes. As David Spero notes in a blog post from last year here at, fatigue may be a direct result of insulin resistance, leading to a lack of adequate fuel in cells throughout the body. But it may also result from inflammation, infection, stress, or poor sleep. In an “Expert Q&A” at, the chief medical officer of the American Cancer Association notes that undetected obstructive sleep apnea may result in poor sleep quality, while other causes of fatigue may be muscle weakness, drug side effects, thyroid dysfunction, high blood calcium levels, or adrenal, kidney, or liver problems. With so many potential causes, how should a person with diabetes — or his doctor — begin to respond?

Do you, or did you once, experience fatigue regularly? If so, have you found any way to reduce it and boost your energy level? Have medical professionals been of any help? Do you think it is important to treat the root causes of fatigue, or would you be happy with a solution that simply gives you more energy, regardless of the mechanism by which it works? If your fatigue has not responded well to treatment, have you found a way to adapt to it? Leave a comment below!

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  • catgirl

    If you’re having sleep problems, ask your doctor to schedule a sleep study! My doctor did just that, and while I don’t have OSA, I did have hypopnea, a constriction of the throat while sleeping, in my case during REM sleep. While it wasn’t severe, using a CPAP lets both me and my husband get more rest. It was worth it.

  • Stephanie

    I was diagnosed with sleep apnea about 6 months after being diagnosed with Diabetes Type II. I have a CPAP machine and used it for a while. I still had fatigue.
    I have lost a total of 25 pounds over 2-3 years and have not used the CPAP in a year. The maintanence of my machine is costly.
    I am fatigued all the time. I fall asleep at my desk each day about 2pm. It startles me since I don’t realize that I am doing it.
    I wish there were another way to get help. I bought my CPAP machine since insurance wasn’t very helpful it was very expensive.
    My A1C has come down from above 9 to a consistant low 6.
    I wake in the night and am under so much stress. My doctor has prescribed Lexipro and now Cymbalta. Is there another solution?




  • Lisa Pratt

    I experience a lot of fatigue and I sometimes forget just how difficult diabetes can be and how much anxiety it can cause. The hardest thing is for me to get on a highway by myself because I’m afraid of having an insulin reaction without being able to take care of myself. Things can change so quickly.

  • G W White

    See attached, especially the ending.

  • Donna

    I also suffer daily from fatigue. I often however wake early (wee hours of the morning). Up for an hour or 2 and then back to bed to play catch up? Never seems to work.
    I would rather see something that works at the root cause than to masque over the problem and cause, w/immediate albeit temporary relief.
    I am usually sluggish all day long, and work in increments with chores etc.

  • Kat

    i am a type one diabetic with low thyroid disease, i have known fatigue very well…i have turned to juicing green leafy vegetables in the morning, with some wheatgrass and wow, what a difference…i also have started eating lots of protein within two hours of waking up and i don’t experience afternoon ‘crashes’ very much anymore…i think a high carbohydrate diet with diabetes is a recipe for disaster, and that flies in the face of every dietitian i have ever consulted with…but now that i am actually eating a higher protein/fat, lower carbohydrate diet i have shaken off that really sleepy/extreme fatigue that i used to have every day…and i am exercising every day, high intensity intraval training one day, weight training the next and i really feel like i have been given a new body…my insulin requirements have gone down…i have lost extra weight i was carrying…diet is key, i have eliminated most grains and most dairy and i feel so much better for it…

    i did all of this on my own research, my doctor is of really little value to me except for writing prescriptions for insulin and synthroid and checking my blood with lab work…i was to the point where i really couldn’t get out of bed in the mornings, and i felt like i was struck by lightning most of the time, i felt so exhausted it was unreal…i am now learning that 90 percent of what i was eating was not helping me, food is medicine, heal your body with it, it is quite amazing how well i feel now compared to just a few months ago…

  • Gary Pieper

    I’ve been a type 1 diabetic for almost 32 years and have had fatigue for at least 20 years. I’ve had every test amaginable by many specialists and nothing has helped. I’m retired now and have just learned to live with it.
    G. Pieper – Michigan

  • SLA

    I had a chemical exposure at my work 6 1/2 yrs ago … the fiasco that ensued after that was extremely upsetting and stressful; lack of employer support, Workers’ Comp insurer who’s only goal was to be rid of me; was out of work for several weeks, returned 1/2-time, but felt like a pariah! Was treated with little respect and frankly, ‘that look’ of a cheater to the system …. when in fact I had over 200 days of accumulated sick leave when the exposure first occurred. Within a few months of that exposure, I experienced fatigue like I’d never known other than the mother of a newborn 25 yrs before! Eventually, my primary care and a specialist suggested I get a sleep study. I’d never had any sleep problems prior. I was dx’d with chronic obstructive sleep apnea … while I still, 6 yrs later, do experience fatigue, the CPAP machine has been WONDERFUL for me! If I try to sleep without it, I have a terrible time. Fast forward from 2004 to 2009 … had some new symptoms that I just sorta blew off to the extreme heat of that summer of 2009 … much thirst, thus many trips to the bathroom … up 1/2 the night; then I had a minor surgery on my hand that wasn’t healing well … that’s when the bells went off! I finally ‘came to’ and realized something was wrong … call to my primary care physician and a visit the next day confirmed diabetes mellitus 2. My initial BS was well into the 500’s; my full blood work up in the February prior was perfectly normal. There is suspicion that the chemical exposure may have lead also to the diabetes, since there is no family history. That really is moot now … I’ve retired, I look after myself, take my Metformin, try to eat sensibly, go to a water exercise class once a week and a zumba class another day of the week … not a pound do I shed, but I keep up with what I need to do. The weight is annoying to me … but it is what it is, it’s not for lack of trying.

  • BOB


  • Richard

    My dr. had me on glipizide-metformin combination pill. I started diabetes spiking so he took me off glipzide and now on metformin alone. I found my energy levels improved quite a bit. Also having protein helps energy. I have egg beaters in the morning and cottage cheese before bed. Both have high levels of protein and found my energy level has improved a lot. Also having a protein or nutrition bar for a snack helps to keep energy. I have type 2 diabetes and A1C levels are within the normal range. I go to the gym and have a trainer which also is a great help.

  • marylittle

    i have niticed that there is never any talk of autonomic neuropathy caused by that because people die of other causes without it being diagnosed???

  • Yasmin

    I was tested by my neurologist years ago and was told I had neuropathy in my feet, believe me you know you have it, my feet burned so bad felt like I had walked on hot coals. Now I get very bad pain in my feet plus I’m losing my balance. There’s no mistaking neuropathy, maybe people just over look their pain ? I dunno but most diabetics I talk to also suffer with neuropathy. Maybe it’s a subject people are afraid to talk about ? I just deal with mine day to day. God Bless Everyone with diabetes . Peace

  • Yasmin

    I forgot to mention that I am a diabetic I have lived with it for 20 years now, I’m type 2 , however I do 5 insulin shots a day and I do get very fatigued at times, I have good days and low days , my low days I try to not have a lot going on that day. I get angry too about the disease, but I pray & meditate alot it helps. Plus watch my diet and everything. It does , it all gets old sometimes , but if I don’t do it , no one will do it for me so I hang in there . 🙂

  • Susan Wagenlander

    I find that more protein serves me better than the leafy greens. Often I will have an egg salad sandwich, a small can of v-8 juice and applesauce with cinnamin for lunch and then I can go the distance until dinner.
    I do have sleep apena and I am doing well with the machine and head gear every night. The C-Pap machine seems to have done the trick and I’m not so often tired. I believe the combination of more protein and the C-Pap at night really helps me.

  • Sharon

    I have had diabetes for seven years. I have complained consistently that I have no energy at all. I actually live an existing life even though I am only 64 yes of age. I have had a Cpap machine since 1991 and will not lay down without it. I seriously can’t see a lot of difference during the daytime. I do know that I am somewhat better in the daytime than if I didn’t use it. I also have only one side of my thyroid. I am on Synthyroid (name brand) and seemed to notice a difference when I began taking that about 2 years ago. It’s been a long time since I have had a day when I felt like doing anything. I’m also depressed and taking Prozac which my doctor told me could also cause fatigued. I am overweight but have no ambiion to do anything about it. I read every article I can get my hands on and really enjoy Diabetes Self Management. I feel as if there is not any hope in the future for feeling any better. My A1C is at 7.2. Any suggestions?

  • Carol

    Interesting. I was wondering why I didn’t feel any better when I started an exercise program; I still felt like I had no energy even after 4-5 days per week for 10 weeks. The exercise improved my blood sugar levels though. Is anyone else frustrated that the diabetes affects EVERYTHING!
    I would LOVE to find a solution to the fatigue, but getting to the source would be best.

  • Bryan

    I agree with those who commented that low carbohydrate and high protein and fat helps. The high carbohydrates act much like a choke on an engine – hard to get it running – bogs down. Its just the opposite for kids who eat too much sugar – they bounce off the walls! Diabetics need to take lower and frequent doses of carbohydrates.

  • Steve

    What the h— is autonomic neuropothy?

  • Tommy P

    Amazing you’re running this article when I have just decided I need to talk to the dr about my extreme fatigue. Although the recent heat wave is contributing to it, the fatigue started long before that. For many months now (maybe even years) I periodically find myself waking from an afternoon sleep — and I wasn’t even aware I was taking a nap!

    It’s always important to get at the root of any condition – if treating that doesn’t work, then we go for the other stuff.

    I’m not thrilled about the dx of sleep apnea. I think it’s just an excuse to sell us stuff — I think there’s an underlying cause we’re not looking at.

  • Chava

    I was diagnosed with type 1 almost three years ago, at the age of 36 (quite the surprise!). I don’t get enough sleep to begin with, which I’m sure contributes greatly to why I’m tired so often, but I find that the greater the fluctuation in my blood sugar, the more tired I am. When I am high for any extended period of time, I am much more tired, and when I go from high to low often I am also more tired. I know that the answer to this is to eat small meals often and eat foods with a low glycemic index. I am making a concerted effort to do this, but it is hard. When I do manage, I feel much better.

  • Maria Huff

    I have type 2 and working out in a swiming pool every day helps my fatigue . I think I relaxe more in the water. I use a noodle do kicks and streach for half an hour and very seldom actually swim .I sleep better at nite also on the days I work out in the pool. If anyone needs motivation for getting in shape working out in the pool is a great way to start.

  • Laeta Smith

    I have had type 2 for about 5-6 years now. I know I’m over weight and I want to lose about 40 lbs. I am always tired!!!! My extreme tiredness I blamed on being the sole caregiver for my husband for a couple of hard years. (he has Alzheimers and has been in a facility for about 5 months now.) I thought I would feel better as time went on but I don’t, I have a CPAP machine that I use but I don’t sleep well with it (I’m ready to stop using it and let nature take its course!) I wake up as tired as when I went to bed. I want to do do things but don’t seem to have the energy to do them. My blood sugars seem pretty stable now and my A1C is a little high but not much (7.0) It gets very frustrating!!! Not sure what to do next!

  • Shelly

    Thank you to everyone who has posted, it really helps to not feel so alone! I experience fatigue on a daily basis, and so far we have not found a solution for me. It gets exhausting pushing through every day tired! And I have found it is MUCH harder to deal with the psychological part of having this disease when one is constantly fatigued.

    Tommy P, I have the same experience finding myself waking up from a nap that I didn’t know I was taking!

    Thanks again everyone, I just celebrated(?) my first year of diagnosis and I am still learning how to best cope/deal/strategize/maneuver/live with this disease.

  • Jeanette S

    I was dxd with sleep apnea before my thyroid malfunctioned and my diabetes kicked in–homerun right! Anyway, the cpap is great. There are other treatments for apnea, but they are more intrusive, complicated and expensive. Besides, they aren’t a sure thing. The cpap works in the majority of cases and doesn’t require surgery. There is definately a direct correlation to apnea and fatigue. But, apnea is more serious than that, it can cause death. Have a sleep study done. Find out how many times you are actually waking up at night because you aren’t breathing. The numbers will shock you. How long do you think your body will go through the abuse of non treated apnea before it just says “to hell with that, I am too tired!” Before dismissing the diagnosis or the cpap because it isn’t always comfortable, think of the alternative.

  • Audrey M.

    I am type 2 Diabetic. I was very fatigued for about three months. When I went for my labs at my Kidney Doc, I found out that I was anemic, and had to have a couple of iron infusions. I was o.k. for awhile, but now, after getting labs at my Family Doc’s, I find that I’m anemic again. He has put me on iron pills and I’m to go back in a month to see if it helps. But somehow, I still have fatigue and need to nap for about two hours every day.

  • Audrey M.

    ‘ve noticed that a lot of diabetics also need to use a c-pap machine. I had a sleep study and was told I had sleep apnea. I didn’t get a c-pap, but instead I bought an adjustible bed that raises the head up. That has helped me so much. Plus I’ve lost weight and that seems to help, too.
    Is the reason that so many of us need to use a C-pap because we are overweight? Being diabetic in itself doesn’t actually have anything to do with it, does it? Just curious.

  • Jeanne

    I have submitted to caffeine. It has seemed the most effective for me. I have stage three kidney failure, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome. I also use green tea capsules.

    I do have crashes, but in all, the caffeine is the best. I would like to have a solution that actually corrects the problem. Until it shows up, I want my coffee.

  • Mary Beth

    This is interesting reading. And here I thought my fatigue was caused by just getting older. I’ve always been very active and now going on 65, I need a nap every day. I was diagnosed w/Diabetes II four years ago and manage it w/metformin and a low carb and no added sugar diet. I don’t exercise like I should, but I’m not overweight. I have terrible sleeping problems; there again, blamed it on my age, stress, etc. Don’t want to go to sleep apnea clinic; I know they’ll hook me up with CPAP. Don’t want to go there!!! Always felt diabetes is a manageable and not so bad disease compared to cancer, but maybe some stress is related to having to deal with this and don’t realize it.
    Hang in there everyone!!

  • AMM

    There are some days I am just tired no matter what. It helps to get a get a good nights sleep, but sometimes leg cramp from a herniated disk keep me up and down. I also make sure that I eat a more protein breakfast to avoid that morning ‘power surge’ which tends to set you for the rest of the day. Taking your meds at the appropriate time also helps.

  • sherrie caskie

    Yes, I have type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, neuropathy, restless leg etc. I have a hard time sleeping with the CPAP. I am always tired, taking naps during the day. Once in a while I have to pull over when driving because I can not keep my eyes open. So I pull into a parking lot and turn off my van and lock the doors and take a nap. then I wake up and go home. I am way over weight, and have no ambition to do anything about it. I have alot of problems trying to walk around the block for excersize. And I have my mother with lung cancer and bone cancer/diabetes etc. and my father has clep palete/sinus cancer inwich they had to remove his nose. surgery was 10hrs for a 76 yr old man. And now 5x a week for 6 weeks we go for radiation. Never mind, any of the other doctors he or my mother need to see. Neither one can drive anymore. sleep is like every 3-4 hrs at a time. A straight 8 hrs of sleep. What was that like again????

  • marcy

    wow- This blog has been enlightening- I am a type 2 diagnosed in 2005 had 4cabg ten days later- and have been exhausted every since- the meds metformin just make me gain weight have now put on 50 count them pounds since then 10 pounds a year and i do moderate workouts- but it is a battle- and i do not feel likie i am winning any ideas?

  • David Spero RN

    That 85% figure seems awfully high, but obviously many people are dealing with fatigue. I encourage everyone to read my article from November 10 on this, which is linked in the 3rd paragraph of Quinn’s article.

    In addition to eating better, I suggested anti-inflammatories, checking for signs of infection (especially gum infections,) reducing stress, doing breathing exercises and meditation, improving sleep, taking certain supplements, and evaluating for depression.

    People usually don’t think of the inflammation and infection angles. I think the drugged out feeling people with diabetes get is often a sign of inflammation.

  • Traci Ratzloff

    Hello! I’m 32 yrs old and have been a type 1 diabetic since age 10. I am tired all the time, and it’s actually a relief to read this and know I’m not crazy. 🙂

    The positive as I see it is that I know no other way. I’m used to being tired.

    What works for me is exercise and moving around, getting sun. The more I allow myself to rest or lay around during the day, the worse off I am.

    I do, however, try to take 1-2 days each month to veg on the couch all day and “catch up.”

  • Traci Ratzloff

    I forgot to mention above, there is an awesome app on the iPhone (and probably other smart phones?) called SLEEPCYCLE. You turn it on and lay it next to you when sleeping. It works as your alarm. If it senses you are about to drift into your “deep” sleep too close to the time your alarm is supposed to wake you, it will wake you. The theory it’s better to wake up early than to be interrupted from your “deep” sleep. It REALLY works good for me!

  • cindy

    Very interesting as I was just reading August’s Diabetes Forecast magazine in which a reader asks if diabetes causes fatigue and Dr. Robert Gabray responds that both low and high blood sugars can cause fatigue so you should check your readings when tired but oral diabetic medications do not typically cause fatigue. I am Type 2, on metformin and also suffer from severe afternoon fatigue not related to high/low blood sugar. So I guess either none of us knows how to monitor our blood sugars or our doctor’s are not listening to us when we talk to them. Which do you think? I vote for the second choice.

  • Patricia Thomas

    I have had Type 1 diabetes for 48 years. I have been on an insulin pump for 10 years. I’ve been experiencing severe fatigue for about 4 years now and no doctor has been able to diagnose a cause. Last year, after a sleep study, I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and tried using a C-Pap machine but couldn’t tolerate it. I also have a severe chronic cough and have been run through all kinds of tests and even had a surgery called a TIF procedure which also didn’t help. If someone has any suggestions, I would be very grateful! Oh yes, I’m also bothered with diabetic neuropathy with extreme burning of the feet.

  • Carol Tilton

    I have found that large doses of b-12 added to chromium picolinate helps alot. Would love to have a great sleep at night, but hubby loves to fall asleep to tv.

  • Beverly Kelley

    I thought my fatigue would slowly vanish after my mom passed. It hasn’t. Have tried various supplements, works for a while, back to being tired. There are some really good suggestion here. I plan to try a few and return to some I previously used. Its also nice to know I am not alone.

  • Meg Schramm

    The best way I have found to combat fatique during the day is to really regulate what I eat. When I eat too many carbs it causes a blood sugar spike, and when that happens I feel an intense need for a nap. The best thing I can eat for breakfast is some scrambled eggs with some sausage crumbled and mixed in, some toast, and a cup of coffee. For lunch, a sandwich with some type of cold cuts, a piece of fruit, and water to drink. Dinner is an equal mix of carbs and protein.

  • Brad Ackerman

    I read these words that so many have written, and I can certainly relate to alot of it. I have been a diabetic since I was 12 years old.(I am 56 now, so that was in the 60’s) The level of education then was bad,at best, no finger sticking, no quick acting insulins, etc. I have survived some near amputations, been blind (have decent vision now:)gone thru kidney failure, had a pancaress/kidnes transplant…then developed cancer from the anti-rejection drugs, survived the cancer, then lost the transplanted pancaress…I am truely thankful to still be here, and I too get very tired, worn down..(guess I earned some of I thought it was just mostly me and all the long hard miles…don’t get me wrong, I am Not happy to hear others hardships, but I would be one very grateful soul to find some answers to my deep pain and fatiuge!
    Some days are certainly harder than others, but for some reason I am still here, and sharing with others. Namaste.

  • Eugene Anthony

    I am a diabetic. In February I had a quadruple bypass surgery. When I was going through rehab I complained to my nurse that I was ofter tired and lethargic even before surgery. She explained to me that there are benefits in exercise that will overcome the tiredness. I wasn’t actually doing anything that would make me tired. She told me to come to class even though I felt to tired. She encouraged me to work through my tiredness. My heart wasn’t in exercise but as I started my exercise routine I begin to feel better both physically and mentally. I thing that I have learned that tiredness may be as much mental as it is physical. I know that I have to establish a routine and stick to it. I try to limit my caffeine intake. I haven’t tried any energy boosters on a regular basis because most of them use sugar as their basic stimulant. I am committed to exercise as a form of relief for my tiredness. It doesn’t work 100% but I am trying.

  • Kathy

    My diabetes is getting worse, morning readings are 190 to 233. I have been swimming and walking but it doesn’t seem to help. I have sleep atena does this have anything to do with my blood sugars I am always tired.

  • Susan

    I am diabetic (type 2). I also have days where I am extremely fatigued. This begins not long after getting up in the morning and not a result of stress or workload. My doctor wants me to have a sleep study done for sleep apnea. Sleep apnea causes a severe shortage of restful sleep which not only causes daytime fatique, but also causes a rise in blood sugar, which can lead to diabetes. So it can all be a viscous cycle.

  • Katherine

    I was having issues with fatigue and a friend recommended taking vitamin B complex. I asked my doctor about it and was given the ok. I take one High Potency Maxi B complex from Sundown Naturals and the fatigue has stopped.

  • Mischel Stehlik

    This sure is an interesting blog. I am 57 with type 2 for 12 years and overweight. I am on metformin and glipizide and was for 1 month using byetta injections (non insulin). My doctor actually was upset this week when he found out I had LOST 9 pounds in 3 months. He also thought it was just fine when I gained over 25 pounds in less then a year when he kept changing my meds. So in a years time, I lost the over 25 pounds and additional 9. I have 27 more to go until I am where I want to be in weight. I am fatigued every day, sugars go up and down no matter what I eat or do. I take a nap in the afternoon and am fine for the rest of the day. I am active most of the time. I would love to find the cause of it. Maybe, my doctor would even bother to listen to me then.I am at A1C 8.5 and yes is high but… it used to be over 13 so I think it is going in the right direction for me.

  • Ginger

    I am not on medication for my diabetes…so far, I have been able to keep my numbers a tad below the radar, however, I am constantly fatigued, from the time I get up in the morning and I also feel that I am depressed….I have never been depressed in my life. Anyone with any ideas….my numbers are too low to be taking insulin or medication, but I still have the disease and must constantly be on guard to not let my numbers escalate.

  • Mary

    I am really pleased to find this article since I have been feeling tired for some time and didn’t think it had to do with my recently (1 year) diagnosed type2 diabetes. However, I would like to discuss the reluctance of those to Cpap assistance. I had a sleep study several years ago due to my extreme tiredness on a daily basis. A sleep study showed that I had sleep apnea which caused my not getting a full night’s sleep. I have been using the apparatus every night and keep it with me if I travel and would not do without it ever. I cannot emphasize enough how much it has helped me. Also I think I find I feel better and not so tired if I am physically active. I will take those of you who suggested more protein to help me with my present fatigue issues.

  • Jerry

    I have found that I suffer fatigue daily and this has been going on for about 8 months now since I lost my job. I am up all night and fall asleep around 4 or 5 in the morning for about 2, 3, or sometimes 4 hours if I am lucky. I have tried Ambien and that gives me a little help but not much. I am currently taking a melatonin supplement that also helps a little without the side effects of the Ambien. Dont know what has caused this but I used to sleep an average of 6 hours a nigh, now sometimes I’m up all night and cat nap throughout the day and hour here an hour there. This sucks and I’m tired of being tired. I’m not a big coffee drinker and wish there was some way to fix this. I thought it might be the weight gain I have suffered with by taking Insulin. I have gained 50 lbs since starting it. I try to watch what i eat but nothing works. I had quadruple bypass about 9 years ago. So how all this ties into my Diabetes I dont know.

  • gerri

    While I also have CFS associated with my fibromyalgia I have noticeed that I get very tired as the day progresses. I know that before I brought my diabetes under control that I barely had enough energy to move from the bed to the couch. now I find that I have to have my heavier housework and exercise done by lunch or I don’t have the energy for it. My NP, nurse practicioner, thinks the fatigue is a combination of the CFS and the diabetes, but I’m have been working around both and have lost 76 pounds and counting and will be walking my first 5k, too much arthritis my NP says NO running.

  • Ken Kozal

    I was diagnosed with type2 about 2years ago, the doctor of course diagnosed me with sleep apnea and wanted to get a sleep study,thats nice if you have insurance to pay for it,I sleep witha fan blowin on me and use melatonin too but some days I suffer from fatigue too to the point where I cant work,I have been waiting on a determination on disability so fiances are difficult at best. loseing weight but it has not helped much so far. Frustrated!! I hear that low tesosterone can be a problem?

  • Jim Russell

    My way to cope is to take, What my wife so lovingly calls, a diabetic afternoon nap! I dont let myself sleep longer than an hour but it always revitalizes me. Now as you probably have already figured out, I cant always take a nap but the more often than nots help me with the nots.

  • Gary

    I was diagnosed w/diabetes 10 yrs ago and have had sleep apnea like forever. I didn’t get a CPAP until about 6 yrs ago. There are times when I sleep 10-12-14 hrs. Other times I can’t sleep at all. I recently slept approx. 24 hrs out of hrs. (2 in bed and awake..9 in bed and awake..8 in the Lazy Boy off and on..and 5 in bed..and up) And then slept 10 hrs the next night. And then 2 hrs the next, followed by a 2 hr nap 3 hrs later. Of course, NO energy!! HELP!!!! I want to be active again!!!!!

  • Lola

    I’ve been a type 2 for many years now, on metformin & glyburide plus lipator so my AlC and colestoral are at normal levels. I have had 2 sleep studies and had a cpap which worked good but the last company I dealt with couldn’t seem to get the size of the filters right even with drawing around it and giving them dimensions … their solution was “cut them”. I gave up after the cat put a hole in the hose … figured they wouldn’t get that right either. Anyway, tired yes but I have no problem falling asleep, use a neck pillow for a pinched nerve from an accident in 1990. Been going to TOPS for many years now to keep from letting myself go too far with the weight …. have not lost a lot and have been doing the yo-yo thing off and on but am now below my starting weight once again, trying to get to the point where my first sleep dr. said I needed to be not to need the machine. My job especially during the summer makes it difficult on taking meds. and eating properly. I drive trolley at the beach and some days we are so busy it’s easy to put it in gear and say I forgot to take my pills or eat … well, next time around. Then last June I had Parkinson’s Disease thrown into the mix. One of the meds. for that I call the Dopa Twins I have to take 4 times a day and canNOT
    have protein for an hour before or an hour after taking it. So I’m constantly watching what I eat and when along with whatever my plans I have for that day to coordinate my meds. with working and going out to eat or shopping, etc. Then if I need to take them with me for the next dose as I don’t have the same schedule everyday or week. I’ve cut back this summer and my neurologist gave me a slip to limit the number or hours I can work in a 24 hour period which gives me the time I need to get the necessary rest. Straight school bus after Columbus Day when the trolleys are done is easier to handle. We all just to keep working at whatever our particular needs are … bless the woman who has both her elderly parents medical issues to take care of besides her own.

  • Gerri

    Wow! Was this article enlightening to me. I just sent 2 1/2 months in the hospital and once I was able to eat solid food again the diet was a high carb diet, to me, especially for breakfast. When I asked about it I was told IO needed the carbs to help heal my body. I’m also immunosuppressed. So now that I’m home I’m doing what was done in the hospitals and wonder why I’m dragging most of the day. Starting tomorrow meals will go back to the way I’m used to and all these carbs are going out the window. I thought I was just crazy thinking that the carbs were bogging me down. But with so much affirmation here I now know I’m not crazy. I haven’t had a sleep study officially done, but the respiratory therapists and pulmonologist who monitored me in the hospital reassured me that I do not need a CPAP/BiPAP at night. I’m glad of that because here it is over a month after I came off that and I’m still having a dry nose and nose bleeds. I am on supplemental O2 which doesn’t help.

    I’ve recently read where dairy can bog one down as well. That will be hard for me to give up. I am currently on 40mg of prednisone a day and on a taper schedule. That just zaps my body of calcium and I crave milk to where I can drink 1/2 a gallon a day and think nothing of it. When I wean off it and restore the calcium it has depleted I’ll try limiting dairy as well and see if that helps.

    As for the caffeine and energy drinks, I can’t do that. I already have a fib and my heart rate elevates easily now. Caffeine and sodium are like kryptonite to Superman. They are deadly to me. I can handle one cup of coffee on occasion in the morning, but that’s it. Not only does it mess with my heart, but being on 80mg lasix 2x daily, it doesn’t help the bladder control either. The lasix is to prevent HBP and right now pulmonary edema because of the prednisone. Once I found out that caffeine is not a diuretic, but actually irritates the bladder until the bladder flushes it out of my system I stopped consuming it as much as possible. As with anything I prefer to treat the root instead of mask the symptoms. If I EVER get to where I eat the way I really should I do believe not only will l come off the diabetes meds, but a lot of these other meds as well. At 44 I’m to young to be on nearly 20 different meds every day.

    Thanks for listening and sharing!

  • bill

    It’s a tough one. I am a 52 year old male with type 2 diabetes. I excersize at a gym 3 days a week run/walk/lift. My diet contains a very low amount of simple carbs, no bread, etc. I take Glyberide and Metformin. My numbers are good 90% of the time. Fatigue has increased more and more over the last year or so. I think as I get older my body is going to do this normally and the diabetes is going to make it more and more difficult to overcome, however with a desire to stay young and energized, I will always be adjusting my diet and my lifestyle to keep as much of the energy as possible.
    I am incorporating a time of relaxation into my lifestyle (a stress decompression time). Weather its taking time for reading, outdoor sunsets, or a walk practicing some deep breathing, it seems to help re-energize each day a bit more. I am a believer that mental attitude plays a big roll in our desired lifestyle. Stay positive, stay as healthy as you can and smell the roses. We may never be as we were in our 20s but we can still enjoy a good quality of life with a smile.

  • catgirl

    Having a cpap machine has changed my life! I also had the feeling that the sleep industry was just trying to sell stuff to me, but not only do I sleep better, I don’t wake up with a dry mouth and raw throat. I don’t always sleep through the night, and it takes a little getting used to, but give it a try if that’s the diagnosis!

  • Donna

    I get atleast 8 hrs of sleep when I do sleep. I tend to toss and turn all night. I get hot at night so I throw the covers off. Then I get cold and put them back on. I go to bed around 10:00pm and get up at 6:00am. I work a 13-14 hr shift. After I have already gotten at work and have cleaned till 10:00am and taken care of my client I go and get on the computer and start to fall asleep. I guess because I don’t sleep soundly at night I’m very sleepy. I’m not sure if Menopose has anything to do with it or not. My mom went through it at a early age. I’m 44 so I guess I might be experiencing this. I no longer have my period. Any suggestions on my troubles would be very thankful.

  • Kathy

    I was diagnosed Type I when I was 7 years old and will be 50 in Dec. I have been struggling with fatigue for quite a while now. I am also on meds for depression, and fatigue is a side effect. Not a great trade..releif from depression but low energy. I have turned to caffeine…coffee in the morning, a diet coke at noon and another coffe usually after a nap in the afternoon after work. I’m also trying a supplement called All Day Energy Greens but not seeing an immediate effect. I wake up sometimes with numbness and burning in my hands which I think may be neuropathy. My endicrinologist had a handout suggesting Borage Oil for neuropathy which I am going to try and see if it helps. I know I need to add more exercise to my schedule and lose a few pounds to see of that helps. Just waiting for the energy to get started:) I also try not to be too hard on myself and not overload my schedule. I’ve learned it’s okay to say no and to try not to compare myself to others. I am thankful that God has helped me with this and gives me grace everyday. It’s encouraging to know I’m not alone in this.

  • Brian

    I was in a hit and run car accident about 10 years ago. From subsequent surgeries and the requisite recovery/physical therapy periods that ensue, post-surgery, I gained 80 – 90 lbs. and became diabetic. The fatigue that resulted from becoming diabetic and not eating properly was debilitating.
    But, doctors only know so much, and what they do know doesn’t apply in the same ways to everyone. They run through their basic check-lists of symptomologies and applicable treatments. But, if that doesn’t work, they send you on to the next “specialist”. As a patient, I sometimes felt like a medical guinea pig, but, I digress.
    One diagnosis was that I had sleep apnea. But, what they didn’t know or say to me was that it was brought on by excess weight, and that by losing weight and regularly exercising I could reverse the condition, and sleep better on my own. Not to mention that the Cpap machine and its accessories can become very expensive and it is noisy for your spouse to put up with and very bulky to wear and to travel with. Finally, it gave me pneumonia, so I threw it and all the out of pocket expenses it caused me into the closet.
    I was also diagnosed with high cholesterol, but those drugs caused muscle pain and weakness in my legs that prevented me from getting out of bed in the morning and eventually sent me to the hospital because the pain became unbearable and we had to be sure that it was coming from the “statins” I was being treated with for high cholesterol and that it wasn’t radiating from my back injuries.
    I could go on with more stories and examples. The bottom line is this: We as patients need to be better advocates for our conditions and we need to take back our lives from the doctors and pharmaceutical companies.
    I finally had enough and decided to take matters into my own hands. I started to exercise regularly, eat more fresh foods and lots more salad. I ate more protein. I cut out most processed carbs, opting instead for whole grains, sprouted grains, and just a much lower ratio of carbs to protein in my diet. I ate very little sugar and very little sugar substitutes. The weight fell off of me. I looked better. I felt like a new and different person. My diabetic symptoms are almost all gone and as long as I don’t eat too many processed carbs or sugars, I no longer suffer from fatigue. In fact, I have much more energy and feel great for the first time in 10 years. The only thing that upsets me at this point is that it took me so long to do this on my own. But, I have my life back and it’s fun again.

  • Joanna Economakos

    Try to learn how many carbs serving you can eat without having too much in your system, since everything is so variable due to activity or inactivity.
    I think Fatigue is from uncontrolled numbers. In other words too much ‘simple syrup’ in your veins.
    Your sugar numbers can also be from eating too many carbs from the day before or eating too late at night so that A.M. numbers are high to start out with. AIC will tell if you are spiking overall.
    My diabetes is complicated by kidney disease which gets worse if you eat high protein. I went on the low Glycemic diet and because it is high in Phosphorus and Potassium, I got into trouble. My AIC WENT TO 9.5. YIKES.
    Diet and exercise are the best that I know of to fight fatigue.
    I also take Q10 and Antioxidents. They help.
    I am 80 now with little Nueropathy and decent general health, so if this helps any one; Hooray.

  • Patti

    My husband has been complaining for a few years now that I am always so tired. He often makes comments he wishes he had his old wife back. On doctor’s visits, he assumes I am just under a lot of stress because I have become the main breadwinner and I have a very stressful job (I am a nurse and work long hours). I am s thrilled to hear I am not alone!!

  • Alan Gosink

    Hello everyone. I am type II and recently I have been fighting what I call almost “passing out.” This is new for me and it is so frustrating.
    I am shocked at how little the Medical community knows about Diabetes.
    That’s it for now. Going to have t take a short nap.

  • Deanna

    I is nice to read all the comments. I am 54 received type 1 at 48 out of the blue. Not in family. No Dr. knows why. I am on the insulin pump which is amazing! but, I am so tired all the time. I feel like I sleep well. I get 8-9 hours. Jump out of bed and within 4 hours I want to go back to bed. I drink coffee first thing, than another cup after breakfast. If I have coffee at 5pm I seem to make it through the day without a nap. Coffee has no Carbs! so it is perfect. I only add 2 tab of 2% Milk. Don’t add all that sugar and carmel you will get used to it and the milk will make it taste sweet,eventually .
    I am 4’9 and weigh 109 so I am ok on weight, I could lose 5 lbs. which I often do so my jeans are not so tight lol.
    I get off my butt and I exercise I HATE it but I do it.
    I do 10 pushups,20 sit-ups,20 lunges,80 jumping jacks,60 second wall sit.You are supposed to do it 3 times,but I do it twice. every other day. It really works. don’t say you can’t do it, that is the problem, if you don’t use it you lose it. Do what you can. YOu will feel better.
    We all know diet and exercise is the key. I find if I write down every single thing I eat everyday, I don’t eat junk. I don’t want to see 4 cookies on my food list. I know better.
    I call Diabetes the pain in the a– disease. You have to think about it every 20 minutes. Eating, exercise, checking,taking medicine, insulin and more. But when I got type 1 diabetes someone said” If you have to get a disease,it’s a good one to get, You control it, don’t let it control you.” Good Health to all.

  • Caren Conrow

    I went into a coma 9 yrs ago. Sugar level was 1385.
    Believe it or not. Never knew I was diabetic until then. Was in a coma for 21/2 weeks, not expected to live and if I did, no one knew how I was going to be mentally or physically if I survived. Yes here I am 9 yrs later. Surprisingly with no side effects from the high sugar. Lost 40 lbs, A1C is lower than 6. Take one shot of Lantus at night and 1 glipizide a day. Lost weight by drinking 8 8oz glasses of water a day. Only diet that ever worked,and was never hungry. Keep weight off by cutting carbs, Talked myself into hating desserts,lol. But it worked, I cant even eat a whole donut anymore. Too sweet! My only problem is, I am tired almost every day. Would be so nice to be able to do physically, what I want to do mentally – just no energy

  • Julie

    Fatigue – Wow thought it was just me. I had read about fatigue and being a diabetic but never really thought the diabetes was the root of my problem. I started taking vitamins specific for my needs and since then I have been sleeping better and feeling more energized in the morning. I also started yoga and that seems to help thought I have to take the class in the pm as the am is a bit too much for me. I have had diabetes for 34 years now and I just couldn’t figure out why I have always been so tired. Hope this helps.

  • Julie

    I have had diabetes for 34 years now and I just couldn’t figure out why I have always been so tired. Fatigue – Wow thought it was just me. I had read about fatigue and being a diabetic but never really thought the diabetes was the root of my problem. I started taking vitamins specific for my needs and since then I have been sleeping better and feeling more energized in the morning. I also started yoga and that seems to help though I have to take the class in the pm as the am is a bit too much for me. Hope this helps.

  • Anita

    I was dx in 1990 for diabetes 2. I also have thyroid disease, OSA, plus a host of other things. I am tired/fatigued alot, dx chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia back in 1979. Lately, though, I have noticed a significant increase in my fatigue and though have tried hard, bg levels aren’t staying in good range like they used to. Of course have been under stress, husband had strokes, 2 severe head injuries and vascular dementia and has been in nursing home up and down for over 3 years.
    I would love a root cause to fatigue, but considering all wrong with my body (started when 3 months old with blood tumor and excessive radiation treatment….) I figure this is my life.
    As for Kat, have you ever been struck by lightning as you said you feel like that??? Well, I HAVE been struck, several times, and you shouldn’t use that phrase unless you’ve truly experienced it. It’s not something to joke about.
    Oh well….hope someone finds a cure or help for us diabetics…

  • D. VerSluis

    I have done so much reading over the past two years since being diagnosed with pre diabetes. I seem to have it pretty much under control just by eating right, thank God, but I am anemic. Have been anemic all my life but NOW am in deep trouble with so few red blood cells the docs are saying they don’t know how I continue to breathe, even though I have been on oxygen 24/7 for over a year! Recent reading/research has led me to info about “intrinsic factor” and Vitamin B-12, and also a possibility of celiac disease! I started taking Methyl Cobalamin Vitamin B 12 5000 mcg at noon today. I am praying for a miracle! I have been sort of confined to my bedroom for the past few months. More and more tired! More and more sleeping. More and more weakness. Can’t catch my breath! On one hand I feel there is really nothing wrong with me, and yet I have high bp, A-fib, and occasional kidney slump! Really hope this B 12 is going to save me. I will be 72 in October. Most familiy members died in 80s or around 90.

  • Denise T.

    Interesting entries here. Those of you who did not comply with the cpap may wish to try the bipap instead. It worked for me until my sinuses kept stuffing up too badly for it to work. Now I try to sleep on my side, which I missed using the machines, and I take melatonin and benadryl to help sleep. Sometimes two benadryls and up to five or ten mg or melatonin. BEWARE though of the person who advised taking advil/or anti-inflammatory because we diabetics need to watch our kidney function numbers…taking too many ibuprofens played with my numbers. My insulin is packing weight on with increased hunger. I’m a bit afraid to take appetite suppressants with a heart issue of PVC’s already. Cherish each day and don’t forget to help others when you find something that works.

  • jayne

    I wanted to read this article but I was too tired.

  • Cindy

    I stopped and read this article because I too can relate I am ALWAYS tired! But I thought the article would give the answer not just everyone saying yes they too are affected. We all know were tired so why write an article about the way we feel with no answers to the problem. I was a bit let down when all we can do is be tired.

  • Matthew C. Waterman

    Two supplements I use every day have helped a lot with this. Ubiquinol and Alpha Lipoic Acid. I always take one of each at breakfast and lunch.

  • john klares

    i use 5-hour energy to fight of being tired. i have type 2 .diabetes.i get up fore work at 5:30 am .by 7:30 iam on my way to work i have to take the 5_hour energy between 7:30 and 10:00 am to stay awake.

  • Kaye

    I, too, have Type II and find that I more fatigued in the afternoon. I have started B-12 supplements which seem to help. I read in a previous blog that someone else uses this also. While it doesn’t so much help the sleepiness issue, it does give me more energy.

  • Marie

    Fatigue is sometimes caused by low blood sugars, or possibly high sugars. It can also he caused by alcohol if you drink. I have noticed that if you excersice regularly (like silver sneakers) you have more energy also. Or just go to a gym. Do what you can do. No one is the same in the diabetic world. If you don’t pay attention you WILL have severe complications later in life.

    • Bloodyvikings

      Yeah but it’s different for every person. I know I’m 3 years late, but still, doesn’t hurt replying. I feel fatigued no matter what. I used to walk a lot but as of recently I just don’t feel like doing it anymore – I’m just too tired to bother and even when I do walk a lot I am still just as tired as before.

  • Donna Patty

    I found a product called MAXGXL. It is The Glutathione Accelerator. We all have glutathione but it is very hard to find anything that will penetrate to be able to do any good. This doctor came up with this formula to give our body what it needs to produce our own glutathione. It comes packaged 3 capsules a packet, you take one packet in the morning and a second packet in the afternoon. It took a week for me to feel more energy. Now I take it every day. I feel much better and am no longer fatigued.
    I also have sleep apnea but have not been able to use the machine because I get stuffed up and cannot breathe, so I rip off the mask in the middle of the night.

  • Sharon

    I have had diabete 1 for over fifty years. I am experiencing more fatigue as I get older. I have always had a problem with it; however, it seems to be worse now.
    Of course so long with diabetes, I have several other problems: neuropathy, hypothyroid, fibromalgia, arthritis, heart problems as well as allergies and other minor ones.
    Sometimes I just don’t feel like getting out of bed. As you can imagine, I also take a lot of medication: Novolog, effexor xr, xanax, levoxyl, hormone meds, zocor, and trilipex.
    So, any suggestions out there?

  • BeholdHim

    I have found nothing to aleviate my fatigue. It seems to be getting worse so that now I spend most of my spare time in bed. I sleep very little now for the past 7 or eight years and simply get by with rest. My exercise is almost nil ….as I am too fatigued most of the time. I never feel refreshed or rejuvinated after doing absolutely nothing. When I arise, I feel just as tired as when I went to bed. It is very frustrating seeing things that need to be done and having no energy to do even the smallest jobs.

  • Davey’sday

    This blog was very enlightening. My husband was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetis 8 years ago, just before his quadruple bypass! He’s on Metformin, but is constantly fatigued! And get this – he has very little appetite, which he blames on the meds he takes. He does NOT take Liptor or any statins, and watches his blood sugar levels rarely do they go above 140 when he tests in the morning. In the evening it usually is in the teens or below, BUT he at times experiences extreme fatigue. He does not seem to have any problems when he’s sleeping and does sleep for at least 6 hours or more at night, but his problem is if he wakes up because of “nature calling” he has trouble getting back to sleep. When he does eat and when he is hungry he does eat more carbs than he use to, because he does not have much of an appetite for protein. In fact since he has been disagnosed he can’t stand “over easy eggs”, whcih were his favorite way to eat eggs, in fact he shuns them, and would rather have something like french toast or pancakes – more carbs and more sugar! And he was never a sweet eater until the Type 2 came into play! At the most he may need to lose 20 lbs. Of course he likes his cocktails and that may be a problem! I’m going to tell him about the high protein low carb thing and see if he’s go for it. Thanks

  • Bloodyvikings

    I’ve had type-1 Diabetes since 21 years now and I just recently started feeling fatigued. I had no idea it could be related to Diabetes though. I always thought there had to be something else wrong with my body. I do have quite a lot of problems, such as pain in the shin when I walk. Sadly, no medical staff’s been able to figure out why so I’ve just learned to live with it, but the fatigue has drastically affected my daily life. I sometimes feel so tired that I could easily fall asleep right there and then. I hate it, the leg-pain only happens when I walk, but being as tired as I can be sometimes is very annoying. It’s even annoying for people around me – I mean, I’m always too tired to do things.

    I don’t live an unhealthy life. I eat the right amount of food, I’m not overweight and I try to not eat as much snacks as I’d like to. Yet, I feel like I’m a sleep-walker half of the time I am awake.