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Fatigue in Spondylitis

"Fatigue has been recognized as one of the major complaints among patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases," state Croatian researchers in a recent study.

But what causes fatigue in spondylitis?

Fatigue can be caused by many things related to spondylitis such as loss of sleep because of physical discomfort, as well as uncontrolled pain. It can also be a by-product of the disease itself.

Spondylitis causes inflammation. When inflammation is present, your body must use energy to counteract it. The release of cytokines during the process of inflammation can produce a sensation of fatigue, as well as mild to moderate anemia. Anemia may also contribute to a feeling of tiredness. Treating the inflammation caused by spondylitis can assist in decreasing fatigue and anemia. Treatment options should be discussed with your doctor.

The Croatian researchers conclude that, "…the intensity of fatigue should be assessed more frequently in patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases as a marker of both disease activity and functional ability."

SAA receives no government funding and relies on the generous donations from individuals to create and maintain the programs and services aimed at improving the futures of the 2.7 million Americans affected by spondylitis.

How It Feels

Some years ago, we asked the community on our message boards to describe what the fatigue of spondylitis feels like. Here are some of their responses:

"Some days it feels like wanting to blend into the sofa, so that none of my family members will notice that I am there and ask or expect me to do anything."
— Christie, Huntington Beach, CA

"I liken it to wearing a jacket containing 40-pound weights in each pocket, while slogging through a vat of molasses with suction cups glued to the bottom of your shoes."
— Michael, New York, NY

"No amount of sleep will reduce the fatigue that makes me feel like I'm walking around all day with one of those lead aprons that they use at the dentist's office for X-ray protection. It feels like when you experienced a BAD case of the flu - pre AS."
— Tim, Phoenix, AZ

"I lie in bed at night and will myself to move because it hurts so much to actually do it. In addition, when I 'wake up' in the morning, if I actually managed to get some sleep, I feel like I haven't even been in bed. It's such an overwhelming sense of exhaustion. Arms and legs feel like lead - and there is a sense of failure - even though you know this is not the case."
— Crystal, Cleveland, OH

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