What causes lethargy? 35 possible conditions

Viewing 1 - 20 of 35 results

What Is Lethargy?

Lethargy is a state of generalized fatigue or sluggishness, sometimes with decreased alertness.

Alternative Names

Lethargic.

Synopsis

It is normal to have periods of low energy when one needs to rest and recuperate. However, if low energy persists and a person continually feels sluggish, disinterested in life, and has low energy, the situation should be investigated by a physician. Depression is a common cause of lethargy, but there may be other medical problems causing low energy, such as low thyroid hormone.

Associated Diagnoses

  • Depression
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Major depression
  • Post-partum depression
  • Lyme disease
  • Stroke
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Reye’s syndrome
  • Sleep apnea
  • Pituitary cancer
  • Kidney failure
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Side effects of medications
  • Narcotic overdose

Diagnosis and Treatment

A thorough evaluation by a physician is indicated for persistent lethargy. The treatment will depend on the underlying problem and the severity of the symptoms.

Call 911 if:

Lethargy worsens and leads to decreased responsiveness or if a person is difficult to arouse, unable to answer questions or does not know their name or where they are.

Read More

See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.

1

Depression Overview

Depression is a mood disorder that can cause extreme and persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness. Depression type largely determines what kind of medical treatment is best.

Read more »

2

AIDS

HIV causes progressive failure of the immune system, making the body far more susceptible to infections and cancer.

Read more »

3

CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a debilitating disorder characterized by intense fatigue that cannot be cured with sleep. Mental and physical activities may cause symptoms to worsen. When fatigue cannot be linked to ...

Read more »

4

Swine Flu

Swine flu, also known as H1N1, is a highly contagious virus with symptoms similar to common influenza types. It spreads quickly from person to person, and can linger on tables and surface areas.

Read more »

5

Dehydration

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid than you drink. The most common cause of water loss from the body is excessive sweating. Headaches, dizziness, and decreased urination are symptoms.

Read more »

6

Septicemia

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Septicemia is bacterial infection spread through the entire vascular system of the body. If untreated, it can result in sepsis, a life-threatening inflammation. A main symptom is blue lips or finger nails.

Read more »

7

Subdural Hematoma

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Subdural hematoma is an accumulation of blood on the brain's surface beneath the skull that's usually caused by a head injury and can be fatal. Headache, seizure, and slurred speech are signs.

Read more »

8

Hypovolemic Shock

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Hypovolemic shock is a life-threatening condition that results when you lose more than 20 percent (one-fifth) of your body's blood or fluid supply. This severe fluid loss makes it impossible for the heart to pum...

Read more »

9

Cardiogenic Shock

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Cardiogenic shock is a rare condition in which the heart is so damaged that it is unable to supply sufficient blood to bodily organs. Sweating and cold extremities are potential signs of this condition.

Read more »

10

Stroke Overview

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

A stroke (a "brain attack") is a medical emergency in which part of the brain is deprived of oxygen. This occurs when an artery that supplies oxygenated blood to the brain becomes damaged and brain cells begin to die.

Read more »

11

PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a condition that affects a woman's emotions, physical health, and behavior during certain days of the month generally just before her menstrual period. PMS symptoms start five to 11 day...

Read more »

12

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where breathing sporadically and repeatedly stops and starts while a person sleeps. Learn about the causes and treatments for sleep apnea now.

Read more »

13

Anorexia Nervosa

Almost everyone worries about gaining too much weight. But in some people the worry becomes obsessive, causing a condition called anorexia nervosa. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that can result in severe weigh...

Read more »

14

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression. People affected by SAD display symptoms of depression at the same time every year, typically during the fall and winter months. According to the America...

Read more »

15

Botulism

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Botulism (or "botulism poisoning") is a rare, but very serious illness that is transmitted through a very common source-the food we eat. Botulism poisoning is caused by a type of bacteria that is present everywher...

Read more »

16

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression affects as many as 13 percent of new mothers. In the U.S., that's half a million women. Learn about symptoms, causes, risks, and more.

Read more »

17

Kwashiorkor

Kwashiorkor is the most common and widespread nutritional disorder in developing countries. It is a form of malnutrition caused by not getting enough protein in your diet. Every cell in your body contains protein. Yo...

Read more »

18

Shaken Baby Syndrome

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Shaken baby syndrome is caused by forcefully and violently shaking a baby. Other names for this condition include abusive head trauma, shaken impact syndrome, whiplash shake syndrome, and inflicted head injury. Shake...

Read more »

19

Necrotizing Enterocolitis

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is inflammation and death of intestinal tissue. It may involve just the lining of the intestine or the entire thickness of the intestine. In severe cases, the intestine may even perforat...

Read more »

20

Hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus is a condition that occurs when fluid builds up in the skull and causes the brain to swell. The name literally means "water on the brain." Brain damage can occur as a result of the fluid buildup. This ca...

Read more »

This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.
  • Page 1 of 2
Advertisement
Are you experiencing other symptoms?

I'm experiencing:

Choose from list of symptoms:

Advertisement