Tips for Dealing With Fatigue When You Have Sjogren’s Syndrome
Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder characterized by symptoms such as dryness in the mouth and throat, eyes, skin, vagina, and other organs. Dryness in these organs can lead to irritation, soreness, and pain. Patients with primary Sjogren’s syndrome report fatigue as one of the most difficult symptoms they have to cope with.
Here are a few tips to deal with fatigue if you have been diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome.
Get the severity of your fatigue assessed
Before using techniques to deal with fatigue, assess the severity of your fatigue using the fatigue severity scale (FSS). The FSS is a nine-point questionnaire rated on a scale of 1 to 7, with a mean score above 5 indicating severe fatigue and requiring clinical attention.
While the FSS is a generic fatigue assessment scale, your doctor may use the more recent EULAR Sjogren’s syndrome patients reported index that assesses the multi-dimensional nature of fatigue across dryness, fatigue, and musculoskeletal pain on a scale of 0 to 10.
Identify the type of fatigue
There are 13 types of fatigue that Sjogren’s syndrome patients usually experience. Identifying the type of fatigue you have is essential before taking appropriate measures to mitigate the effects.
For example, if you are experiencing the so-called tired-wired fatigue, which occurs due to taking certain medications such as prednisone or consuming excess caffeine, decreasing their intake may reduce the severity of this type of fatigue.
Eat well and often
Eating an anti-inflammatory diet is one of the ways to reduce Sjogren’s syndrome flares and provide adequate nutrition, thereby reducing fatigue. Ensure that your diet consists of food with high fiber, healthy fats, and spices such as garlic, ginger, and turmeric. Colorful whole fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Moderate amounts of organic meat are also helpful. Avoid trans fats, refined oils, red meat, and foods that can potentially cause allergies.
Dehydration is one of the known causes of fatigue. Ensure that you are well-hydrated at all times by drinking adequate quantities of water at regular intervals. You can also eat juicy fruits or consume health drinks, but make sure to avoid alcohol and caffeine as much as possible.
Light to moderate exercise can help in losing weight, managing stress, and beating fatigue. Consult a physiotherapist or occupational therapist before starting any exercise regiment to avoid potential injuries.
Take frequent breaks
Take frequent and adequate breaks at work so that you don’t feel overstressed. Talk to human resources and explain your condition so that they understand your need to work at a comfortable pace.
Get yourself checked for thyroid problems or anemia
Thyroid problems and anemia are common in Sjogren’s syndrome patients and can cause fatigue. Usually, fatigue due to thyroid dysfunction and anemia can be resolved when the underlying problem is taken care of. Get yourself examined for these issues and follow your doctor’s suggestions.
Be mentally active
Sjogren’s syndrome patients often complain of cognitive dysfunction fatigue, also known as “brain fog.” Brain fog impairs concentration and causes fuzzy thinking and difficulty in problem-solving. Keep your stress levels low, take part in daily activities, read books, and socialize with friends to help overcome brain fog.
Get help for depression
Psychological problems such as anxiety and depression can cause emotional fatigue that can be equally as taxing as the physical problems. You should consult a doctor as soon as you notice signs of depression or anxiety.
Ensure adequate sleep
Poor sleep is one of the common causes of fatigue. Symptoms of pain and dryness in Sjogren’s syndrome can create trouble in getting to sleep and staying asleep. Ensure you are able to minimize dryness in your throat, eyes, skin, and other organs before heading to bed. Use a humidifier in your bedroom if needed. If working late-night shifts, get adequate rest prior to your shift or talk to your supervisor to see if your schedule can be relaxed or changed to suit your needs.
Last updated: Feb. 17, 2020
Sjogren’s Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.