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What to Look for When a Child Is Always Tired

By Sandy Schroeder

Tiredness can be a tricky complaint with kids. They may have stayed up too late, be catching a cold, or simply want to avoid some boring task. With the start of the school season, sports, and holidays, a little tiredness might be expected. However, ongoing tiredness can signal a problem. If a child complains of tiredness for a week or more, it needs to be checked out.

Harvard Health outlines some of the causes.

Not enough sleep - Kids need at least 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night. If they lose sleep they may become cranky and complain of tiredness.

Chronic illness like asthma - Fatigue can be caused by a chronic problem such as asthma with shortness of breath interrupting sleep.

Waking up at night - If there is some new stress issue at home or at school, kids may keep waking up and be sleepy the next day.

Impact of medications - Some medications such as the ones for allergies can make a child feel sleepy and tired.

Effect of anemia - When there are not enough red cells in the blood to provide the cells with oxygen, fatigue develops.

Sleep apnea impacts breathing - Enlarged tonsils or adenoids can interrupt breathing and keep a child awake.

Heart issues - If a child is born with a weak heart or develops one during an infection, it can generate tiredness.

Serious illness such as cancer - An early symptom is tiredness.

Ongoing infections - Some infections such as Epstein-Barr virus can last for months and make a child very tired.

Hypothyroidism - The body slows down when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone, and the result is an overall sluggishness.

Anxiety or depression - When life creates waves of tension and unhappiness a child may be exhausted by the impact.

What to Do

After reviewing patterns and symptoms, if the situation persists take the child to the pediatrician for a complete checkup. Talk about the sleeping patterns, any other things that are going on at home, and the various complaints of fatigue. A review of growth patterns and other illnesses, along with blood, urine, MRIs and psychological testing may be used to pinpoint the cause of the tiredness. It may take a period of observation with more testing to root out the problem. As the condition is identified and treated, monitor the child for additional symptoms or new patterns.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Loveland, Colo.

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