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Fact sheetBMT long-term follow up fact sheets

Published on 27 Nov 2020


Fatigue

This fact sheet is for people who have had a blood and marrow transplant (BMT).

BMT patients may experience health complications in the months or years following the transplant. Long-term follow up has an important role in the early detection of any health issues.

This fact sheet has general information about ways to look after your health. If you have specific concerns, speak to your BMT team or your doctor for further information and advice.

What is fatigue?

Fatigue is one of the most common issues that people describe after a BMT. It is often described as feeling very tired or exhausted after doing little or no activity.

Fatigue can occur gradually or suddenly, and it can also occur at any time after a BMT. Energy levels generally improve within a few months, but fatigue can sometimes persist for more than a year after a BMT.

No matter how long the fatigue lasts, it can have a significant impact on everyday function and on quality of life.

What can cause fatigue?

  • Infection
  • Chronic pain
  • Hormone changes
  • Side effects of medications
  • Inadequate sleep
  • Immobility
  • Dehydration from not drinking enough water
  • Anaemia (low amount of red cells)
  • Inadequate nutrition
  • The ‘burden’ of medical appointments and tests
  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Difficulty coping with illness or symptoms
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Previously existing health issues
  • Lack of exercise
  • Loss of ‘purpose’ or identity

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of fatigue can differ between people, and may include:

  • restlessness
  • weakness
  • inability to concentrate
  • difficulty making decisions
  • lack of energy
  • muscle pain
  • difficulty sleeping
  • difficulty getting up in the morning
  • feeling anxious or depressed
  • shortness of breath, especially after minimal activity
  • difficulty getting motivated.

If fatigue is identified, how is it treated?

It is important to discuss how you are feeling with your healthcare team.

There may be health issues that are contributing to your fatigue which can be addressed. Your GP, BMT team may also be able to provide some tips or advise about services that may assist you.

If you have anxiety or depression or have difficulty coping with the effects of BMT, you may be referred to a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist.

Where can I find further information?

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