Are you tired of feeling tired all the time? When you’re dealing with chronic fatigue, it’s important to identify the root cause of your fatigue. While many contributing factors exist, there’s also a two-way link between fatigue and brain tumors. Fatigue can be a symptom of brain tumors, and dealing with a brain tumor can be exhausting, but how exactly are these two conditions linked?
Read on as our neurology specialists explain the connection between chronic fatigue and brain tumors and what we can do at Link Neuroscience Institute to help.
Understanding chronic fatigue syndrome
Also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, chronic fatigue is more than just feeling a little sleepy. It’s debilitating exhaustion and can impact your ability to work, do chores, or simply enjoy the day. It’s characterized by intense fatigue, malaise that sets in after any level of exertion, sleep disturbances, cognitive impairments, “brain fog,” and other debilitating symptoms.
While the exact cause of chronic fatigue syndrome remains unknown, it’s likely due to a combination of genetic, environmental, and immune factors.
Exploring the connection between fatigue and brain tumors
According to a 2022 review that studied the link between different types of cancer and chronic fatigue, researchers found an increased incidence of brain tumors in people with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Researchers have noted that individuals diagnosed with brain tumors, especially those affecting specific regions of the brain, often experience chronic fatigue as a prominent symptom. However, chronic fatigue alone is not indicative of a brain tumor. Fibromyalgia, side effects of medication, and poor sleep hygiene can also contribute to fatigue.
Brain tumors can also contribute to fatigue that results from cancer treatments. Known as cancer-related fatigue, this is a common side effect of chemotherapy.
Brain tumors may also contribute to fatigue, depending on where they are located in your brain. Brain tumors can disrupt the normal functioning of your hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands. This can lead to alterations in hormone production. Because hormones play a vital role in regulating energy levels and sleep-wake cycles, any hormonal imbalance can also impact your energy levels.
Inflammation and immune dysfunction
Inflammation and immune dysfunction also play significant roles in both chronic fatigue and the development of brain tumors. Chronic fatigue syndrome involves immune system dysregulation, which can lead to increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. This inflammatory response requires energy from your body, leaving you feeling fatigued.
The impact of brain tumors on neurological function could also contribute to chronic fatigue. Tumors in specific brain regions can interfere with neurotransmitter systems and disrupt neural networks involved in regulating energy levels, mood, and cognitive function. In other words, these disruptions may also contribute to the development of chronic fatigue symptoms.
The stress of dealing with a brain tumor diagnosis can also contribute to chronic fatigue. Stress can make it hard to get a good night of sleep, and if you can’t, you start the day with an empty tank.
Not sure if your brain tumor and fatigue are connected?
Whether your brain tumor contributed to fatigue or the stress and treatment of your tumor contributed to fatigue, the reality is that the connection between chronic fatigue and brain tumors is strong. That being said, chronic fatigue isn’t enough to diagnose a brain tumor. Our team excels at diagnosing and treating a variety of brain tumors, including benign and cancerous tumors.
If you have concerns about your fatigue or a brain tumor, call the location of your choice — Oxnard or Santa Barbara, California — to book your appointment. You can also use our online booking tool to get started.