Factors associated with fatigue in patients attending a family medicine health center in Erbil city


Background and objective: Fatigue, is a common presenting symptom in primary care which negatively impacts work performance, family life, and social relationships. The aim of this study is to determine the causes of fatigue and to explore the relationship between fatigue and physical, mental, social and demographic factors among patients with special reference to gender. Methods: A cross sectional study was carried out at the Brayati Family Medicine Center in Erbil city from 1st of July to the 31st of October 2011. We studied 320 patients of both genders attending the center for various reason complaining from fatigue. Formal consent was obtained. Demographic data in addition to two questionnaires were completed, Lowa fatigue scale and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Results: 86 males (26.88%) and 234 females (73.12%). The age of the subjects varied from 16-74 years .The mean age was 29.2 years, 39.69% were in the age range 30-44 years. 58.12% were illiterate or read and write only; 65.63% were married and 57.19% reported their economic level as medium. 38.44% were fatigued according to lowa fatigue scale. Higher level was detected among older age group, singles, and low economic and minimum educational status (51.16%, 45.31%, 41.80%, 41.18 and 42.57% respectively). Depression was significantly associated with fatigue, 70% of patients who were depressed complained from fatigue. Findings indicated that, in addition to increasing anxiety among the study sample, higher levels of fatigue were detected in 61.36% of them. Conclusion: Fatigue as a symptom is very common both in community and health care settings but remains medically unexplained. The most important confounders in our studied population were depression and anxiety.