Man experiencing diabetes tiredness

Diabetes Tiredness: What Does the Research Tell Us?

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Tiredness is a common and frustrating symptom of diabetes. Among people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, approximately 61% report feeling fatigued. Similarly, among people living with type 1 diabetes, as many as 40% experience chronic fatigue. 

Despite its prevalence, the precise causes of diabetes tiredness remain unclear. Understanding the research surrounding diabetes tiredness can help you better understand the potential causes and learn how to combat fatigue.

What Causes Diabetes Tiredness?

Diabetes tiredness is believed to be a multifactorial syndrome. This means there is likely no single cause of fatigue in people living with diabetes. Instead, researchers believe diabetes tiredness is caused by a range of different factors. 

Researchers have suggested several potential factors that may contribute to fatigue in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Current research indicates that there are both endocrine-related and non-endocrine-related factors involved, as detailed below.

Potential Endocrine Factors Contributing to Diabetes Tiredness

Potential Factors


Diabetes-Related Complications

  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Heart failure
  • Diabetic myopathy
  • Diabetic nephropathy

Glycemia/Diabetes-Related Factors

  • Normal glucose levels with high A1C
  • Normal fasting glucose with post-meal hyperglycemia
  • Large glycemic variability
  • Recurrent hypoglycemia

Coexisting Endocrine Conditions

  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hypogonadism
  • Addison’s disease

Medical Treatment-Related

  • Chronic use of corticosteroids
  • Use of statins
  • Use of diuretics
  • Use of beta blockers

Potential Non-Endocrine Factors Contributing to Diabetes Tiredness

Potential Factors


Lifestyle Factors

  • Physical inactivity
  • Poor sleep hygiene
  • Substance abuse
  • Drug withdrawal
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Excessive caffeine consumption

Nutritional Factors

  • Protein malnutrition
  • Starvation ketosis
  • Excessive calorie intake
  • Excessive calorie restriction

Medical Factors

  • Anemia
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Diabetes distress and burnout
  • Dyselectrolytemia 

Combating Diabetes Tiredness

Diabetes tiredness, or diabetes fatigue syndrome, is a complex, multifactorial condition. Therefore, it’s important to speak with your healthcare team about your symptoms so they can help you determine the cause of your fatigue. 

Research suggests that diabetes tiredness related to unhealthy lifestyle habits can be mitigated through lifestyle optimization and glycemic control/effective diabetes management. These changes may include:

  • Exercising daily
  • Adhering to a diabetes diet plan
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Limiting and managing stress
  • Practicing good sleep hygiene 
  • Staying hydrated
  • Avoiding or limiting alcohol consumption
  • Taking insulin or other diabetes medications as prescribed
  • Regularly monitoring blood glucose levels

Effective diabetes management may look different for everyone. However, the goal of any diabetes management plan is to keep your blood glucose levels in range as much as possible. 

While eating a healthy diet, exercising, and adhering to treatment are fundamental to this goal, it’s also crucial to regularly check your blood glucose levels and track them over time. Among a host of benefits, routine monitoring allows you to pick up on trends and patterns to pinpoint the cause of your diabetes tiredness. For example, if you’re experiencing diabetes tiredness after a meal and your blood glucose levels are high, this could indicate you’re not eating the right carbohydrates or consuming too many carbohydrates for your insulin or medication to handle. It could also suggest that your insulin or medication dose needs to be reevaluated by your healthcare team.

Gain Deeper Insights with Patterns® for POGO Automatic®

Many things can cause diabetes tiredness. But by regularly checking your blood glucose levels and tracking them over time, you may be able to identify trends and patterns that not only help you pinpoint the cause but also help you better understand your diabetes and how to best manage it.

Patterns is a free app that comes with POGO Automatic, the first FDA-cleared all-in-one blood glucose monitor with 10-test cartridge technology, eliminating the need to carry separate lancets and test strips. This innovative app was built to comply with HIPAA rules and offers the following:

  • Automatic syncing of POGO Automatic data via Bluetooth so you can easily track your blood glucose results on your iOS- or Android-based phone
  • Easy data importing from popular wellness apps, including Fitbit®, Garmin®, Apple® Health, and Omron® 
  • Blood sugar event notifications and tips
  • Test reminders 

Finding the right diabetes management tools can be powerful. Having the ability to understand how specific factors impact your glucose levels (and thereby your energy levels) can provide you and your healthcare team with valuable insights.

Ready to Have Freedom at Your Fingertip?

POGO Automatic is the only FDA-cleared blood glucose monitor that lances and collects blood automatically, in one simple step, with its 10-test cartridge technology, eliminating the need to carry separate lancets and test strips. Reach out today to learn more about how you can test your blood without interrupting your day.

 Robert Miller, customer experience specialist

Robert Miller

Robert Miller is a customer experience specialist committed to helping people navigate the world of diabetes. He focuses on finding innovative tools and strategies that make diabetes management easier to support long-term wellness.

All content on this website is for educational purposes only and does not replace the guidance of your healthcare practitioner. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new healthcare regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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