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Study Finds Fatigue Linked to Quality of Sleep

Report From the XIV International AIDS Conference

July 31, 2002

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

Fatigue has long been associated with HIV/AIDS. In some people with HIV/AIDS (PHAs), fatigue can be so severe that it is disabling. There are many factors which can cause fatigue, including the following:
  • less-than-normal levels of red blood cells (anemia)
  • nutrient deficits
  • drug side effects
  • depression and/or anxiety
  • infections
  • sleep problems

Researchers at the University of South Carolina investigated several possible causes of fatigue, focusing on the quality of sleep.


Study Details

The research team surveyed 57 subjects (60% female, 40% male) who were attending an HIV clinic. The average age of the subjects was 31 years. The team also reviewed medical charts.

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Results

Researchers found that fatigue is common and appears early in the course of HIV disease. They also found that quality of sleep and stress levels were linked to having fatigue. Indeed, these two factors accounted for more than 60% of the cases of fatigue. The following trends were also confirmed by the team:

  • In the early, symptom-free stage of HIV disease, PHAs tend to have problems falling asleep and staying asleep.
  • In the stage where there are some symptoms of HIV disease, difficulty falling asleep and daytime tiredness become more common.
  • In people with AIDS, "extreme" sleep disruption and fatigue are common.

These problems with sleep and fatigue greatly affected the quality of life of the subjects. Further research is needed to understand the cause of sleeping problems in PHAs as well as how to remedy them.


Reference

  1. Phillips KD, Sowell RL and Rojas M. Correlates of fatigue in HIV disease. XIV International AIDS Conference, July 7-12, 2002, Barcelona. Poster MoPeB3200.

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!



  
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This article was provided by Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange. Visit CATIE's Web site to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
 
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