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October 5, 1957


JAMA. 1957;165(5):605-607. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.72980230003016

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Fatigue is the most prevalent limiting factor in the pursuit of an active, happy, and useful way of life by older persons. Fatigue is both a symptom in itself and a symptom complex. Generalized fatigue is a vague physical, mental, and emotional depression known to everyone but difficult to describe specifically except through synonyms such as weariness, weakness, tiredness, exhaustion, lassitude, malaise, spent, strained, overworked, and "worn-out." It is often accompanied by loss of mental acuity, impairment of memory and perception, headache, disturbances of emotional and reflex reactivity, loss of visual acuity and accommodation, functional gastrointestinal and sphincter disorders, changes in cardiac rate, rhythm, and circulatory tone, and muscular weakness and tremor. Fatigue is also accompanied by many bodily chemical and endocrine changes, reference to which is beyond the scope of this paper.

Causes of Fatigue  Fatigue is an almost universal symptom of disease. It is often the chief complaint

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