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June 22, 1984

Lassitude: A Primary Care Evaluation

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Family Practice and Community Health, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis.

JAMA. 1984;251(24):3272-3276. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340480054029

LASSITUDE is one of those wonderful words rarely used by patients today, although its synonyms (fatigue, weariness, tiredness, or listlessness) represent some of the most common complaints in primary care. For example, the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey1 found fatigue to be the seventh most frequent initial complaint in US medical offices. In 1975, there were 10.5 million visits for this problem, and 25% of the time it was a new concern. If the Danish population is comparable, those seeking medical help for tiredness are but a small proportion of the afflicted. A stratified sample of 1,050 forty-year-old Danes found that 41% of the women and 25% of the men felt "tired at present."2

Despite being so common, lassitude receives scant attention in the medical literature. That may be partly because of that very commonness, and partly because lassitude is a symptom rather than a diagnosis. Moreover, the