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Is it normal for a 70 year old to be tired?

It is very common for 70 year olds to experience fatigue and feel more tired than when they were younger. There are several reasons why older adults tend to feel tired more often.

Why Do 70 Year Olds Get Tired?

There are several factors that can contribute to fatigue and tiredness in 70 year olds:

  • Age-related changes – As we get older, our energy levels naturally decline. The aging process causes changes that can make us tire more easily such as decreased muscle mass, reduced lung capacity, and changes in sleep patterns.
  • Medical conditions – Many medical conditions that are more common later in life can cause fatigue including anemia, diabetes, thyroid disorders, heart disease, chronic pain, depression, dementia, and others.
  • Medications – Older adults often take more prescription medications which can commonly cause tiredness as a side effect.
  • Lifestyle factors – Lack of physical activity, poor diet, alcohol use, and lack of social engagement can all increase fatigue.
  • Sleep changes – Older adults need about the same amount of sleep but tend to get less restful sleep and find it more difficult to sleep through the night without interruptions.

All of these factors combined mean that fatigue and tiredness tends to become more pronounced as we advance in years. Feeling wiped out from time to time is very common for 70 year olds.

Normal Fatigue for a 70 Year Old

While it’s common for 70 year olds to experience fatigue, how much is normal? Here are some general guidelines:

  • Needing more rest breaks and taking longer to recover from activity
  • Feeling tired by early evening and needing to go to bed earlier
  • Occasionally needing to take short naps during the day
  • Having less energy for vigorous exercise and sports
  • Mental fatigue from tasks requiring prolonged concentration
  • Waking up already feeling tired and lacking energy

As long as the fatigue is relieved by brief rest and does not severely impair daily activities, it can be considered normal age-related tiredness. Needing a bit more rest and having less endurance overall is to be expected.

When to See a Doctor About Fatigue

While some degree of tiredness is normal with age, excessive chronic fatigue that persists over time or suddenly worsens is not. Consult a doctor if the fatigue:

  • Comes on suddenly and severely limits activity
  • Is accompanied by shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain
  • Does not improve with rest
  • Prevents independent living and self care
  • Is emotionally distressing or associated with depression

Sudden severe fatigue can indicate a new medical problem requiring diagnosis. Ongoing exhaustion interfering with daily life may require treatment of an underlying condition.

Tips to Help Combat Fatigue

While some tiredness is inevitable, there are ways 70 year olds can help reduce excessive fatigue:

  • Exercise regularly – Low to moderate intensity exercise helps increase energy and endurance.
  • Eat a balanced diet – Nutrient deficiencies can worsen fatigue.
  • Check medications – Ask doctor if any medicines may cause tiredness.
  • Treat medical conditions – Managing chronic illnesses can improve stamina.
  • Get checkups – Have any new symptoms evaluated promptly.
  • Practice good sleep habits – Go to bed and wake up on a regular schedule.
  • Reduce stress – Make time for relaxing activities.
  • Limit naps – Take brief daytime naps when needed.

Making healthy lifestyle choices, keeping medical issues under control, getting adequate rest, and using energy-boosting strategies can help minimize normal age-related fatigue.

When to Seek Medical Advice

It’s a good idea for 70 year olds to talk to their doctor if they experience:

  • Fatigue that fails to improve with rest and lifestyle adjustments
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness falling asleep unexpectedly
  • Difficulty staying asleep at night or unrefreshing sleep
  • Worsening depression along with fatigue
  • Shortness of breath or chest pain when tired
  • Feeling confused, dizzy or lightheaded when fatigued

A medical evaluation can determine if the fatigue is related to medications, sleep disorders, chronic health conditions, depression, or other treatable factors.

When to Consider Medical Testing

If the cause of fatigue remains unclear, a doctor may recommend medical tests such as:

  • Blood tests to check for anemia, thyroid problems, diabetes, vitamin deficiencies
  • Sleep study (polysomnogram) to diagnose sleep apnea or other disorders
  • Cardiac testing for heart disease if chest pain or shortness of breath present
  • Imaging tests if severe headaches or mental changes occur
  • Neurological exam to assess muscle weakness or cognitive concerns

Diagnostic testing can uncover contributing medical conditions and allow for appropriate treatment to improve fatigue levels.

How to Talk to Your Doctor About Fatigue

To get the most out of the doctor’s visit, 70 year olds should:

  • Track fatigue symptoms including time of day when worst
  • List any other symptoms experienced along with fatigue
  • Bring a list of current medications and supplements
  • Explain how the tiredness impacts daily function and quality of life
  • Describe any recent emotional changes like depressed mood
  • Ask about tests that may help determine the cause

Open communication with the doctor provides key details to determine next steps for evaluating and treating debilitating fatigue.

When to Consider Lifestyle Changes

70 year olds with fatigue related to aging and lifestyle factors may benefit from changes like:

  • Increasing moderate physical activity as able
  • Following a nutritious diet and staying hydrated
  • Reducing alcohol consumption which can impair sleep
  • Quitting smoking which can worsen fatigue
  • Losing excess weight if overweight
  • Managing stress through relaxation techniques
  • Getting outdoors in natural sunlight during the day
  • Joining community senior programs to increase socialization

Adopting healthy habits can promote energy, vitality and an overall enhanced sense of well-being.

When to Try Home Remedies

Some non-medical remedies 70 year olds can test to alleviate occasional fatigue include:

  • Taking brief daytime catnaps when needed
  • Using bright light therapy for 30 minutes in the morning
  • Drinking coffee or tea for a small caffeine boost
  • Eating energy promoting snacks like nuts, yogurt, fruits
  • Taking vitamin D, B12 or iron supplements if deficient
  • Using essential oils like peppermint, rosemary, or citrus
  • Getting a massage to promote relaxation and circulation
  • Listening to uplifting, energetic music

Natural remedies may help temporarily re-energize without medication side effects.

When to Consider Supplements and Vitamins

Certain supplements may be beneficial for 70 year olds experiencing fatigue including:

  • Vitamin D – Helps regulate energy. Older adults often deficient.
  • Vitamin B12 – Important for nerve and blood cell health.
  • Iron – Low iron can lead to anemia and exhaustion.
  • CoQ10 – Boosts cellular energy. Levels decline with age.
  • DHA Omega-3s – Helps improve cognitive fatigue and focus.
  • Magnesium – Lessens fatigue from stress.
  • Ginseng – Herbal supplement used for extra vitality.

Always consult a doctor before taking supplements which may interact with medications.

When to Consider Medical Treatments

If lifestyle measures don’t help persistent fatigue, doctors may recommend:

  • Prescription medications – Such as stimulants for wakefulness or antidepressants for low mood.
  • Sleep aids – Sleeping pills on a short term basis to help with insomnia.
  • Testosterone therapy – For men with age-related low testosterone.
  • Thyroid hormones – If thyroid deficiency is causing exhaustion.
  • Nutritional supplements – Such as melatonin, creatine, NAD+.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy – To reduce anxiety and improve coping.

Medical interventions may be appropriate when fatigue becomes disabling or significantly impacts quality of life.

Risks of Untreated Persistent Fatigue

Leaving ongoing fatigue unchecked in 70 year olds can increase risks for:

  • Falls and injuries from weakness and instability
  • Automobile accidents if driving when overly tired
  • Weight loss or poor nutrition from low energy to cook/eat
  • Weakened immune system leading to frequent infections
  • Social isolation and loneliness due to low activity tolerance
  • Worsening of depressive symptoms
  • Progression of untreated medical conditions

Severe fatigue diminishes overall health and capability to complete daily self-care activities.

The Takeaway

It is very common and normal for 70 year old adults to feel more fatigued than when they were younger. Mild fatigue generally improves with rest and is not cause for concern. However, sudden severe exhaustion or persistent tiredness interfering with daily function should be evaluated by a physician to identify and treat any contributing factors. With proper lifestyle care and management of medical issues, most 70 year olds can enjoy sufficient energy to engage meaningfully in all desired activities of daily living.