Tips for managing fatigue for people living with PBC from Dr. Jennifer Pate, Chief of Psychiatry at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center.
I’m Dr. Jennifer Pate. I’m Chief of Psychiatry here at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center.
Up to 85 percent of patients with PBC experience significant fatigue, and this can be a feeling of tiredness, a feeling of exhaustion, a feeling of cognitive impairment, and this doesn’t always improve with adequate rest.
Fatigue-like itching is independent of disease severity. Somebody with PBC who has a very early course of the illness may have severe fatigue, whereas somebody who’s awaiting transplant may not have much fatigue at all.
It’s important to structure your day to manage fatigue. If you have different tasks that require you to be productive, it may be that you want to schedule those first thing in the morning. It’s also important to look at your sleep and make sure you’re not doing things that are jeopardizing your sleep quality such as being on electronic devices at night, drinking caffeine too late in the day, having the bedroom be too warm at night. Some of those things can interfere with adequate sleep.
What we have learned in the research is that depression and fatigue are two totally separate issues, so if a patient has depression, that needs to be treated separately.