Fatigue in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a qualitative study of people's experiences
Article first published online: 20 MAR 2013
© 2013 Nordic College of Caring Science. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Volume 28, Issue 1, pages 130–138, March 2014
How to Cite
Scand J Caring Sci; 2014; 28; 130–138 Fatigue in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a qualitative study of people's experiences
- Issue published online: 22 JAN 2014
- Article first published online: 20 MAR 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 24 JAN 2013
- Manuscript Received: 14 JUN 2012
- The County Council of Norrbotten
- COPD ;
- insider perspective;
- content analysis;
Fatigue is reported to be one of the most common symptoms among people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD. However, there is hardly any qualitative research describing how fatigue affects people living with this illness.
To describe people's experience of fatigue in daily life when living with moderate to very severe COPD.
A purposive sample of 20 people with COPD stages II–IV was recruited from the Obstructive Lung Disease in Northern Sweden COPD study. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with participants regarding their experience of fatigue. The interviews were subjected to qualitative content analysis.
One theme was identified: Reconcile with the dimensions of fatigue, and four categories were identified: To understand the reasons of fatigue, To preserve fatigue unexpressed, When fatigue takes control and How to manage fatigue. Fatigue seems to be an always-present feeling, involving the whole body, raising feelings of hopelessness and controlling one's life. It seems to be accepted as a natural consequence of COPD and may therefore remain unexpressed. Further, when experienced with dyspnoea, fatigue becomes even heavier and more difficult to manage. To gain control of fatigue, people plan daily life and continue with physical activities.
Fatigue affects the daily lives of people with COPD. Perceived with dyspnoea, fatigue was described as overwhelming. Most importantly, fatigue seems to be unexpressed to healthcare professionals and relatives.