Tiredness a common complaint

Tiredness, headaches, aching muscles and joints, back ache and insomnia are often heard complaints among the Dutch population. The most common problem is tiredness. When asked whether they had felt tired in the last two weeks, more than two in five people answered affirmatively in 2001. One third of them also had pain in their muscles or joints. Relatively many people complained of headaches, aching muscles and joints and insomnia.

Vague symptoms among population over 4 years of age, 2001

More women with vague symptoms

More women than men suffered from all five of these vague symptoms. Tiredness was the most mentioned complain for both men and women, though.

Vague symptoms by sex, 2001

Older people suffer more insomnia

As people grow older, they suffer more from insomnia. Nearly 30 percent of people aged 65 and older had trouble sleeping. Tiredness and headaches were most common among 12–19 and 20–44 year-olds. These are the groups that lead busy lives with school, work and family. People aged 45–64 years and the over-65’s mentioned these problems significantly less often. These older people did increasingly suffer from muscle and joint pain, though. Children had fewest complaints.

Vague symptoms by age, 2001

Higher educated just as tired as lower educated people

People with only primary education reported feeling tired just as often as vocational college and university graduates. Only among people with a pre-vocational qualification was the number of people suffering from tiredness lower. People with only primary education, and with a pre-vocational qualification reported the most headaches.

Vague symptoms by educational level, 2001 (12 yrs and older)

Less back ache among higher educated

The lower the educational level, the more people suffered from back ache. The same was true for aching joints and muscles and sleeping problems.

Linda Rozendaal and Ferdy Otten