Multiple Sclerosis Fatigue Symptoms

Multiple sclerosis is one of the most crippling, degenerative autoimmune disorders affecting mobility, sensation and organ function. This disease is brought on by the decay of the myelin insulation sheaths covering neurons in the brain and spinal cord. As the myelin is destroyed, the messages are delivered at a slower rate, which affects speech, mobility, and vision. MS affects approximately one quarter of a million people in the United States, primarily between the ages of 20 and 40, with more women than men affected. Multiple sclerosis fatigue symptoms are a common ailment among MS sufferers and extensive research has been done in this area to find treatment options.

Fatigue is usually one of the first symptoms of MS sufferers but usually hard to pinpoint, and is thus referred to as an invisible symptom, although it can have a major impact on the quality of life for those with multiple sclerosis. Fatigue can be triggered by a number of factors and can vary greatly from one person to the next. Diagnosing fatigue can be difficult as it is not a general feeling of being tired, but more of a feeling of exhaustion for no explained reason. In short, it is much more than feeling tired, but patients suffering from multiple sclerosis fatigue symptoms find it difficult to describe.

For many people the multiple sclerosis fatigue symptoms can come and go unexpectedly without any warning, with worsening symptoms replaced with new ones at a moment’s notice. Sometimes the limbs are affected, feeling heavy, and at other times, concentration and vision can worsen for brief spells of time. Some people with MS complain of flu-like symptoms. There are many things that can bring on MS symptoms. Some of these include hot weather, a hot bath, over-exertion, extreme tiredness, a heavy meal, or stress. Fatigue is categorized in two categories: primary and secondary.

Primary fatigue is believed to caused by the MS process itself and caused by the demyelination in the central nervous system. The degradation causes the slowing of the messages from the brain and spinal cord. Secondary fatigue is believed to not be directly caused by multiple sclerosis itself but rather when the body tries to compensate for the symptoms caused by multiple sclerosis. In some examples, a sleep disturbance can be due to spasms, bladder problems, or general pain. These factors can contribute to MS related fatigue. There are also side effects from medications, stress, depression, and other symptoms which can cause secondary fatigue.

There are many ways to treat fatigue once it is diagnosed in MS patients. But first it is important to find out what is triggering the symptoms to better know how to fight it. They may be caused by other symptoms that can be treated. The many multiple sclerosis fatigue symptoms can be managed by MS nurses and MS special occupational therapists. Many of these health care workers operate fatigue management courses that teach patients strategies to help reduce fatigue and deal with day to day activities as they live with multiple sclerosis. Some patients find that a change in their daily routine can alleviate many of the symptoms associated with fatigue.

Doctors and researchers note that it is very important for MS sufferers to listen to their bodies. If they feel like they need to rest, then it is important to rest when able to. For days that require more energy, it is important to be well rested to contend with this change in schedule. These notes and suggestions are considered basic fatigue management skills. By learning how to conserve energy for the times it is most needed, MS sufferers can eliminate alot of the fatigue symptoms and life becomes much easier. Additionally, doctors advise that patients try to maintain a level of fitness that can help them better contend against the symptoms of fatigue. The muscles should be exercised and strengthened as much as possible, within limitations. It is advised never to exercise to the point of exhaustion. After a session of aerobic activity, MS sufferers should have a feeling of more energy, not less. The body emits warning signals as to when it is time to stop and rest.

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