What Are Symptoms Of Fatigue
There are two major types of fatigue in MS. These two types of fatigue are probably separate problems related to the MS.
The first type is a general feeling of tiredness. It may feel as if one has not slept the night before. This feeling may be worse in the afternoons or after activity. People may feel that they are unable to do as many tasks without getting tired as they did before.
A second type of fatigue is muscular. In this type, there is increased weakness after repeated activity. Often, this occurs with walking. People may find that they are dragging one leg or are more unsteady.
Recognize And Manage Depression
Depression can be a major problem in MS. And depression often contributes to fatigue. Symptoms include changes in appetite or sleep, irritability, and a feeling of hopelessness or guilt.
Make sure to discuss your depression with your healthcare provider because it is treatable. Counseling and medication can help your depression and may alleviate your depression-induced fatigue as well.
What Causes Ms Fatigue
Scientists currently dont fully understand the exact cause of MS-related fatigue. Some think that fatigue may be related to the constant activation of the immune system, sort of like having the flu virus at all times.
Others theorize that fatigue is related to the need for the brain to work harder in people with MS.
MRI scans have shown that people with MS fatigue use a larger area of the brain to perform tasks than people without fatigue. In response to nerve damage, the brain of a person with MS may be finding new routes for sending messages. This is thought to take more energy.
The feeling of fatigue may also be a result of the muscle weakness associated with MS.
Certain complications of MS can also induce fatigue. This may be referred to as a secondary cause. Complications of MS that may also cause fatigue symptoms include:
Fatigue can also be a side effect of certain medications, such as those used to treat spasticity, pain, and bladder dysfunction.
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What Does Ms Fatigue Feel Like
Members of MyMSTeam describe chronic, profound fatigue that does not usually improve with a nap or a cup of coffee. Here are some descriptions of MS fatigue from members in their own words:
- My body just shuts down.
- Utter weariness.
- Like taking three sleeping pills and still trying to function normally.
- My brain and body just stop working.
- I’ll crawl at times, sit on the floor, then I can get up and take a few more steps.
- Bone-crushing fatigue.
- Fatigue is a never-ending battle.
MyMSTeam members also discuss how MS fatigue affects their relationships with friends, family, and romantic partners. Members describe disappointment and resentment from loved ones who do not understand how severe and unrelenting their fatigue from multiple sclerosis can be.
Fatigue Makes Simple Tasks Feel Impossible
For me, when fatigue sets in, it feels like my entire body is weighed down. Like Im submerged in an invisible layer of quicksand that makes every move extremely arduous. The simplest of tasks becomes incredibly difficult. I could be lying on the couch and just trying to reach for the remote control can seem like a near-impossible task. Thats something that I dont think people understand. Its not just that Im too exhausted to go do something, Im too exhausted to do anything. Simple tasks like taking a drink of water or going to the bathroom become astonishingly difficult for me.
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Cognitive Changes And Ms
About half of all people with MS will experience issues with aspects of cognition, memory, attention span, planning, decision-making, understanding or concentration. These symptoms may be mild and not noticed by others or can be more serious, and begin impacting on employment, social interactions and relationships.
Reporting cognitive changes early to your GP, MS nurse or neurologist, can lead to a formal assessment to identify specific areas of concern and interventions to better manage your cognitive function and quality of life.
How Is Ms Fatigue Different To Ordinary Fatigue
MS fatigue is more than the tiredness that everybody feels after exertion or missing a good nights sleep. This type of tiredness can still affect you, but MS fatigue goes beyond that.
MS fatigue can be physical and mental it saps energy in an instant and can stop you from completing tasks. MS fatigue can be very debilitating and, unlike ordinary fatigue, it can take a long time to recover from.
MS fatigue is often overwhelming. It can happen at any time without warning or without any apparent reason. Some people say they experience MS fatigue after gentle activities such as writing or reading and they immediately need to rest.
Others say that MS fatigue happens after physical exertion, such as taking the dog for a walk or doing the shopping. For others, MS fatigue can happen after cognitive exertion such as working on the computer and completing mentally-demanding tasks. You may also experience MS fatigue when you wake up, in some cases every day, even after a good nights sleep.
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What Are Some Medical Treatments For Ms
In general, if possible, it is good to avoid using medications. People with MS often take several medications. Limiting the number of medicines is good medical practice. It is also important in reducing costs. However, if fatigue continues to interfere with activities, medications may be useful. These medications may include:
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/28/2019.
Does Ms Medication Help With Fatigue Multiple Sclerosis
While medications used to treat multiple sclerosis may not help ease fatigue, they may help keep you awake and manage your tiredness.
Presently, there are no FDA-approved drugs for treating MS-related fatigue. Doctors may prescribe off-label medications, such as:
Besides medications, doctors may prescribe other measures to manage fatigue, which include:
- Sufficient physical activity
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Tips To Conserve Energy
Use Adaptive Aids.Reachers, dressing aids, and other adaptive equipment can significantly help conserve energy when dressing, bathing, and performing other household and personal activities. Many of these items may be obtained through MSAAs Equipment Distribution Program . Please visit mymsaa.org or call 532-7667 for more information.
Shop from Home.Rather than using valuable energy walking around stores, use catalogs or order items online. In addition to avoiding the crowds and exhaustion from walking through stores or malls, ordering clothes allows you to try them on at your leisure when your energy level is highest. Many grocery stores also offer online ordering with either free delivery or a minimal charge for delivery.
Take Fewer Steps.Try to take care of as many things as possible in one room to eliminate extra trips.
Consider Telecommuting.A great way to conserve energy is to reduce the amount of time spent traveling to and from work. Ask your employer about working part of the week from home.
Dont Get Overheated.This can cause fatigue. Wear your cooling vest or other cooling apparel and try to go outside either early in the morning or later in the evening, when temperatures are at their coolest.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors including Zoloft® , Paxil® , and Prozac®
Wellbutrin® is a NDRI antidepressant , and is one of the most energizing and most effective of the non-SSRI antidepressants against fatigue.
Take Breaks And Pace Yourself
Pacing yourself and taking breaks during the day can help you stay healthy, says Wentink.
When Im drained and continue to push, I think Im putting myself at risk for getting sick, he says. When I feel fatigued, I take it as a sign that I need to step back and take a break.”
Symptoms tend to get worse when severe fatigue sets in, says Wentink. I try to slow down before that happens because I dont want to bring on a relapse, he adds.
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Relieving Fatigue Through Cooling
Research has shown that nerves with damaged myelin are sensitive to changes in temperature. A rise in temperature may cause nerve conduction to be less efficient, whereas a reduction in temperature may allow more signals to be transmitted across a damaged nerve.
The idea of cooling people with MS to alleviate symptoms has been researched and practiced for many years, but practical methods of cooling an individual had not been perfected until the 1990s. At this time, MSAA and NASA joined forces to develop and test a cool suit.
Cooling someone too quickly such as taking cold baths or sitting close to the air conditioner can cause shivering and vasoconstriction. This reaction does not help to alleviate MS symptoms. By slowly cooling down the body, an individual with MS may experience improvement in areas of physical performance, cognitive processing, and motor function. Cooling also significantly reduces fatigue, helping a person with MS perform his or her daily activities.
Controlled cooling is now achieved through passive cooling garments. These are portable and allow the wearer to enjoy symptom relief indoors or out. Passive cooling garments, such as a vest and wraps for the neck, wrists, or ankles, use ice or gel packs to give people with MS immediate and simple relief from heat and certain MS symptoms. Some passive garments are dampened and chilled before use.
Sexual Function And Ms
Sexual dysfunction is common in MS. It can be directly related to MS from brain or spinal cord lesions, or more indirectly related due to other MS symptoms such as depression and fatigue, or from wider relationship and social issues stemming from MS.
Although a difficult area to talk to your health professional about, it is an important area to maintain your quality of life and self-confidence. There are many avenues of help available from physical to psychological and your GP, MS nurse or neurologist can point you in the right direction for the most appropriate assessment and assistance.
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The Chalder Fatigue Scale
One of the most well-known fatigue scales, the Chalder Fatigue Scale was created for chronic fatigue syndrome patients. This 14-item instrument quantifies fatigue intensity in terms of physical and mental domains. Each item is quantified by a numeric value on a Likert scale, and a sum score is calculated. Higher totals indicate more fatigue. Advantages of this instrument include its ease of use and brevity: it can usually be completed within 2-3 minutes. Although it has demonstrated good internal consistency in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, MS-specific assessments of validity and consistency for this instrument are lacking. Nonetheless, some investigators still regard The Fatigue Scale as a valuable instrument for clinical studies.,
Review Your Current Medications
It may surprise you that the very medications you are taking for your MS symptoms may be contributing to your fatigue. Some include:
- Anticholinergic medications used to treat urinary incontinence
- Muscle relaxants used to treat spasticity
- Medications for treating tremor
Some disease-modifying MS medications can add to stress, which begets fatigue, as well.
Other medications that are commonly associated with fatigue include antihistamines for treating allergies and antihypertensives for treating high blood pressure. These medications are not used more often in MS than they are otherwise, but they can add to your already existing fatigue if you take them.
Speak with your healthcare provider about whether your medication could be adding to your fatigue or feeling of fogginess. Your practitioner may suggest switching your medications or changing the time of dosing.
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Does Ms Feel Like Flu
Here are just a few: Exhaustion, stiffness, numbness, tingling, blurred vision, depression, disorientation, dizziness, in-coordination, acute pain, speech problems, parashtesia, flu-like symptoms, headaches, cognitive difficulties, memory loss, bowel/bladder dysfunction and mild to debilitating fatigue .
What Diet Is Good For Ms
Overall, people with MS need a balanced, low-fat and high-fiber diet. Unprocessed or naturally processed foods are preferred to processed foods. This is similar to the Mediterranean diet, and the same healthy diet thats recommended for the general population. Also consider limiting alcohol as much as possible.
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Fatigue Caused By Disability
MS can cause problems with mobility and muscle control. Compensating for these disabilities requires greater energy and effort than would otherwise be necessary to perform daily tasks. When some muscles cannot perform certain tasks other muscles are used instead and the extra work can tire those muscles, leading to additional fatigue.
Neurophysiotherapists and physiotherapists can demonstrate exercises to strengthen and maintain body functioning and there is a range of equipment available to help conserve energy and reduce stress on muscles and joints. Occupational therapists can suggest modifications to your home or workplace to improve your efficiency and reduce the effort involved in daily tasks. Regional MS Community Support Staff, friends, family members and other people with MS can be useful sources of practical advice on ways to reduce energy needs.
What Does Ms Pain Feel Like
These pain sensations feel like burning, stabbing, sharp and squeezing sensations. In MS you can experience acute neuropathic pain and chronic neuropathic pain. Acute Neuropathic Pain is sometimes an initial symptom of MS or may be part of an MS relapse. Acute means it has a rapid onset and is of short duration.
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Take Good Care Of Your Overall Health
Maintaining a healthy weight and optimal blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and avoiding type 2 diabetes can all help with MS fatigue, says Dr. Conway.
“A healthy diet and a regular exercise program can really help, says Cohen. If you are physically out of shape and overweight, everything you do requires more energy.
Tip : Know That Fatigue Will Come And Go
Fatigue is the single most common symptom in MS, across all age groups, across all disease states, Dr. Boster said. Its the leading cause of loss of work among people impacted by MS. Its important to accept that it may be part of life with MS but that working with a medical team and enacting lifestyle changes to address fatigue can help.
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How To Know Its Ms Fatigue
Even though fatigue happens in most people with MS, itâs possible other things could be dragging you down.
Non-MS fatigue, also called secondary fatigue, can happen when you have another condition such as:
- Mood disorders like depression
- Thyroid issues
âIf youâre up at night because you feel like you have to empty your bladder often, or your sleep is disrupted because of loud snoring and frequent awakenings because of sleep apnea, or muscle cramps â¦ then itâs not surprising your day is hindered by fatigue,â Serra says.
You may also feel fatigued as a side effect of a medication youâre on, or from drug or alcohol use.
Most of these are issues your doctor can help you manage and treat.
Tip : Eat A Healthy Diet
A nutritious diet, which avoids heavily processed foods and sugar-related foods, helps fatigue, Dr. Boster said. Certain diets have been studied to evaluate their impact on MS-related fatigue, and its important for people with MS to talk about dietary choices with their neurologists to ensure that they arent eating foods that worsen fatigue.
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Using Your Energy Wisely
You may need to think ahead as you budget your energy each day. This can be tricky, but once you get into the flow of your routine, conserving your energy can be a smart way to battle your fatigue. A few ways to best utilize your energy include:
- Building rest times into your schedule, like an afternoon 20-minute power nap
- Planning energy-draining activities for the morning when you are less fatigued
- Asking your family to take on more of the heavy-duty household chores
- Using your scooter or wheelchair to get around throughout the day
Does Fibromyalgia Cause All Over Body Inflammation
Many patients experience pain all over their body. Sleep that is not restful is another hallmark of fibromyalgia, causing chronic fatigue. While patients with fibromyalgia may feel as though their joints, muscles, tendons, and tissues are inflamed, measurable levels of inflammation in blood testing are normal.
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How Is Fatigue Related To Multiple Sclerosis
Fatigue is the most common symptom of multiple sclerosis . It occurs in 75 percent to 95 percent of patients with MS. Fatigue can occur at all stages of the disease. The symptom is not related to the severity or to the duration of MS. At times, fatigue interferes with function and is an important symptom to manage. There are a variety of ways to combat fatigue in MS.
Feeling It: Tips For Talking To Others About Ms Fatigue
If you have MS, chances are really good that you have MS-related fatigue about 80 percent of people with MS do according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society of America.
Like almost everything else about MS, the symptoms and severity of fatigue vary from person to person. Though you may feel like youre wearing a lead blanket or walking in quicksand, to family, friends, coworkers and others, you probably look just fine.
But theres a big difference between being tired and having MS-related fatigue. The result can be troubling as others may suggest that you simply need to get more sleep, take a nap or worse, believe that youre being lazy or just arent trying hard enough.
Describing how your fatigue makes you feel x physically, mentally and emotionally may help them better understand the often unavoidable role it plays in your life and how it may find its way into their lives, too.
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Here are some tips that may help you do that:
First, know your fatigue. Just as no one knows what causes MS, no one knows for sure whats behind MS fatigue. According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, there is currently no test that accurately measures fatigue, let alone one capable of making any objective conclusions about it.
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