OhioHealth Multiple Sclerosis Lecture - Fatigue
Is MS Fatigue the Same as Chronic Fatigue?
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Is my bad MS fatigue the same as chronic fatigue syndrome? Are these syndromes related or the same, and do you have any recommendations?
Fatigue is a nearly universal symptom of multiple sclerosis, occurring in at least 80 percent of people. This symptom can significantly interfere with your ability to function at home or at work. In fact, fatigue represents a major source of disability in MS and is one of the main causes of early departure from the workplace. It is also important to realize that disabling fatigue can occur even in someone who does not have an obvious or substantial physical disability.
Although there are many factors that may contribute to fatigue, the cause of MS fatigue is currently unknown. Common contributors include medical conditions such as depression, thyroid problems, or anemia, as well as side effects of various medications, inactivity or deconditioning, and obesity.
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a “syndrome,” or collection of symptoms, that is completely unrelated to multiple sclerosis. It is characterized by overwhelming fatigue and other symptoms, typically including problems with concentration, muscle aches, and headache. Although there is similarity in some of the symptoms that affect people with MS, these are two separate disorders.
Generally, the best way to treat MS fatigue is by approaching the problem in a comprehensive fashion. Learning to meter out your energy and pace yourself is at the top of my list and is one of the biggest challenges in MS. However, this is one of the best ways to conquer MS fatigue. Learning to conserve your energy and stay cool go hand-in-hand with this, as does an appropriate exercise routine based on your own level of functioning.
It is clearly important to treat any of the other problems that may be adding to your fatigue – anemia, hypothyroidism, or depression. In addition, some people with MS are fatigued, in part, because their sleep cycle is disrupted by frequent waking at night to urinate, painful night spasms or spasticity or sleep apnea. If you’re not sleeping well, that will certainly contribute to daytime fatigue!
Finally, a number of medications can be helpful in treating fatigue, including Provigil (modafinil), Symmetrel (amantadine), and stimulant medications, all of which should be prescribed in conjunction with your neurologist and treatment team.
Video: Medical Conditions & Symptoms : Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms
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