Why does Multiple Sclerosis cause fatigue?
My partner has MS ? but why does it cause him to be fatigued? As far as I understood, the disease just interferes with nerve signals between his brain and his extremities. How can it have such an extreme effect on his overall energy levels, and how can we treat that symptom?
It is amazing that although MS is classified as a neurological disease, that the fatigue associated with flairs can be a paralyzing part of it. The fatigue aspect of the disease is associated with the active inflammation that occurs when the immune system begins to attack the myelin on nerve cells in the brain. Thus, worsening fatigue can be a sign of an MS flair brewing. The best way to explain why patients experience fatigue is that the immune system is using so much energy while attacking the myelin that he will feel drained. It is similarly true when we get an illness such as the flu, we feel fatigued from the immune system activation. The best way to teat the fatigue symptom is by treating the MS flair. When his fatigue begins to worsen, make sure to schedule an appointment with the physician that treats his MS. Adjustments in his medications may need to be made to more optimally control his symptoms. Other options are out there for increasing energy levels (i.e. stimulants), but these should not be used until an attempt has been made to control his MS inflammation. He may have a certain amount of fatigue all the time. The goal is to minimize this with treatment.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
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