Fatigue in Multiple Sclerosis- Causes and Relief Methods
Muscle weakness, pain, numbness, and fatigue are the most common multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms. Which almost 80% of MS patients suffer from at one point. And what we mean by fatigue is the chronic fatigue that is hard to deal with, which also affects the patient’s daily activities. In this article, we will tackle fatigue in multiple sclerosis in detail.
Causes of Fatigue in Multiple Sclerosis Patients
- Researchers did not determine the leading causes of fatigue in MS patients, but some studies stated that it might be due to the constant activation of the immune system, such as having a flu.
- Other studies stated that fatigue is associated with the constant brain function in people with MS. Wherein MRI scans revealed that people who suffer from MS fatigue use a larger part of the brain for performing tasks compared to people who do not suffer from fatigue. The brain tries to find new ways to send signals as a response to nerve damage, which requires additional energy.
- Fatigue might be due to the muscle weakness MS patients suffer from.
- Fatigue might be due to MS complications, such as: chronic pain, emotional disorders like anxiety and depression, anemia, lack of fitness, weight gain or obesity, hypothyroidism, sleep impairments like insomnia, sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome, diabetes, and inflammation.
- It might also be a side effect of some medications, like the ones for relieving spasms, pain, and bladder dysfunction.
Fatigue in Multiple Sclerosis Relief Methods
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When feeling fatigued, one must quickly set an appointment with the doctor in order to discuss the suitable medication options. Wherein the doctor would do some tests to know the causes of fatigue, and according to the results, he would recommend medications, natural therapy, and occupational therapy. Keep in mind that medications are only to relieve pain, and do not relieve the disease and its symptoms.
The medications that the doctor might recommend include the following:
- Anti-inflammatory medications, such as aspirin. Studies found that taking 100 milligrams of aspirin twice a day reduces fatigue.
- Amantadine (Gocovri), an antiviral medication that might help reduce fatigue.
- Armodafinil (Nuvigil), or Modafinil (Provigil), these medications are usually used for relieving numbness. And there are proofs that they can boost alertness in people suffering from fatigue, and relieve sleep impairments.
- Iron supplements for anemia.
- Sleeping pills for insomnia, such as Zolpidem (Ambien, Intermezzo).
- Various vitamins for nutritional deficiency due to malnutrition.
- Antidepressants such as Fluoxetine (Prozac), or Bupropion (Wellbutrin).
- Medications that help relieve leg spasms.
- Medications for urinary tract weakness, in case having to use the bathroom repeatedly keeps the patient up at night.
- Methylphenidate (Ritalin), or Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine) that are usually used for ADHD and numbness.
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