Millions of people around the world feel tired for reasons they don’t know. Numerous factors cause tiredness and fatigue with MS. Both conditions are synonymous, although there are slight differences between the two phenomena.
Tiredness is a routine body feeling. One may experience it after work and at the end of the day. The person would feel fresh after taking a bath or a nap. Fatigue, on the other hand, is not relieved by sleep. It lasts for a longer period of time. Fatigue is termed acute if it lasts for a month or less. It is considered chronic fatigue if it stays for more than a month to six months or longer. MS patients experience the second type of fatigue.
It is essential for MS patients to manage fatigue. Here are some tips to do so:
Cleveland Clinic, USA, suggests that regular physical activity helps fight MS related fatigue. Lack of movement makes muscles weak, requiring more energy to function. A person has to stay mentally, physically and socially active.
Most MS patients cannot tolerate heat, so we advise MS patients not to exercise for long.
Studies have shown that diet may affect how an MS patient feels and the progression of the disease. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. Try to cut down on caffeine, deep fried foods, red meat, fast food, and dairy products. In short, follow an MS friendly diet.
Drink plenty of water
It is not a good idea to dehydrate yourself if you are an MS patient. Drink eight glasses of water every day. Mild dehydration triggers fatigue in the average person. Read this article on how much water to drink each day.
Do not consume foods which suck up water and result in dry mouth. Foods rich in sugar and caffeine are among those culprits, along with bakery items like biscuits, cakes and patties. Other factors which cause dehydration include:
- Diet low in fruits and vegetables
- Excessive exercise
- Extreme temperatures
Keep your body and mind cool
Keeping the body cool means to avoid prolonged heat exposure. MS patients should do the following to cool down:
- Use air conditioning as needed – In Pakistan, load-shedding is a big problem, especially for MS patients. It is strongly advised to keep a UPS or a generator on standby to tackle loadshedding.
- Drink icy beverages and water
- Take a cool shower and avoid warm water
- Wear lightweight clothes
- Jump in a swimming pool
Keeping the mind cool means to avoid stress and to stay relaxed. Stress is amongst the leading factors which causes fatigue. Along with many other effects, stress also results in insomnia.
It is important for everyone to have a good night’s sleep of 7 to 9 hours. MS patients have trouble sleeping. Identify and treat the MS symptoms which disturb your sleep.
Use your energy levels efficiently
MS patients have limited reservoir of energy. They should avoid tasks which drain their energy for little return and focus on those tasks which are more important.
Divert your attention away from fatigue
Involve in activities like reading and knitting or any other hobby. Also, do not turn your focus to soap operas and news.
Avoid caffeine rich drinks – Stay away from energy drinks, coffee, and soft dirks. These beverages contain high amounts of sugar and caffeine.
Fatigue can have devastating effects on your life. MS patients have no choice but to manage it. The above mentioned tips will help you keep fatigue under check.
Let us know how you are managing fatigue with Multiple Sclerosis in the comments below.