Saturday, June 9, 2012

Some symptoms of MS part two

I have been eager to continue where I left off yesterday, so here goes!
Fatigue.  I feel this is one of the most difficult for us to deal as it is debilitating, it's almost impossible to explain and others have trouble sympathizing or even trying to understand.  What happens to me is this.  I get up, go to the bathroom, make my way to the kitchen so I can give my three kitties fresh food and water, check my blood sugar, take my insulin, and many times this is enough to make me feel completely exhausted, so I collapse on the sofa.  It's also the cause of many low blood sugar incidents, but when I'm feeling too fatigued to even get a cup of coffee, how am I supposed to think of eating?  It makes me crazy, but it happens.  To make it easier to understand, here is a list I found on of some of the more common symptoms of MS fatigue.  

While everyone experiences "being tired" occasionally, the fatigue associated with MS has certain characteristics:
1.-  It occurs daily.
2.-  It may be present in the morning, even after a good night's sleep.
3.-  It worsens as the day progresses.
4.-  Heat and humidity aggravate it.
5.-  It comes on suddenly.
6.-  It's more severe than normal fatigue and more likely to interfere with daily life.
For some people, there are additional related symptoms, including:
1.-  Feeling of heaviness in the arms and legs.
2.-  Worsening of other symptoms, such as problems with balance or vision, or slurring speech.
3.-  Difficulty concentrating.
4.-  Vertigo or dizziness.
5.-  Headaches.
6.-  Feeling ill, like you have the flu.
7.-  Depression.
It is also worth noting that anywhere from 80% to 95% of those with MS experience this sort of fatigue and it is the MOST COMMON symptom.  According to the MS Society's web page:  "fatigue can significantly interfere with a person's ability to function at home and at work, and may be the most prominent in a person who otherwise has minimal activity limitations.  Fatigue is one of the primary causes of early departure from the workforce."
As difficult as it may be to explain MS fatigue, rest assured that IT IS REAL and not only in your head.  If you feel tired, don't fight yourself.  Take a seat or lay down for a bit.

Bladder problems.  Yeah, this is a fun one.  Those with MS can be plagued with either over active bladder or not being able to empty the bladder.. or, if you're lucky like me, you get to have both simultaneously.  Yay!  Gotta love MS. (insert sarcastic eye roll)  Luckily, I have a urologist to treat my bladder problems and we communicate very well and I am very pleased with my treatment plan.

According to the MS Society, bladder dysfunction, which occurs in at least 80% of people with MS, can usually be managed quite successfully.  Bladder dysfunction occurs when MS lesions block or delay transmissions of nerve signals in areas of the central nervous system that control the bladder and urinary sphincter.  It is this muscle that gives people voluntary control over urination.

Symptoms of bladder dysfunction can include:
-- frequency and/or urgency of urination
-- hesitation in starting of urination
-- frequent nighttime urination (known as nocturia)
-- incontinence (the inability to hold in urine)

These symptoms can be caused by a "spastic" bladder that is unable to hold the normal amount of urine, or by a bladder that does not empty properly and retains some urine in it.  Retaining urine can lead to complications such as repeated infections or kidney damage.

Left untreated, bladder dysfunction also could cause emotional and personal hygiene problems that can interfere with normal activities of living and socialization.  It is therefore important to seek appropriate medical evaluation and treatment early, so that the cause of the bladder symptoms can be determined and treated, and complications avoided.

Bowel problems.  Another fun one we have to deal with!  Believe it or not, I didn't find any information online which I found adequate or even correct for this subject, which is really very disappointing to say the least.  The MS Society claims that "constipation is a particular concern among people living with MS, as is loss of control of the bowels.  Diarrhea and other problems of the stomach and bowels also can occur.  Causes of constipation include insufficient fluid intake, reduced physical activity and mobility, and decreased or slowed "motility" (movement of food through the intestinal tract).  Certain medications, such as antidepressants or drugs used to control bladder symptoms, might also cause constipation.  Loss of bowel control in MS could be neurologic in origin or related to constipation, and it should be evaluated by a physician or nurse." 

OK, what do I think?  I think I try to drink as much water as possible but still can't "go" because my brain can't remember how to do it!  I learned that it is perfectly alright to take Colace (it is NOT a laxative nor it is a stimulant) on a daily basis as my body has no "push," as one of my previous neurologists explained it to me.  A laxative makes things too soft but taking Colace honestly keeps everything more natural and I am as close to "regular" as I've been in years.

And I will continue with the list tomorrow!

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