Fatigue. Apathy. They have been my constant companions for almost a decade. The question has been, what is the cause?
A glance at a WebMD slideshow gives some possible causes, and I had eight of the first ten:
- Not enough sleep (as any reader of this blog knows) ✔
- Sleep apnea ✔
- Unhealthy diet (historically, although I’ve gotten much better recently) ✔
- Anemia (since I was a kid) ✔
- Depression ✔
- Hypothyroidism (for almost 30 years) ✔
- Caffeine overload
- Hidden UTI (an issue I often have due to MS) ✔
- Dehydration (I know I don’t drink nearly enough water) ✔
The others were heart disease, shift work, food allergies, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, none of which I have to deal with, thankfully.
And then, of course, there is the elephant in the room: MS. Fatigue is one of the major symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, affecting 80% of people with MS.
Here’s a tidbit from the National MS Society:
Researchers are beginning to outline the characteristics of this so-called “MS fatigue” that make it different from fatigue experienced by persons without MS.
- Generally occurs on a daily basis
- May occur early in the morning, even after a restful night’s sleep
- Tends to worsen as the day progresses
- Tends to be aggravated by heat and humidity
- Comes on easily and suddenly
- Is generally more severe than normal fatigue
- Is more likely to interfere with daily responsibilities
MS-related fatigue does not appear to be directly correlated with either depression or the degree of physical impairment.
I’ve been working with my doctors (neurologist, naturopath, and primary care doctor) to figure out which of the many possible causes is actually the source of all this fatigue. Suddenly, a new possibility came into play, something that no one had thought of.
Tune in tomorrow for part II!