Multiple sclerosis and cold weather don't mix

Multiple sclerosis and cold weather don't mix

Extreme temperature change affects those with multiple sclerosis.  Many claim to be bothered by heat, but the cold seems to attack me harder.

According the  National MS Society,

Many people with MS experience a temporary worsening of their symptoms when the weather is very hot or humid or they run a fever, sunbathe, get overheated from exercise, or take very hot showers or baths. For example, some people notice that their vision becomes blurred when they get overheated—a phenomenon known as Uhthoff’s sign. These temporary changes can result from even a very slight elevation in core body temperature (one-quarter to one-half of a degree) because an elevated temperature further impairs the ability of a demyelinated nerve to conduct electrical impulses.

In fact for many years, the “Hot Bath” test was used to diagnose MS. A person suspected of having MS was immersed in a hot tub of water, and the appearance of neurologic symptoms or their worsening was taken as evidence that the person had MS.

Luckily, I do pretty well in warm weather.  In most cases as long as there is a breeze, I enjoy the sun on my body. I do notice fatigue and weakness when the temperature is over 90 degrees.

The bad part is I am affected by the cold weather. My body feels stiff and weak and my energy level is low.

Not as common, the MS Society only includes a small paragraph on their site.

Some people with MS notice that symptoms, particularly spasticity, become worse in cold weather. It is generally recommended that people with MS who are sensitive to temperature try to avoid extremes of either hot or cold, and that people who are considering a move to a “better” climate try to visit first to see if the climate change is, indeed, beneficial.

Is it ironic that I have lived in Chicago my whole life?  It is freezing here and I am feeling it this winter.  I don’t even need to look at the weather; I can tell if the temperature is below 34 degrees by the pain in my legs.

Moving is not an option right now.  I simply can’t pick up my family and move us to Hawaii, although can we dream for a minute?

Instead I’m dressing warm and staying inside a lot.

Does the cold weather affect you either physically or emotionally?  How do you deal with it? 

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