For the past couple of days, it seems like everything I do has to be redone and that I end up zigzagging all over the place when trying to get my errands done, as I have forgotten things in stores right next to one another.
I just ran across this article that I wrote (while I was looking for something else, of course) about a solution to this problem. Every so often, I go back to basics and make a very detailed list of all the tiny steps in my day. I feel efficient and competent when I do everything in a logical order and this helps to reset me. Maybe a list like this could help you during some of your more frustrating times.
Read the full article: Use a Checklist for MS Cognitive Dysfunction
What about you? What helps you function better during days when your mind isn't its sharpest? Leave any tips in the comments section below.
There has been some speculation that allergies could trigger multiple sclerosis. After all, allergies are an immune response to something in the environment and MS is an inflammatory response to a person's immune system attacking itself. However, this has been pretty much disproven, a recent study showing no link between allergies and the onset of MS.
What I am more interested in, however, is whether you feel worse, MS-wise, when you have allergies. I am convinced that I do - I know that I feel more fatigued when I am wheezing and puffy with hay fever. I also am pretty sure that I feel the numbness and cognitive dysfunction more acutely when I have an allergic reaction to something.
I'd like to hear from you. Do you think allergies make your MS symptoms feel worse? In what way? What have you found that helps? Leave your stories and tips in the comments section below.
Most of us with relapsing remitting MS (RRMS) know the feeling of a new tingle or worsening limp, as well as the mini-panic that may accompany these symptoms as the fear that it is a relapse descends upon us.
I've pulled together some articles that I wrote that discuss what relapses are, what they aren't and what to do about them:
A recent study at the University of Michigan revealed that a large percentage of people with MS may also have sleep apnea.
A screening questionnaire for sleep apnea was given to 195 people with MS. An astounding 56% of respondents gave responses which indicated that they were at high risk of sleep apnea. Only 21% of the people questioned had received a diagnosis of sleep apnea, meaning that it seems that there is a large number of people with MS with possible sleep apnea who have not been diagnosed.
Sleep apnea is a disorder in which a person stops breathing for short periods during the night. This can happen many (even hundreds) of times during the same night. Undiagnosed sleep apnea can greatly contribute to MS fatigue, as well as other chronic problems.
Sleep apnea is fairly easily diagnosed and treated. If you have symptoms of sleep apnea, including snoring or choking/gasping during sleep, visit your doctor to determine if you have may have sleep apnea. After all, the last thing any of us need is more fatigue, especially if it can be treated.
What about you? Have you been diagnosed with sleep apnea? What did you do to address it? What treatment was prescribed? Leave your comments in the comments section below.
In a small study conducted by researchers in Germany have found antibodies that seem to be present at much higher levels in people with multiple sclerosis than in those without MS. Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that they can be detected before the first clinical symptoms of MS.
The antibodies are against a protein called KIR4.1. Researchers compared samples from 16 people with MS and 16 people without MS. Here is what they found:
- Seven out of the 16 people with MS had high levels of antibodies against KIR4.1.
- None of the healthy people had these antibodies.
- The antibodies were present in people who later developed MS up to 6 years before any MS symptoms appeared.
Clearly, while this is a very interesting finding, it is still far from being a definitive test for MS. More than 50% of the people with MS did not have elevated levels of this antibody. Much more research on a larger scale is needed to confirm these findings and determine the application of such a test.
I am in the middle of my yearly bout of bronchitis, sitting here, coughing away while I type. I hate to even think how much longer it will last, but am pretty sure I am in for another month of this.
I used to think I was just unlucky with my yearly two months of coughing, but finally learned that it has something to do with the fact that I have MS. One of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis is lower respiratory function - even if you don't realize it, if you have MS, there is a good chance that your lungs work a little less well than people without MS.
This means that our coughs don't always do the job that they are supposed to (clear the throat and lungs) efficiently, meaning we may have a cough for longer than people without MS. However, there are steps you can take to shorten the duration of your cough. Especially during cold, flu and allergy season, see your doc at the first sign of a cough to try to get ahead of it.
Read the full article: Coughing and Multiple Sclerosis
What about you? Does your cough last longer than most people's? Does anyone have any tips to keep their coughs under control?
I really feel strongly that anyone who takes medication (who doesn't?) should put in a little effort and get their medications organized. There are many reasons for this, among them being that this will help us remember when to refill prescriptions and help us when we go to the doctor and need to tell him or her which medications we are on.
In this article, I also direct you to Drug Interactions Checker, which is an amazing resource. You simply enter the names of all the drugs you take and you see if there are any interactions. You can even save your list for future reference.
Humor me and take 10 minutes to get your meds organized. Trust me, it will come in handy one day.
Read the full article: Organize Your MS Medications
I had to read this article several times to make sure I understood it, and even now, I can't be quite sure.
It seems that researchers in Japan noticed that people with MS seemed to have a higher degree of hyperintensity from gadolinium in certain regions in the brain, the dentate nucleus and the globus pallidus. Gadolinium is the contrast agent used in MRIs to highlight active lesions, which are those lesions that indicate that a relapse is occurring.
The more MRIs with contrast that the people had undergone, the more gadolinium was seen on subsequent MRIs, leading researchers to believe that it didn't all get cleared from the body, as has previously been assumed.
The big question here is: Do people who have had more MRIs with contrast have more hyper intensity because they have had more gadolinium (because there has been a reason to give them more MRIs, as their MS is more active) or is the gadolinium itself somehow contributing to the higher number of active lesions?
If you have any thoughts or insight about this topic, please leave them in the comments section. I'd be very interested in reading them.
Read more about gadolinium:
- Gadolinium Warning for People with Kidney Disease
- Gadolinium-Enhanced Lesion
- Headaches After MRI Scans
Sometimes I sleep great. Other times, not so much. Like everyone else, the days following fewer hours of sleep tend to be more difficult. However, I do think that reduced sleep makes things even harder for people with MS than it does for people without MS.
I've put together a list of some of my past articles and blogs about sleep for you to take a look at. I hope some of them might help with a particular sleep-related issue.
Read more about sleep and MS:
I thought I'd take a moment to call our attention to progressive MS. Progressive MS often gets overlooked in the excitement about new therapies for relapsing-remitting MS, as well as the fact that most of us (including the famous and fabulous) are initially diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS.
The lack of recognition and attention to progressive forms of MS stems primarily from the facts that progressive MS is:
- hard to diagnose
- hard/impossible to treat
- less common than relapsing-remitting MS
- more difficult to study
Given all of that, I think it behooves us to know about progressive forms of MS. After all, people with progressive MS are member of "the club" who just got dealt a different hand.
On that note, here are some articles to check out about progressive MS: