8 Ways to Manage Fatigue with MS

Jacqueline Ho | Jan 24, 2014 June 14, 1994

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Fatigue is one the most common symptoms of MS—affecting about 80 percent of people with the condition, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Fatigue can make it difficult for people to perform daily functions at home and at work. The good news, though, is that there are steps a person can take to manage their fatigue.

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Prioritize

People with MS can help themselves by determining which activities are most important and saving their energy for completing those tasks. By prioritizing, a person with MS can be both realistic and responsible.

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Pace yourself

Trying to do too much too quickly is likely to deplete energy and worsen fatigue. It is important to learn what your body can and cannot handle and plan accordingly.

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Delegate

There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Call on your support team, whether it’s family, friends or co-workers. You might be surprised at how asking for help can help you conserve your energy.

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Exercise

Although exercising when you’re fatigued sounds contradictory, doing physical activities can help increase your energy level. People with MS should speak with their physician or rehabilitation professional about what exercise options can be good for them.

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Use technology

Assistive devices can improve efficiency and mobility and can help people with MS to conserve energy. Some examples of assistive devices could be wheels on a laundry cart, a scooter or long-handled vacuum cleaners.

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Evaluate your environment

Factors such as lighting, temperature and the layout of your home and office could contribute to fatigue. Consider ways to make your environment the most energy efficient, such as avoiding too much heat, which can aggravate fatigue.

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Take medication

In addition to energy management strategies, certain medications may help treat fatigue. Speak with your physician about what medications are available to you.

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Sleep

Research has found that about 30 percent of people with MS have trouble sleeping at night, which can contribute to daytime fatigue. Managing symptoms that interfere with sleep—such as sleep apnea, bladder dysfunction or spasticity—is crucial in helping people with MS to have more energy during the day.

NEXT: Beginner's Guide to Multiple Sclerosis
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