5 Hacks that Help Me Manage MS Fatigue

Article By: Lyfebulb Ambassador Trishna Bharadia

Originally published on Life Effects by Teva  | 07 February 2019

Fatigue has been the one MS symptom that has been a constant for me from the point of diagnosis. It’s not that unusual, since fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of MS which means I know that I’m not alone in experiencing it.

What can make it harder to cope with though is that people experience fatigue in different ways. So just like there’s no “one size fits all” method of managing your MS in general, the same can go for fatigue.

When I try to describe fatigue to my friends I say it’s like “walking through quicksand with boots filled with water whilst experiencing the world’s worst hangover.” Fatigue hits me in two ways – physically and mentally. Physically my entire body slows down, to the point where every movement feels like a monumental effort. Mentally, I’m overtaken by a thick fog and just putting a single sentence together becomes a full-on workout for my brain.

People who don’t experience this often misunderstand the severity, so people – even well-meaning ones – sometimes have frustrating responses. I’ve made a list of the things people say about fatigue that I really wish they wouldn’t.

5 things not to say to someone with MS fatigue

Fatigue isn’t like regular tiredness. It can be completely arbitrary and disproportionate to your activity levels. Plus, it feels different; I can quite easily tell the difference between regular tiredness and MS fatigue.

Sleep doesn’t always help. In fact, a lot of the time a nap is no more than a sticking plaster. Even if it might make me feel better for a few hours, very quickly I’ll be back to square one. It’s like never being able to fully recharge the battery on your phone.

Seriously?! I would love to be able to do everything that I want to do, when I wanted to do it. When I think about having a “lazy day” it often involves watching a movie, eating ice-cream, reading a book or chatting on the phone with a friend. When fatigue hits, even doing those things uses too much energy.

Everyone with MS is different and can experience different sets of symptoms. While fatigue is common, not everyone experiences it. People also have different coping mechanisms depending on how fatigue affects them. So it might not always be obvious if someone is experiencing it, if they’ve been able to manage it effectively.

The way an individual views each of their MS symptoms is personal. Someone I know with MS once told me that for them, losing their ability to walk properly and having to use a wheelchair was by far the lesser of the two evils when compared with his debilitating fatigue. For someone else, the opposite might be true. So, if you’ve never experienced it, don’t make a judgement on it.

Things I wish people would say when I experience fatigue

If you do know someone who is experiencing fatigue and you’re wondering what you could say or do for them to offer solidarity and support, I have listed three of the most important things that I would find useful:

I dread getting invitations and having to turn them down because the place is too far, the timing isn’t right, or I feel like I can’t cancel at the last minute if I’m having a bad fatigue day. Being able to do things closer to home and at times when I know my energy levels are likely to be at their best can make things easier when planning social occasions. And being understanding if I have to cancel at the last minute also goes a long way. I wouldn’t cancel unless I really had to and I’ll already be feeling rubbish because I know I’m going to miss out.

Offering a lift, picking up some shopping and suggesting an alternative if we’ve had to cancel plans are all things that can make things easier. I was at a wedding this summer and it was going to be an all day/late night event. The couple whose wedding it was offered me use of their hotel room during the day to be able to rest if I needed to, because I’d told them I might not be able to stay the whole time. Knowing that there was an option to rest if I needed to, meant that I could relax and enjoy the day much more. But please, don’t assume you know what will help – just ask me!

When fatigue hits I feel rubbish. I feel frustrated. And my mood completely dips. Something as small as receiving a nice text message from someone, making exciting plans for a future date, or doing something that will make me laugh or smile just helps to lift my mood. It won’t cure the fatigue but at least my mood might improve!

Hacks to help you manage your MS fatigue

There are no real hacks to cure fatigue, there are just ways to try and manage it. I’ve had MS for ten years now and fatigue was one of my first symptoms – I’d been experiencing it for quite a while even before my diagnosis. I can’t actually remember what it’s like to feel 100% full of energy anymore! But over the years I’ve learnt what works for me and what can help to optimise my “battery levels.”

I make lists. Lots of them. I prioritise. I schedule. I keep an appointments diary for EVERYTHING. I colour code. I cross-off and tick. Writing things down not only helps me to remember things when my brain gets foggy, it helps me to see very clearly what the most important things are, and which things are going to need the most physical and/or mental energy. I can then do those things when I know my energy levels will be at an optimum and do the “easier” or “lesser” tasks when my battery is running lower. This also helps me to pace myself – if I know I have a particularly busy day scheduled, I’ll make sure that the following day is more relaxed.

I find that waking up at around the same time (even on weekends), eating my meals at around the same time, and having a regular bedtime routine can really help my body to know what’s happening and when. This can also help with other symptoms that can exacerbate fatigue, such as bladder issues. So not drinking too much before I go to bed means I’m less likely to have disturbed sleep due to getting up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.

It sounds counter-intuitive but regular exercise actually makes me feel better. Muscles which aren’t used regularly become weaker, which means that more energy is needed to carry out general tasks. This makes fatigue worse. Exercising regularly will keep my body in as good a shape as possible. I’ll adjust what type of exercise I do depending on my energy levels. I love dancing, and that’s something I’m able to adapt if I’m having a “bad energy” day. Otherwise, a gentle walk or stretching and muscle strengthening exercises are just as good. Exercise also helps me to sleep better and feel good about myself.

This has been really hard for me. I’ve always been very independent and I like to do things myself. However, I’ve learned that accepting help often means that I can get more done or enjoy things more because I’m conserving precious energy. I have a few people who are close to me who I know I can really rely on for support. They understand me and my fatigue and I know I can call upon them if necessary.

In time, I’ve learned to accept things more, deal with the frustration of living with fatigue (even though it’s still annoying!) and develop alternative interests that fit around the ups and downs of my energy levels. I now enjoy being at home just as much as being out. I’ve learned to enjoy my own company, so when I do have to stay at home I’m not as sad about it.

Most of all, I’ve learned to be kinder to myself. If I can’t get something done, I just let it go.

UK/MED/19/0001 January 2019

11 Ways to Boost Your Energy With Food

Food & Wine: 11 Ways to Boost Your Energy With Food

What to eat for more energy

When Health asked what nutrition topic you need help with RIGHT NOW, the response was unanimous: eating for energy! You told us you feel run down and exhausted, and turn to sugar and/or caffeine to bolster flagging energy reserves.

Bad idea, says Dina Aronson, RD: “Fatigue breaks us down physically and emotionally and wreaks havoc on the immune system, making us more susceptible to illness, depression, and even chronic conditions like heart disease.” Moreover, proper nutrition and the timing of what you eat can do wonders to make you feel alert and powerful, says Cynthia Sass, RD, Health‘s nutrition and weight loss blogger. Here, new rules for eating for energy.

Eat more iron from plants

Certain nutrients, especially iron, may help women feel more energized. Nearly 10% of women between the ages of 20 and 49 are iron-deficient, which can cause fatigue and impair physical and mental endurance. Iron is needed to deliver oxygen to cells, and too little has also been shown to decrease immunity.

A recent study found that over 10 years, women who consumed the most plant-based iron were 35% less likely to develop PMS than women who consumed the least. Great plant sources of iron include beans, lentils, spinach, and sesame seeds; eating them with vitamin C-rich foods can boost iron absorption.

Eat the right food combos

Sass says the right formula for maximum energy is: fruit or veggie + a whole grain + lean protein + plant-based fat + herb/spice.

She calls it the ‘5 piece puzzle’ and it’s the premise of her book S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim. “Balance is key; your body loves to be in balance,” says Sass. “Giving it less of something it needs throws things off, as does giving it more than it needs.”

Skip caffeine

Despite the health benefits of tea and coffee, if you’re feeling run down, cut it out: “Caffeine gives a ‘false’ energy essentially, because it’s a stimulant,” Sass says. “And after it peaks,…

Eating clean is a lifestyle – learn how

Joyce Abady, owner of The Juice Theory in Long Branch, walks us through her process of making fresh almond milk.

Brian Johnston

Too many of us accept too low a quality of life as normal.

We deal with headaches, exhaustion, weight gain and more, but what many people do not realize is that these symptoms are not normal.

Our bodies were built to feel amazing every day, and the majority of us accept feeling tired, bloated and foggy brained on a daily basis.

Throughout the last 10 years, I’ve suffered from over a dozen chronic health issues including Lyme disease, PCOS, hypothyroidism, candida, C-diff colitis, leaky gut and more.

After spending many years without relief from Western medicine on a cocktail of drugs, I chose a different path with functional and integrative medicine.

I soon realized I wasn’t the only one suffering, and through my website TheHealthyApple.com, I started receiving thousands of emails from people who also were suffering and not finding answers to help them get to the root cause of their symptoms.

LEARN MORE: FIGHT INFLAMMATION

That’s when I turned my life around and learned how to address the underlying imbalances in my body instead of treating my symptoms with a Band-Aid approach. I never want anyone to go through what I went through for 10 very painful, exhausting years trying to figure out how to be healthy in a real way.

I want to hand over the keys to you to shortcut your journey to wellness and save you time, money and suffering in your journey to wellness with my cookbook, “Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body.”

Your important role

During my journey to wellness it dawned on me that if more people understood what an important role they play in their own health, they could change the quality of their life forever.

We have so much more control than we realize, and it starts with fighting inflammation by eating clean, whole and nourishing foods.

Detox is not what you think. It’s not a juice fast, it’s not about deprivation, and it’s not about starving yourself to be thin. Detox is about living a clean life and removing the toxins in your environment and foods that are causing silent inflammation in our bodies.

In my book, I outline how you can detox and fight inflammation on a daily basis starting with eating organic. When we eat organic we’re not pumping in growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides and herbicides into our bodies, which is what happens when we eat conventional (non-organic foods).

These toxins in conventional foods that we ingest are one of the main causes of inflammation in our bodies. The goal of detox is…

The Biggest Lie In Fitness Is Sabotaging Your Workout

Sometimes in our quest to get strong, we can get a few things wrong. Except for bodybuilders or extreme athletes, most of us work out to develop bodies that are highly functional. Meaning, we have the necessary strength and mobility to do what we want, when we want, with as little pain or strain and as much energy and vitality as possible, for our entire lives. But in a fitness culture that still toes the “bigger, faster, farther and heavier is better” line, many of us end up pushing ourselves far beyond what is necessary to achieve functional strength, often risking injury to do so.

How can we evolve our mindset to optimize our exercise routine? First, we need to debunk the major exercise myths that keep us working harder so that we can instead work out smarter.

exhausted man gym
(Photo: Peopleimages via Getty Images)

Myth #1: You should work out to exhaustion

Yes, muscles get stronger when they are fatigued, but the problem with working to exhaustion is that you often forfeit form and function for the sensation of hard work. Exercising to exhaustion will often cancel out the benefits of your hard work and risks injury that could set you back.

Myth #2: You should hurt the next day

We’ve all been there, clinging to the belief that barely being able to walk up the stairs is a sign of a killer workout. While next-day pain does indicate that you’re getting stronger by fatiguing your muscles, it also indicates that your muscles are not at their optimal resting length, compromising the movement of your joints. Plus, now you have to deal with all the recovery time. Our muscles are meant to move us around, every day, so exercising to this extreme is far from functional and just doesn’t make sense.

Myth #3: The harder your workout, the better

As we age, we do lose strength, so it’s necessary to keep pushing the envelope to some degree to stay healthy and fit. But we don’t have to push ourselves to extremes to get the results we desire, especially if it risks causing pain and injury — slowing us down rather than keeping us going. Again, there seems to be a misunderstanding of how we achieve the gains we want from our workout. The false adage “no pain,…

Essential Oils Can Make You a Happier, Healthier Person — Here’s How

If you suffer from anxiety or depression, feel fatigued, or often experience aches and pains, adding essential oils can complement your wellness regimen to improve your symptoms. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “the therapeutic use of essential oils (also known as volatile oils) from plants (flowers, herbs, or trees)” can be used “for the improvement of physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.”

The center also noted that essential oils and aromatherapy are used for cancer treatment, “primarily as supportive care for general well-being,” and can be used as a complement to wellness treatments like massage and acupuncture, “as well as with standard treatments for symptom management.”

In studies conducted with cancer patients, different oils were…

This Is What Happens When You Don’t Drink Enough Water

Besides the fact that you’d literally die without it, there are many, MANY imperative reasons to drink water frequently, every single day. It starts out pretty mild — you might feel thirsty and have a dry mouth. But the long-term effects of not drinking enough water not only have an effect on your weight (in a bad way), but they’re also extremely dangerous and life-threatening. Here’s what happens to your body.

Milder Symptoms

Even mild dehydration has strong effects. Here’s how you’ll feel with a lack of H2O (hint: it’s really not fun).

  • Fatigue, tiredness, sleepiness
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Mood change, irritability, increased anxiety
  • Sunken eyes
  • Shriveled skin
  • Muscle cramps
  • Joint aches

Severe Symptoms

If things get worse, so do your symptoms. These are the “go to the hospital” signs.

  • Low blood pressure, with a rapid heartbeat
  • Fever
  • Delirium, unconsciousness
  • Severe diarrhea and/or vomiting
  • Inability to keep fluids down

Latent Effects

Consistently not drinking enough water for an extended period of time has…

Genetic proneness to illnesses may contribute to self-reported tiredness and low energy

Already feeling drained so early in the year? Genes might contribute in a small but significant way to whether people report being tired and low in energy. This is according to UK researchers led by Vincent Deary of Northumbria University, Newcastle, and Saskia Hagenaars of the University of Edinburgh, in a paper in Springer Nature’s journal Molecular Psychiatry.

They found that genetics accounts for about eight percent of people’s differences in self-reported tiredness/low energy; this implies that the vast majority of people’s differences in self-reported tiredness are environmental in origin. The researchers found that the small genetic contributions to self-reported tiredness overlapped with genetic contributions to a range of mental and physical health conditions, and with whether people smoke, or are carrying too much weight, and also longevity.

Their large-scale study analyzed genetic information of 111,749 participants who all indicated whether they felt tired or low in energy in the two weeks before their data were collected in the UK Biobank study. The large UK Biobank resource is used to identify the reasons behind certain diseases occurring in middle aged and older people. It includes genetic samples as well as information about participants’ physical and mental health, personality and cognitive functioning. The researchers working together on the study conducted various statistical analyses, including genome-wide associations, heritability estimates, and…

How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes: 6 Useful Steps

MNT Knowledge Center

Type 2 diabetes is a common, serious disease that can harm many organs of the body.

Currently, 40 percent of people in the United States are expected to develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetime.

There are ways to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This article will look at six of them.

A woman taking a blood sugar reading
Glucose is used for energy, so checking levels is very important.

Diabetes mellitus, or diabetes, refers to a group of metabolic diseases where the body does not adequately produce insulin or use insulin properly. Insulin plays a crucial role in delivering glucose, or sugar, into the cells. This glucose is then used for energy.

People with untreated or poorly managed diabetes have abnormally high levels of glucose in their blood. This can lead to organ damage and other complications.

Too much glucose in the blood is called hyperglycemia. Symptoms include fatigue, blurry vision, hunger, increased thirst, and frequent urination.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for about 90 to 95 percent of all diagnosed cases. In type 2 diabetes, the body develops a resistance to insulin.

This means the body cannot use insulin to absorb blood sugar into the cells so that it can be used for energy. Some people with type 2 diabetes may stop producing enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels within normal ranges.

Type 2 diabetes usually affects people who are older. It emerges more slowly than type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may not have noticeable symptoms. A person may have type 2 diabetes without knowing it.

Treatment of type 2 diabetes involves diet, exercise, and sometimes medications. Lifestyle changes can also help to prevent type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong disease, thought to be an autoimmune disease that usually develops during childhood and adolescence. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system mistakes insulin-producing cells for harmful invaders and destroys them.

Eventually, a person with type 1 diabetes stops producing insulin entirely. This means that glucose cannot enter the cells. The glucose level in the blood will rise until insulin therapy is begun.

Can type 1 diabetes be prevented?

There is no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes. Research is underway to understand the disease better and find ways to stop the destruction of insulin-producing cells.

Steps to prevent type 2 diabetes

Here are some suggestions to prevent type 2 diabetes and also maintain overall health:

1. Regular blood glucose screening

Blood tests can detect prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Those who are overweight, older, or who have other risk factors should have regular diabetes screenings.

The American Diabetes Association recommend that testing begins at 45 years of age and recurs every 3 years. If other risk factors exist, testing may be started sooner and more frequently.

There are three tests that can diagnose prediabetes and type 2 diabetes:

  • Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test. This blood test checks for the average blood sugar level for the past 2 to 3 months. An A1C of at least 5.7 percent is associated with a greater risk of getting type 2 diabetes. An A1C level

Alarming Increase In The Number Of Diabetics In India

Sedentary lifestyle, erratic schedule for food and sleep has become synonymous with the age group of 20-40 in urban set-up in India.
This has triggered a spurt in the number of diabetics by over 30 million in the last decade. Here’s what country’s diabetes experts have to say.

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According to experts, early in the year 2000, around 31.7 million people were diagnosed with diabetes. By 2015, the figure was 62 million. By 2025, it is expected to touch 70 million.
Diabetes, a chronic disease, occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. While Type 1 diabetes includes excessive excretion of urine, thirst, constant hunger, weight loss, vision changes and fatigue, Type 2 diabetes, which comprises of the majority of people, is largely the result of excess body weight and physical inactivity. [SOCIAL_ICONS]
Abhay Vispute, Diabetologist at Mumbai-based SRV Hospital, says though genetic factors contributed to diabetes, urban migration and obesity due to rising social standards were the other...
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