Multiple Sclerosis and Sleep

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  • or balance, shaking, over or undershooting limb movements, nausea, vomiting, stuttering, loss of ability to move to a rhythm
  • Bowel, bladder and sexual dysfunction – urinary incontinence, bowel incontinence, impotence, lack of ability to achieve orgasm
  • Cognitive abnormalities – short and long-term memory problems, speech impairments
  • Mood disorders - mood swings, anxiety, depression
  • Sleep disorders – insomnia, nocturnal movements, sleep disordered breathing, narcolepsy, and REM sleep behavior disorder
  • Other – epileptic seizures, problems breathing, acid reflux, impaired taste and smell, difficulty swallowing, problems regulating heat and cold, fatigue

There is no single test for MS. When a person seeks treatment for MS-related symptoms, a doctor will consider neurological exams, laboratory tests and the patient's medical history to confirm the diagnosis. The clinical diagnosis is usually confirmed by an MRI examination of the brain.

TREATMENT:

There is no cure for MS at the present time. The goal in treating MS is to limit the destruction of myelin, which typically requires suppression of the body's immune system. If you are diagnosed with MS, your doctor may prescribe pharmaceutical therapies that achieve this and address your related symptoms. However, some people with MS lead healthy lives without any treatment at all.

Because of its connection to symptom severity, sleep problems should be given special consideration in MS patients. There are many options for improving sleep, including both behavioral and pharmaceutical remedies. If you have MS and are suffering from sleep problems, talk to your doctor about diagnosing and treating them.

COPING:

Getting a good night's sleep helps to alleviate many common symptoms of MS, including chronic fatigue, mood and memory problems. Daytime naps can also help, but only if napping does not interfere with night-time sleep.

Evidence suggests that exercise can reduce fatigue symptoms as well as muscle control and balance problems. Some MS patients report a worsening of symptoms caused by warm weather or body heat that results from heavy exercise. If this occurs, try taking a cold bath or going swimming.

Some people report that alternative therapies have helped with MS symptoms, though there is no scientific data to support such