WASN'T IT SUPPOSED TO BE FALL? - Why does the heat makes you feel even more sclerotic.
On Wednesday, September 23, fall begins in the Nothern Hemisphere. But in many places in the US, seems that we are still in the middle of summer ... And as a good sclerotic person, you must be suffering from the heat . We are always feeling hot (at least I am!).
While "sun worshipers" are still running at the beach, we are packing for the colder climates, or when you can not to travel, make the air conditioning our best friend.
The heat demonstrably affects people living with Multiple Sclerosis, worsening the symptoms. And even a small increase in body temperature, can be enough to cause problems of balance, weakness, fatigue or changes in vision.
The heat intolerance is a very common symptom for people with multiple sclerosis, the test of the "hot bath" used to be one of the main ways of diagnosing the disease in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Doctors used to submerge potential patients in a bathtub with water around 102 to 105°F and if the neurological symptoms manifested or got worse, the disease was diagnosed.
With the advent of MRI, CSF and other modern diagnostic tools, the test of the "hot bath" became inappropriate. This does not mean that the sensitivity to heat is no longer a problem. Researchers estimate that 60% to 80% of people with MS have temporary worsening of symptoms when there is an increase in body temperature.
The reason? The Phenomenon of Uhthoff. Wilhelm Uhthoff in 1889 set for the first time the connection between the worsening of the symptoms of MS and the heat, which was confirmed only in 2011, through a Swedish study. This study showed that the sensitivity to heat occurs because of the hypersensitivity of demyelinated fibers, resulting in delays/blockage of conduction.
Making it short, the heat changes the amount of energy the body needs to maintain nerve impulses circulating properly.
This hypersensitivity can be caused by exposure to sunlight, exercise, hot baths, emotion, fatigue, fever, or any other factor associated with increased body temperature.
Due to its temporary and unpredictable effect, the Uhthoff phenomenon is called pseudo-outbreak. In other words, you may think to be having a relapse, but no additional neurological damage occurs.
The good news is that the pseudo-outbreak caused by heat is not the same as the common exacerbation of symptoms, disappearing as soon as the body temperature goes back to normal, with rest or cooling.
But know that just because the pseudo-outbreak caused by heat is not permanent does not make it less real or painful. For some people, the heat gets to be crippling, and worse, there is no warning sign. A person who was well on one day, tolerating the weather, may not be the same way the next day.
Those living with MS learn that to live better, it is ideal to have a plan for everything. And to face the seasons of the year is no different, so it's time to draw the summer plan, because we need a little bit of sun exposure (Walk on the sunny side of the street).