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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Causes of MS Exacerbations

The Causes of MS Exacerbations thumbnail
Lower your stress levels to prevent MS exacerbations.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease in which the immune system attacks the myelin sheath, or the covering around the nerves, so nerve signals fail to function correctly, according to Kansas' Department of Health and Environment. MS affects parts of the nervous system, such as the brain and spinal cord, causing symptoms which may include speech and vision changes; coordination problems; fatigue; tingling and dizziness. At times, MS patients experience exacerbations in which new symptoms may appear or old ones may become more severe. While exacerbations may occur without a clear-cut reason, several factors are thought to trigger flare-ups.


  • Both emotional and physical stress can bring on exacerbations in people with MS. Because stress affects your immune system, being under a lot of emotional stress can lead to a worsening of your symptoms, according to WebMD. When your immune system is weakened by prolonged stress, your body cannot deal with MS symptoms as effectively.
    Physical stress also depresses your immune system and may worsen your symptoms. Examples of physical stressors include illness, infections and lack of sleep. MS patients should get the flu vaccine to reduce the chance of getting sick and experiencing exacerbations.


  • Extreme humidity, heat or cold or sudden shifts in temperature may cause exacerbations in MS patients. Heat causes the already-damaged myelin sheath and nerves to send out signals even more inefficiently than usual, according to WebMD. Patients may experience exacerbations in very cold environments as well. Fortunately, exacerbations caused by extreme climate conditions are not permanent.
Read more: The Causes of MS Exacerbations |


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