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Fatigue Can Plague People With MS. Exercise May Help

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 9, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with a type of multiple sclerosis (MS) known as relapsing-remitting MS could have less fatigue if they got more active and were in better physical shape, according to new research.

The study also found that a lower disability rate was also associated with less fatigue.

“The findings are interesting and support previous studies very well," said corresponding author Marko Luostarinen, a doctoral researcher at the University of Eastern Finland, in Kuopio. "Patients with MS should find a suitable form of exercise, taking into account their disability, which maintains their functional capacity and reduces fatigue.”

In relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), patients experience periods of new symptoms or relapses that are followed by quiet periods of remission that can last months or even years.

Fatigue is a common MS symptom.

The aim of the study was to investigate the connection between fatigue and disability in patients with RRMS.

The study used several methods to gauge this, including measures of fatigue, disability and physical activity.

Patients whose level of disability, as assessed by a measure called the expanded disability status scale (EDSS), was moderately low (0 to 2.5) had a higher level of fatigue than healthy participants with whom they were compared, the study found. At the same time, they had less fatigue than patients whose disability was higher (EDSS of 3 to 5.5).

The researchers found a significant relationship between fatigue and disability, and between daily physical activity and fatigue.

“This study is unique because it was large and used modern methods," Luostarinen said in a university news release. "However, more detailed research into patients’ disability and actual physical activity levels is needed.”

The findings were recently published online in the journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.

More information

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has more on MS.

SOURCE: University of Eastern Finland, news release, Aug. 8, 2023

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