There is currently quite a bit of research going on regarding WHY people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) are affect by the heat. Heat sensitivity can be a common problem for people with MS. When the core body temperature starts to rise above 37.5 degrees C, there is a disruption in the conduction of nerve impulses. This can then result in an exacerbation of MS perceived symptoms, including; fatigue, sensory changes, muscle weakness and visual changes as an example. These symptoms are short lasting and will resolve as the core temperature drops back down to normal.
Consequently many people with MS will avoid exercise due to the fear of “over heating” as they are concerned about making themselves feel worse even if only for the short term. It can be quite a scary feeling to have an acute increase in muscles weakness, or a change in your vision when you are exercising, enough so that you may think it is best to avoid exercise. HOWEVER the benefits of exercise directly on your MS and general health and wellness completely outweigh the risk of not exercising because some of your symptoms increase in the short term.
SO WHY so hot……preliminary research has shown that people with MS have a reduction in their ability to sweat. Sweating is the bodies natural physiological response to a rise in core temperature. Sweating aims to cool us down by the EVAPORATION of the sweat from the skin. If the sweat can not evaporate off then the core temperature can continue to rise. If there is a reduction in someones ability to sweat then the core body temperature will increase, causing the disruption to the nerve impulses.
WHAT TO DO…a really simple and yet proven by the latest evidence is to drink REALLY cold water. When you drink water that is colder than 10 degrees C, and ideally even closer to 1 degree C your core temperature will drop. The drop in core temperature is due to the body sending its source of heat to warm up the liquid that has just entered your stomach.
This is a really interesting area of research at present and we will be bringing you more information about how to cope with heat sensitivity and the best ways to exercise to keep you cool over the next few months.
KEEP EXERCISING by drinking icy cold water regularly.