everyday health magazine

Fatigue caused by multiple sclerosis (MS) is among the most common symptoms of the disease, and one that can take a serious toll on work and home life.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) estimates that 80 percent of people with MS experience fatigue, and a study published in March 2021 in Multiple Sclerosis Journal revealed similar estimates internationally. After surveying patients with MS in Norway, researchers found that fatigue affected 81 percent of people, and noted a higher prevalence of fatigue in women (83 percent) compared with men (78 percent). Their study also suggested that fatigue was more common in people with greater disability, depression, anxiety, and excessive sleepiness during the day.

Often called “lassitude,” according to the NMSS, fatigue related to MS has unique effects on people with the condition:

  • It happens every day and often comes on suddenly.
  • It can affect you as you’re starting your day, even if you slept well the night before, and often gets worse as the day goes on.
  • Heat and humidity can intensify fatigue.
  • It’s often more severe than normal fatigue and can interfere with your ability to function throughout the day.

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