Physical activity may prevent fatigue in MS patients

August 09, 2023
A new study found that better physical condition and higher daily activity predicted lower levels of fatigue in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. A lower disability rate was also linked to less fatigue.

Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms in MS patients, but assessing its effects on patients’ daily lives is challenging. The aim of the study, led by the University of Eastern Finland, was to investigate the link between RRMS patients’ fatigue and their physical activity, as well as with their disability.

The study used a wide range of different measurement methods, measuring physical activity with an accelerometer and measuring fatigue with two different meters (MFIS and FSS); and mapping disability using two different methods (EDSS and MSFC), including different physical performance tests.

Patients whose level of disability as assessed by the EDSS as moderately low (0–2.5) were found to have a higher level of fatigue than healthy controls, but lower than patients whose level of disability was higher (3-5.5). A significant relationship was found between fatigue and disability, and between daily physical activity and fatigue. A lower disability rate, better physical condition, and higher daily activity predicted lower fatigue levels.

Fatigue plays a significant role in MS and has a strong effect on, for example, patients’ ability to work and premature retirement. The researchers said patients with MS should find a suitable form of exercise, taking into account their disability, which maintains their functional capacity and reduces fatigue.

The authors point out this study is unique because it was large and used modern methods. However, more detailed research into patients’ disability and actual physical activity levels is needed.

The study was published in the journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.

MS Focus Lending Library

Books, DVDs, and CDs are available for loan, by mail across the United States.
Learn more