Question about ms and heat exposure.

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Question about ms and heat exposure.

Postby panthers123 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:51 pm

So, let me start off by saying hello.

Onto the reason for my post.. about a month ago i was outside doing work and naturally after a while became cold. Im talking chilled to the bone cold. Went inside and decided to take a nice hot shower to warm up. I was in there for a good ten minutes yet still felt kind of cold within. Then i felt the abnormal sensations. First in my feet then my left hand and arm. They were what i would call a very mild numb type sensation. Not in any way completely numb and no pins and needles but it just kind of felt like the initial stages of approaching numbness. Also had some minor aches in the joints of affected extremities. This lasted for about 5 days until completely resolving with no further issues since.

I have since tried to mimic these sensations by copying and recreating the environment of the hot shower with no success. So my question for people with ms who experience symptoms with heat exposure is how consistent are your symptoms following heat exposure? Is it something that only happens once in a while? every time? etc. etc.

I am not diagnosed with ms but did see a neuro with these symptoms and will be getting an mri of head and neck. Based on this hot shower experience the neuro gave me an 80% chance of receiving a positive ms diagnosis. It struck me as strange considering the usual extended diagnosis that most ms people go through. I understand the hot water experience was used as a tool to diagnose ms pre mri days so it is somewhat reliable.

Anyways, how frequent does heat exposure i.e. hot showers affect or serve as an ingredient to the onset of your symptoms?

Thanks!
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Re: Question about ms and heat exposure.

Postby Lyon » Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:06 pm

panthers123 wrote: Anyways, how frequent does heat exposure i.e. hot showers affect or serve as an ingredient to the onset of your symptoms?
The hot shower was among the tests used to put together an MS diagnosis but the idea was that the heat further reduced the reduced conductivity of the nerves due to the reduced myelin as displayed by increased symptoms when taking a hot shower.

They quit using that method because at that time they considered that it might be causing lasting damage. Probably not but that's one more thing that isn't certain.

I've never heard what you're talking about associated with MS diagnosis or that heat sensitivity testing although my wife has MS and isn't heat sensitive and is cold all the time, but then again she was diagnosed at 46 and has always felt cold since I've known her when she was 18.
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Re: Question about ms and heat exposure.

Postby Froggie » Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:18 pm

While I'm not familiar with heat sensitivity testing per se, it is common among MS sufferers. It can definitely exacerbate symptoms. From experience, hot showers can make eye conditions such as optic neuritis worse. I also found out that I do not tolerate hot weather. I get extremely fatigued and my balance and cognitive difficulties flare up.

It also depends on where the lesions are, as the ability to regulate body temperature can be thrown out of whack. During the colder months, I wear layers, as I tend to fluctuate between being chilly and too warm. I have to watch when I'm cooking, as I get overheated easily if I'm wearing a sweater while using the stove, especially the oven.
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Re: Question about ms and heat exposure.

Postby panthers123 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:09 pm

Thanks for the replies!

Froggie, are your symptoms exacerbated by the heat every time you are exposed to heat? Or does it just seem to occur on some hot days (or whichever heat source) but not all?

I only ask because in my experience i have had one occurence in which a hot shower brought on abnormal sensations in my feet and left hand/arm that lasted for a few days. This being the main reason i consulted a neuro. Ive tried to recreate the symptoms with various sources of heat exposure and i have been unsuccessful. So im trying to gauge how others fair with heat exposure and just how frequent their symptoms present when exposed to a heat source or hot environment.
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Re: Question about ms and heat exposure.

Postby Froggie » Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:39 pm

Hi Panthers-

Not to be vague, but it depends on the situation. In general, my symptoms get worse if my body gets overheated. For example, if the weather is hot and humid, I don't stay outside very long as I get too warm. Brief exposure, however, is usually not a problem. If I need to put something in or take something out of the oven, I'm okay, as I'm not sitting in front of it for a long period.

I hope you had a good consult with the neurologist. The MRI's ought to reveal what's going on. If you do have MS, you have a wonderful support group here!
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Re: Question about ms and heat exposure.

Postby suze » Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:44 am

It is related to core body temperature. If the exposure to heat is short enough to not raise body temperature, then there is no problem.
Every time my body temperature is sufficiently raised, my symptoms get a lot worse, but as soon as I cool down I'm fine again.
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Re: Question about ms and heat exposure.

Postby panthers123 » Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:29 am

Thanks for the feedback.

So the neuro, based on two instances of abnormal sensations (one of which started during a hot shower), told me theres an 80% chance i would receive a positive diagnosis of ms. Fair enough. I can appreciate honesty. Im due to get an mri next week which i am looking forward to. Or so i thought. Im now considering
Not getting the mri. I figure that if it is ms its going to keep coming back causing me to eventually seek further treatment. For now though, two instances of some mild abnormal skin sensations is not enough for me to potentially start making life altering changes as would happen with a positive diagnosis. I kind of look at the situation like this, ive been given an oppurtunity to buy some time between good health and a potential ms diagnosis. This would allow me to kind of figure everything out with work, life, etc. for that potential life altering change. My biggest concern though would be missing out on medications that could help me if given a positive diagnosis.

Does this sound crazy to people or have others chosen to do the same thing? I would appreciate some advice. Thanks!
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Re: Question about ms and heat exposure.

Postby DougL » Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:06 am

panthers123 wrote: My biggest concern though would be missing out on medications that could help me if given a positive diagnosis.


MS is a disease of progression. the sooner you deal wih it the better (IMO).
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Re: Question about ms and heat exposure.

Postby shaight » Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:41 am

^yes, and the easiest thing to do is start eating healthier and take the necessary supplements immediately.
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