heat - damaging or just annoying? (new person question)

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heat - damaging or just annoying? (new person question)

Postby JenniferF » Thu May 07, 2009 4:45 pm

Easy question, just need to know: My symptoms pick up with heat. 'Tis the season. Do I need to worry about causing long term harm, or is it just a matter of how much I'm willing to put up with right now? Ie is a day in the sun something I will regret for the next twenty years, or just until the symptoms subside?

--> Likewise all year 'round, is a hot shower today going to cost me in the long run, or can I just decide that a few hours of weirdness is worth it, and not worry?

[Assume MS. I'm not officially dx'd, but whatever the ailment is, assume it acts like MS in this respect.]

Jen.
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Postby Karazhan » Thu May 07, 2009 7:47 pm

That's a great question. I don't know the answer but I'd like to.
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Postby Lyon » Thu May 07, 2009 9:07 pm

From everything I've read, problems caused by heat...Uhthoff's Phenomenon....are only a temporary worsening of symptoms, although the effects of heat are no longer used to diagnose MS, partly due to worries about worsening the patient's condition.

As you would expect with MS, nothing has been conclusively proven one way or the other.
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Postby JenniferF » Fri May 08, 2009 6:40 am

Lyon wrote:From everything I've read, problems caused by heat...Uhthoff's Phenomenon....are only a temporary worsening of symptoms, although the effects of heat are no longer used to diagnose MS, partly due to worries about worsening the patient's condition.

As you would expect with MS, nothing has been conclusively proven one way or the other.


Ah. Hmmn.
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Postby Loobie » Fri May 08, 2009 6:49 am

I'll give you my simplified take on heat. I'm very heat affected as well.

Conventional wisdom equation:

Exercise for MS = GOOD

There isn't a thing I do that gets me hotter or more "symptom flared" than exercise. So using my pea brain logic;

Exercise for MS = GOOD, ergo Heat generated during exercise is not bad. Therefore while heat may flare your symptoms up, so does exercise to an even larger degree, but we are supposed to exercise. That leads me to the conclusion that while it may flare up your symptoms, it doesn't do damage or the constant banging of the drum by all experts to exercise would not be so loud.
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Postby JenniferF » Fri May 08, 2009 8:59 am

Loobie wrote:Exercise for MS = GOOD, ergo Heat generated during exercise is not bad. Therefore while heat may flare your symptoms up, so does exercise to an even larger degree, but we are supposed to exercise. That leads me to the conclusion that while it may flare up your symptoms, it doesn't do damage or the constant banging of the drum by all experts to exercise would not be so loud.


I was thinking about that, too. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be magically staying cool while exercising, or if maybe it was a case (on the exercise) of more good than harm overall.

Getting mighty creative this week, figuring out how to stay cool, exercise, get sunlight, not bite anyone's head off . . . ; - )

Thanks for the help thinking through this.

Jen.
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Postby Loobie » Fri May 08, 2009 10:03 am

No problem Jennifer. I also faced those same questions down and now don't even try, save for ice cold beverages in the sun, to do anything while exercising to stay cool.

I mean I wear the min. amount of clothing for the conditions so I optimize my own cooling ability, but I don't wear a cooling vest or set up a fan next to my bike or anything like that.

What you said about the pos. from exercising outweighing the neg. from the heat generated is probably more right on than my black and white equation. However, heat doesn't bother me over the long haul anymore because when given enough 'cooling off time' after exercise or sunbathing, I always go back to where I was before I started the activity. If I did not, I'd be more inclined to think it's causing damage.

Bob is right, however, that nothing is absolutely proven. This is just how I deal with it. When you first get into your MS, you want to make sure you at least do something to control the uncontrollable, but over time I've given up because those things are, well, uncontrollable. Just don't do stupid things like jog in plastic sweats to try and lose weight or something like that :lol: . It's a tricky question because flaring your symptoms doesn't 'feel healthy'. But I think we have to try and live like we don't have MS whenever and wherever possible in terms of living your life.
I'm not talking like throw caution to the wind and eat like crap like we (I) used to. Just in terms of flaring myself up.

Sorry I'm being windy but allow me to expound. For the last three days, I've been doing a physical job at work. We put out some bad product that had to be sorted at a customer's. Well I'm the only trained ultrasound weld cerified guy, so I had to lead it. Well the part goes in part of the clutch of a semi sized truck. We had to pick these up off of skids that were about 10" apart. Needless to say after about 10 minutes of doing this, I was all screwed up. Dizzy, legs hurting, couldn't see right. Well a year or so ago I would simply have said I couldn't do it because it makes me feel so bad. After time you will realize that doing things like that only "take you down" so far. At first you don't know when the downward feeling is going to stop. But it does and sort of levels off at a certain level of dysfunction.

Well it was a really good thing I went ahead and did it because today I'm feeling the benefits. So exertion and heat don't scare me anymore since I know it's not going to take me all the way down to where I can't move. And like I said before, I'll keep doing it until I don't recover back the state I was in before I started. Sorry this is such a diatribe. I don't even know if I conveyed the thought properly, but I hope I got one thing across:

Even though exertion, and the heat that comes with it, make you feel like ass, there is a limit to how bad you are going to feel (at least in my case). So I'd find your threshold where you aren't tipping yourself into temporary blathering and stumbling so bad that you hurt yourself, and use that as your own barometer. So until I can't recover from what I did, I plan on keeping up with living and exerting myself.
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Postby patientx » Fri May 08, 2009 10:38 am

I've heard conflicting views from neuros on the heat issue. On the one hand, I have heard that the worsening of symptoms from getting heated is only temporary, and will do no lasting damage.

On the other hand, when I was diagnosed, the neuro told me to avoid hot-tubs and saunas, since getting overheated could lead to a relapse or semi-relapse, and this may leave lasting impairment.

Not being sure which to believe, I've arrived at a compromise. I won't go in hot tubs anymore (though I do probably keep the shower water a little too warm). But, I will try not to let this keep me form exercising or going outside in the summertime.
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Postby JenniferF » Fri May 08, 2009 12:15 pm

Loobie, thanks for the thorough reply. Very helpful! I'm kind of stumbling onto the same thing myself . . . have to keep telling myself that if I'm not falling all over the place, really I ought to keep pushing until I do, just to see what it takes, lol. [So far, I only *feel* wobbly, I don't actually trip and stuff. So paradise for the MS world.] Such a new paradigm, though. Hard to make myself do it.

Px, interesting what your neuro said. Hmmn.

Jen.
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