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Running and heat?

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  • Running and heat?

    So I ran (really ran/walk) today for the first time after being diagnosed and it was pretty warm. I kept telling myself that they said on Active MS that I was not hurting myself even thought my symptoms definitely got worse while my body was heating up.

    Can anyone explain in very easy to understand way, why my symptoms get worse when I get hot or exercise hard? Just so I feel reassured that I should just keep going.... if that makes sense? Thanks.

  • #2
    Hi Cindy,
    Not being an expert I have the following explanation from a Web page. Quick answer is no long lasting effects.

    I have a severe case of heat sensitivity which my doctor calls Uthoffts syndrome. A slight fever or exposure to the beautiful sunshine, like on this amazing spring day can slow me down significantly...from a turtles pace to a snails pace. I manage it through avoidance or substitution. For example I no longer go to Jamaica in the spring to bake on the beach and drink red stripes . Instead I spend days like this on the shores of Lake Ontario in the shade with a bottle of water and Bob Marley playing on my ear buds . If I close my eyes I can almost smell the jerk chicken! ...good times...Everything's irie!

    Back to heat sensitivity...

    The following is from the page I mentioned. Here's the link:

    "A 2011 Swedish study reported that between 60 and 80 percent of people with MS experience heat sensitivity. Demyelinated fibers in the CNS are hyper sensitive to a rise in body temperature, making it even more difficult for the body to receive internal signals. This can result in worsening of any MS-related symptoms, the most common of which is blurred vision.

    The good news is that heat sensitivity and its related worsening of MS symptoms is only temporary (pseudo-exacerbation). It doesn’t mean you have new lesions, that you’re experiencing lasting neurological damage, or that your MS is progressing more rapidly"
    Last edited by bobbo; 04-21-2014, 12:34 PM.

    "the only difference between a happy ending and a sad ending is where you decide the story ends."
     Andrew Kaufman


    • #3
      Keeping cool is imperative. It really improves nerve conduction. Precooling with a cold shower, cold liquids, a cooling vest are crucial to maintaining good neural conduction.

      Good for you to be exercising. Keep it up and welcome to the site!


      • #4
        Thanks for the information. I have never had trouble with my vision before with MS but did feel like it was going a little fuzzy on the run. Everything was fine after a shower but I will remember to try to cool off before I start. I had not thought of that.


        • #5
          And here's another article, written by my friend Lisa Emrich for HealthCentral, that might help.

          Strategies for Keeping Cool with MS in the Summer Heat

          Dave Bexfield


          • #6
            Cindy, since I'm not a runner I wasn't initially going to post here but, after having read Lisa's article, I did think of a couple of things.

            First, I liken the heat sensitivity issue to an old car with bad wiring. It's not a perfect analogy but basically, the harder you drive the old car, the more unpredictable the wiring problems become and as the bad spark plug wires heat up, the worse the car runs, until you let it cool down anyway.

            As far as keeping cool, here are a couple more ideas that might work for a runner.

            This one is pretty obvious. Assuming you carry a water bottle with you when you run, stuff it with the largest ice cubes you can fit into it and top it off with water. Use it to dampen yourself with, especially the head and neck, and to drink. It should last up to and hour.

            Use cooling jerseys and carry an extra one very wet in a ziplock bag. As you start to heat up, switch jerseys, wet the one you removed and keep it in the zip lock bag until the one you're wearing drys out then repeat the cycle. Each wet jersey should cool you for at least 20 minutes. Izypro makes jerseys that work pretty well for this.

            This is one I plan to try if things heat up around here. Freeze a hydration pack and wear it on your run or ride. I don't know if runners use hydration packs but you can certainly find them at any cycling shop. If it's too cold, you might have to add a little padding between it and your skin. I would expect this to work for at least an hour, depending on how much water you start with in the hydration pack.

            Lastly, don't let the heat stop you from running. You might find that you can acclimate at least somewhat to the heat. I typically find I can increase my heat tolerance by about 15 degrees over a period of six weeks but I'm sure we're all different in this respect.

            Good luck,