In addition, increased fatigue severity correlated with greater physical, cognitive, and psychological impairment, although the strength of this link was largely the same between progressive and non-progressive MS patients.
The study, “Prevalence of fatigue and its association with clinical features in progressive and non-progressive forms of Multiple Sclerosis,” was published in the journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.
Fatigue, defined in the study as “a subjective lack of physical and/or mental energy that is perceived by the individual or caregiver to interfere with usual and desired activities,” is often regarded as the most debilitating symptom of MS.
Estimates indicate that between 52 percent and 88 percent of MS patients report fatigue. Differences in study populations, outcome measures, and methods used to identify people with or without fatigue explain the large disparity in the reported prevalence of the condition between studies.
It is unclear how exactly MS causes fatigue, with some evidence suggesting it is a direct consequence of disease-related processes, including inflammation and brain damage. Similarly, there is research showing that fatigue can develop independently of MS, due to depression or disability; however, this research is inconsistent.
Additionally, few studies have considered the relationship between fatigue and sleep quality or cognition symptoms common in MS patients, which have been proposed to contribute to its development.
Although fatigue seems to be more prevalent in progressive forms of MS, few studies have considered its association with clinical features specifically in patients with primary– or secondary-progressive MS.
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