Fatigue is the most common MS symptom and, in competition with pain, is the most frustrating for people to manage. It is unpredictable and invisible and is often misattributed, not to the MS disease process, but to depression, denial, disinterest, self-pity, disorganization, poor planning or just plain laziness. As many as 90 percent of people with MS have fatigue–probably half of them experience it every day. One third of people with MS describe it as their most troublesome symptom.

Fatigue is a frequent cause of disability. Fatigue is difficult to define because it is a collection of different symptoms that vary in frequency and intensity. Although fatigue is a big problem, it is a slightly different problem for each person who has it, so it is difficult to measure and therefore difficult to study. It has been the focus of much research to understand what it is, what causes it and how best to improve it. But, to quote from a 2008 study: “For all this, fatigue remains elusive. Without exception, each MS study begins with a comment about the lack of a clear definition of fatigue, lack of understanding of the pathophysiological basis of the symptom, and lack of effective treatment, all the while acknowledging its complexity, importance as a cause of disability and social cost.”

To learn more about fatigue and MS, please view the short educational video to the right, featuring Dr. John Corboy, Co-Director of RMMSC at CU.

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