Fatigue is the lack of mental or physical energy. Fatigue can be a direct result of a disease process (primary fatigue). It can also be an indirect consequence of an underlying condition (secondary fatigue). Unlike multiple sclerosis (MS), neuromyelitis optica (NMO) doesn’t cause fatigue, but living with the disease can lead to fatigue. Moreover, other factors that can cause fatigue in people with NMO include
- Chronic pain
- Bowel and bladder issues
- Sleep disorders
- Mood disorders
- Changes in walking
The origin of fatigue may be associated with spinal cord lesions causing pain in NMO patients.
What is NMO?
Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) or Devic disease is a rare, autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). NMO primarily affects the myelin sheath that covers and insulates the central nervous system. Therefore, the disease targets the spinal cord, optic nerves and brainstem. The damage to the optic nerves causes swelling and inflammation, resulting in pain and vision damage. However, damage to the spinal cord causes weakness or paralysis in the legs or arms, loss of sensation and problems with bladder and bowel functions. Moreover, damage to the brainstem can lead to prolonged hiccups, nausea, vomiting, vertigo or respiratory failure.
NMO is a relapsing-remitting disease. During a relapse, new damage to optic nerves and/or the spinal cord can cause additional disability.
There are two types of NMO
- Relapsing form: This is the most common type of NMO and mainly affects more women than men. It has periodic flare-ups with some respite in between.
- Monophasic form: This involves a single attack that lasts a month or two. Both men and women are equally affected by this form.
How to tackle fatigue in NMO patients
It is important to identify the underlying reason for the fatigue. For example, if the person is not sleeping due to pain or bladder dysfunction, it should be identified and corrected. Also, try these methods to tackle fatigue
- Pacing is key. Prioritize the tasks that need to be done in a day and tackle the most important ones first.
- Inform the boss, co-workers and family when feeling fatigued. It helps to set expectations and allows them to understand the situation and come forward to help.
- Take breaks throughout the day when needed.
- Ask for help with chores, such as cooking, cleaning and laundry.
- Incorporate exercise routines into your day to build stamina and reduce fatigue.
- Reorganize your home and office to reduce the amount of wasted energy.
- Rest enough if nothing is working.
- Opt for physical therapy if you’re exerting too much energy doing everyday things, such as walking.
How to live with NMO
Living becomes difficult with NMO because the disability worsens over time. Some other complications of NMO include
- Visual impairment or blindness
- Paralysis or weakness of one or more limbs
- Stiffness or muscle spasms
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
Some people may require ventilators for breathing purposes. People with NMO should seek support from friends, family and support groups to deal with the trauma. A person with major disabilities may also require help from neurologists who specialize in NMO, occupational therapists, physical therapists and social services professionals.
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How Can I Relieve Eye Pain at Home?Eye pain (ocular pain) is also called ophthalmalgia and is a common complaint. It may be perceived as a throbbing, burning, or itching sensation. Eye pain may be unilateral or in both eyes. It may be due to something as trivial as eye strain or as serious as brain infection.
Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea is an uneasiness of the stomach that often precedes vomiting. Nausea and vomiting are not diseases, but they are symptoms of many conditions. There are numerous cases of nausea and vomiting. Some causes may not require medical treatment, for example, motion sickness, and other causes may require medical treatment by a doctor, for example, heart attack, lung infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia.
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Treatment of nausea and vomiting depends upon the cause.
Nerve Disease and Bladder ControlA nerve problem might affect your bladder control if the nerves that are supposed to carry messages between the brain and the bladder do not work properly. Such problems include urine retention, poor control of sphincter muscles, and overactive bladder. Treatment depends upon the cause of the nerve damage and resulting type of bladder control problem.
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How to Get Rid of Hiccups
The main muscle that helps your lungs expand and contract to breathe is the diaphragm, which is in your abdomen and controls the volume of your chest cavity. Hiccups (also spelled hiccough) happen when this diaphragm muscle spasms. In response, you vocal cords snap shut, causing the “hic” sound you hear with hiccups. This condition is usually harmless and temporary, but prolonged cases may indicate some disease process or digestive problem that is causing the condition.