Ask the Expert – Temperature Dysregulation

Featuring Marie Namey, RN, MSN, MSCN
Mellen Center for MS Treatments & Research, Cleveland, OH

Question: I find that I am often hot, then cold, then hot again. It seems my internal thermostat is messed up and I am well past menopause. Is this caused by MS and why?

Answer: You are not alone in experiencing these symptoms. We often hear from our patients that they feel hot or cold for “no good reason.”

The medical term is “temperature dysregulation,” meaning that it’s difficult for the body to maintain normal temperatures and results in periods of feeling hot or cold when there has been no change in the actual temperature indoors or outdoors. MS can cause temperature dysregulation. This temperature dysregulation can also make MS patients susceptible to extreme hot or cold.

Some individuals with MS may have impairment of autonomic functions, the functions that are not thought about consciously for the systems to work. Autonomic dysfunction develops when the nerves are damaged. Interestingly in a recent “Patients Like Me” survey, 69% of patients with MS who replied said that their temperature dysregulation is severe or moderately severe.

Also to avoid attributing every symptom to MS you should be checked for other causes of your symptoms such as anemia, thyroid disease, poor circulation, malnutrition, diabetes, or vitamin deficiencies. I always recommend regular health checkups and open dialogue with your MS health care provider and primary care provider.

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About MSAA

As a national nonprofit organization, the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America is a leading resource for the entire MS community, improving lives today through vital services and support. MSAA provides free programs and services, such as: a toll-free Helpline; award-winning publications including a magazine, The Motivator; website featuring educational videos and research updates; S.E.A.R.C.H.â„¢ program to assist the MS community with learning about different treatment choices; a mobile phone app, My MS Managerâ„¢; a resource database, My MS Resource Locator; equipment distribution ranging from grab bars to wheelchairs; cooling accessories for heat-sensitive individuals; educational events and activities; MRI funding and insurance advocacy; and more. For additional information, please visit http://www.mymsaa.org or call (800) 532-7667.

Comments

  • Sheena watts says:

    I have MS & I can find myself waking up in the middle of the night & I’m so hot my pyjama top is soaking wet

  • Cj Crawford says:

    My go to answer for temperature dysregulation is that my thermostat is broken much like a car that needs for its to be replaced. (Yes, reveling my history of driving older vehicles that have needed the part to be replaced. If it was only that easy with the MonSter in tow!
    Nice to hear from you Marie! You’re an excellent MS Team Member.

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