24th Sep, 2002
Paul Donohue, M.D.
Q: I have multiple sclerosis and am doing quite well. My symptoms come and go, and for the moment they have gone. Is it safe for me to exercise? I have not done so since I received the diagnosis, and I am putting on too much weight. Besides, I feel better when I exercise. -- R.D.
A: Most doctors encourage their multiple sclerosis patients to exercise. A large study examined a number of MS patients to inquire about their exercise programs. Those who exercised were less likely to have heart disease. That parallels what exercise does for the population without MS.
In this same study, exercisers had lower amounts of body fat, a definite plus for an exercise program.
Some MS patients experience a worsening of symptoms when they become overheated. If exercise causes a flare-up of symptoms, prudence dictates that the exercise should be stopped. It doesn't happen to most patients.
Swimming practically never raises body temperature to levels that might aggravate MS symptoms. It, therefore, is exercise that can be endorsed for almost all MS patients.
This is another instance when it is essential to check with you doctor
(C) 2002 Tulsa World