Fatigue in multiple sclerosis patients

J Clin Nurs. 2009 May;18(9):1231-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2008.02733.x.


Aim: This study aimed to describe fatigue and the factors that affect fatigue in people with multiple sclerosis.

Background: Fatigue is the most common symptom and has the greatest effect on multiple sclerosis patients' activities of daily living. There is limited understanding of the level of fatigue experienced by people with multiple sclerosis, with research currently limited to other symptoms and problems related to multiple sclerosis.

Design: This research was conducted as a descriptive survey.

Methods: The study involved 120 people with multiple sclerosis. The data were collected with a Patient Questionnaire and a Visual Analogue Scale for Fatigue (VAS-F). Variance analysis, Mann-Whitney U-test and Kruskal-Wallis test were used in the data analysis.

Results: All of the individuals in the sample experienced fatigue. Their fatigue was also affected by factors such as age, gender, education, marital status, number of children, occupation and duration of illness. In addition, the situations with the greatest effect on their fatigue were taking a hot bath/shower, hot/humid weather, stress, infection and other illnesses causing fever, disturbance in sleep pattern, increase in daily activities and exercise.

Conclusions: Fatigue is a symptom that has a significant effect on the daily lives of people with multiple sclerosis. Accordingly, it is recommended that factors affecting fatigue in people with multiple sclerosis be evaluated and that education programmes directed at how to control these factors.

Relevance to clinical practice: The determination of factors affecting fatigue is important for multiple sclerosis individuals' ability to cope with fatigue and keep it under control. To be able to accomplish this it is necessary for health care personnel, the family and friends to work together.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Fatigue / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Surveys and Questionnaires