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Marina

MS Fatigue or Carbon Monoxide?

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Crappy
Marina

I’ve had fatigue for years. For at least the past year, if not longer, I’ve been feeling more and more tired, and lethargic and apathetic.

 

Last week, my heating broke down. I was extremely lucky to find an excellent plumber, the best I’ve ever had, and he fixed it. The problem wasn't with the boiler but he was a bit dubious about the boiler, as he has a 6th sense when things might go wrong and he advised me to get a carbon monoxide monitor (which, in itself, got me a bit worried). I got one, with a digital display so that I could see the pp levels, and set it up the night before last.

 

Yesterday, the monitor’s alarm went off... To test it, to make sure it wasn’t a one-off false alarm with a new monitor, I turned the boiler off for the night (to be on the safe side whilst sleeping) and then turned it on again this morning. Within an hour or two, the monitor’s alarm went off again. So I’ve now had to turn the boiler off permanently till the plumber returns and I'll most likely need a new boiler - wrong time of year for this sort of thing, though!

 

The CO level wasn’t super high when it triggered the alarm, at 99pp and 102pp, but was higher than the “safe enough” levels of 35-50pp, hence the alarm being triggered. Edit: in-between alarms, the readings tended to be between 20 and 49pp.

 

Symptoms of CO poisoning include those we can get with MS, such as fatigue, tiredness, dizziness, headaches, even neuropathic pain, and non-MS symptoms like nausea. (I should maybe find a suitable link to add to “Conditions that are similar to, linked to, or mimic MS” in our Resources)

 

I now don’t know how long the CO levels from my boiler have been too high, and I don’t know if my worsening fatigue and lethargy are due to MS or to CO!

 

So, if you don’t have a CO monitor, I’d advise to get one! (The one I got was a FireAngel CO-9D)

 

This is a handy link showing CO levels and at what levels symptoms can occur:

 

kidde-logo.png
WWW.KIDDE.COM

What are the carbon monoxide levels that will sound the alarm?

 


Edited by Marina
Added readings between alarms

Marina

(belated DX in June '05, SPMS)

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Procrastinating
Stumbler

@Marina , the following article discusses specific CO levels :-

 

 

onh-health-facts.png
WWW.ONHEALTH.COM

Get Health Facts Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, Is Your Home Safe?

 

 

:moonieman:


John aka Stumbler (as I do fall over!)

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming... "Wow! What a ride!"

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Crappy
Marina

Thanks, Stumbler, I'd already seen various sites similar to that one, and the symptoms associated with specific levels are similar to those in the link I posted :flowerface:

 

My post was to not only question the cause of my own increased fatigue, but to alert people to the possible similarities in symptoms, depending on the level of CO. For instance, as in extracts from:

 

The NHS:
 

Quote

You may lose balance, vision and memory.

 

Long-term exposure to low levels of carbon monoxide can also lead to neurological symptoms, such as:

- difficulty thinking or concentrating
- frequent emotional changes – for example, becoming easily irritated, depressed, or making impulsive or irrational decisions

 

Breathing in high levels of carbon monoxide gas can cause more severe symptoms. These may include:
- the feeling that you or the environment around you is spinning (vertigo)
- loss of physical co-ordination caused by underlying damage to the brain and nervous system (ataxia)
- an uncontrollable burst of electrical activity in the brain that causes muscle spasms (seizures)

The MSD Manual:
 

Quote

Levels > 20% commonly cause vague dizziness, generalized weakness, difficulty concentrating, and impaired judgment.

 

Patients may also have many other symptoms, including visual deficits, abdominal pain, and focal neurologic deficits. If poisoning is severe, neuropsychiatric symptoms and signs (eg, dementia, psychosis, parkinsonism, chorea, amnestic syndromes) can develop days to weeks after exposure and become permanent.

All of those could be MS symptoms too.


Marina

(belated DX in June '05, SPMS)

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Procrastinating
Stumbler

@Marina , that's a new concern to me. I wasn't aware that this could mimic MS.

 

Surely, the awareness of this possibility needs to be raised. But, how is the question........:what:

 

:moonieman:


John aka Stumbler (as I do fall over!)

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming... "Wow! What a ride!"

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Crappy
Marina

It was only in researching the symptoms of CO poisoning, that I saw the various similarities. I guess when people go their GP with a variety of these types of symptoms and there's no logical possible explanation for it or any diagnostic tests don't show anything at all, then there's apparently a blood test that can show if you've got CO in your system. But would GPs even think of it?

 

That was also part of my point, John... How do I know if my fatigue, lethargy and apathy are worse due to MS or to any possible CO effects, being as I don't know long the boiler has been leaking CO?

 


Marina

(belated DX in June '05, SPMS)

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Procrastinating
Stumbler

Unfortunately, we live in the present, so whatever has gone before is consigned to history.

 

It is a useful consideration for someone who is just presenting with symptoms and for the GPs who primarily treat them.

 

Just my thoughts, @Marina .

 

:moonieman:


John aka Stumbler (as I do fall over!)

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming... "Wow! What a ride!"

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Crappy
Marina

I should've added that my question in my last paragraph was a rhetorical one :hippy:

 

That said, the carbon monoxide in my house has, however, now been consigned to history, hopefully never to return.

 

My excellent new plumber, who came to thoroughly investigate things yesterday, has magic fingers... Having opened up the boiler and triple checked everything (including the outside flue) and found no cause for nor any visible indication of CO emissions, his professional CO detector showed readings of 0ppm CO, as did my monitor. The only possibility he could think of was that the plumber who previously serviced the boiler maybe didn't put the cover back on properly and that it caught on something that caused CO to leak; otherwise, the cause is a mystery. Nevertheless, I’m keeping an eye on my CO detector!

 

Needless to say, I'm therefore much relieved and also glad to have "normal" heating back on:hoop:

 

Unfortunately, my fatigue and lethargy remains, and I doubt it will ever improve (at least, not much if ever it did improve), as it's been slowly getting worse for a long time now.


Marina

(belated DX in June '05, SPMS)

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