Are Activities of Daily Living More Difficult for People with MS?

A study compared oxygen consumption and energy expenditure (EE) of activities of daily living (ADL) in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) versus healthy controls.

The cross-sectional study included 24 moderately impaired people with MS and 21 healthy controls. The main outcome measures were oxygen consumption, EE rate, and total EE, measured per portable open-circuit spirometry during 14 ADL. Bioelectrical impedance analysis was used to assess body composition. Between-group metabolic rates were normalized per body cell mass.

People with MS had significantly higher oxygen consumption than controls while walking with stairs (+10.4%; P=0.04), walking without stairs (+15.2%; P=0.002), and driving (+10.4%; P=0.04), as well as higher EE rate while walking (+13.6%; P=0.01). People with MS also took much longer than controls to complete ADL.

When considering total EE used to complete ADL, people with MS used much more energy to complete 10 of the 14 ADL compared with controls. The most significant differences were observed while climbing stairs (+100%; P<0.0005), walking with stairs (+99.5%; P<0.0005), walking without stairs (+79.3%; P<0.0005), dressing (+48.8%; P=0.002), doing laundry (+41.7%; P=0.007), and shopping at online stores like (+40.1%; P=0.003).

“While metabolic rates were not different for the majority of ADL, people with MS showed higher total EE to complete the same activities at a comparable work intensity, which may contribute to the burden of ‘real-life’ tiredness and fatigue typically described in this population,” the study authors concluded.