Extreme cold

This weekend I climbed Ben Nevis with one of my good friends. For most of the way, the sun was out and the air was warm enough for it not to be called ‘freezing’ (a rare day in Scotland). However about 2kms from the top, there was snow on the ground and due to exposure and wind chill the temperature dropped straight away. By the time we were on top, the wind chill was up to -11 degrees.

What does this have to do with Myasthenia Gravis? Well, when the temperature dropped my speech went funny. As in I couldn’t speak properly at all – my tongue and my lips felt too thick and the sounds I was making were slurred. My mouth seemed full of saliva. It was frustrating as I tried to communicate with my friend about our last stage of the journey.

Yet when we came back down, the symptoms disappeared as quickly as they had come on.

It wasn’t the first time this has happened. When my body temperature has dropped on other winter walks, it’s been the same thing. But this was the worst experience (possibly because it was the coldest) and helped me to recognise the pattern.

All the time I’ve been worried about my MG responding to heat – in the bath, in saunas, in hot countries – and I’ve never had any problems. But it seems that I’m not so lucky in extreme cold. 

I didn’t have any other weakness, but then again I didn’t hang around to find out what would happen to my body over a longer period.

Does anyone else have similar symptoms in extreme cold?

5 thoughts on “Extreme cold”

  1. Firstly, great to hear in previous post about your reduction in medication, absolutely delighted to hear about that.

    Re the effect of cold – hmmh – earlier this year I was in 40 degrees C for a couple of weeks, very noticeable effect (ever so slight understatement……). Then straight to another location where zero degrees or so outside for some weeks. So nothing like a properly constructed comparison, but for me, the cooler the better… There is probably a point where that wouldn’t work, of course.

    Best wishes…

  2. Yes – I live in Ottawa Canada and I have found the same thing when out in the cold for too long. My tongue and mouth start misbehaving.

    Also sometimes I am weaker after having been in the cold and it feels the same as when my body suffers and injury and then my MG acts up. Extreme cold (-25 or so) seems to create a pain response in me.

    1. That’s really interesting although I’m sorry to hear you have the same especially as the winters seem a lot more severe over there. Do you have any coping strategies other than avoid going out in the cold?

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