Many people were amazed when they heard that Lisa and I were packing our bags and leaving the UK and moving to Spain where we arrived last November. It wasn’t just the move that took them by surprise, it was the fact that we were moving to sunny southern Spain. To Andalucía to be exact.
“How will you cope with the heat?” was a question that has been asked many times since we announced our plans to move. It’s a reasonable question bearing in mind that heat sensitivity is a common feature of multiple sclerosis. That’s when people with MS can often experience a temporary worsening of their symptoms during very hot or humid weather.
Of course, we know that it is not just weather, it could be because of overheating by taking a hot shower or taking excessive exercise.
Heat sensitivity can cause some people to experience a temporary increase of their usual symptoms. Exhaustion and lack of balance are just two things of many that can get considerably worse.
These temporary changes can result from the very slightest increase in body temperature; it can be as small as one-quarter of a degree. And, speaking technically, higher temperatures further reduce the ability of a demyelinated nerve to conduct electrical impulses, so making symptoms worse.
In my case, I guess that it is good fortune that my heat sensitivity is not about extremes of hot or cold but the speed and frequency of changes between ordinary hot and cold. Although the UK is not renowned for extreme weather, temperatures can vary widely from day to day-
So moving to Spain has taken me to a more constant, less changeable environment. So, while it may be hotter, it is more comfortable for me.
It also comes with many more hours of sun. In fact, here we tend to talk about days of sun here. And that brings a great increase of naturally-created vitamin D.
MS or not, life in Spain is pretty sweet with an air-conditioned home, with additional ceiling fans, nestled among palm trees, as well as trees bearing olives, oranges and grapefruits. Oh, and yes, I drive an air-conditioned car.