Various health problems are experienced by patients with MS. Heart problems are ranked among these. Multiple sclerosis heart problems may result from a number of causes, some of which are explored in detail below.

One of the symptoms experienced by MS patients is arrhythmia of the heart. This is basically a problem with the rhythm of the patient’s heartbeat. The heart may beat too quickly, too slowly or irregularly. Arrhythmia is harmless in some cases. In other cases, it is a dangerous condition that threatens patients’ lives. In these latter cases, the arrhythmia may hinder blood flow to organs such as the brain and heart. Damage to these organs can be life-threatening.


MS Heart Problems and Brain Stem Lesions


When arrhythmia is accompanied by breathing problems, the condition is often referred to as having palpitations. Palpitations can be experienced by MS patients as a direct result of their MS lesions. To be more specific, if MS patients happen to have MS lesions in the brain stem area, then it is possible for the lesions to affect the autonomic nervous system.

The autonomic nervous system constitutes part of the peripheral nervous system and primarily regulates those bodily functions that are involuntary. They include the heart’s rhythm, respiration, digestion, sweating, urination, sexual arousal and the expansion or contraction of the pupils. Not surprisingly, then, lesions in this region can cause an MS patient’s heart to beat irregularly.

Such a patient may notice that her heart suddenly starts beating rapidly while she is quietly reading a book or in the middle of a meal that has previously caused her no trouble. When consulted, her doctors might dismiss her symptoms, describing them as a panic attack. But imaging will subsequently reveal that she has lesions in the brain stem. MS heart problems of this nature can be classified under the heading of autonomic dysfunction.


Multiple Sclerosis Heart Problems and Magnesium Deficiency


Other sufferers of multiple sclerosis may experience arrhythmia, not because they have lesions in the brain stem area, but because they are suffering from magnesium deficiency. Among the symptoms of magnesium deficiency are arrhythmia, increased heart rates, and irregular contraction of the heart. Muscle weakness, tremors and spasms, osteoporosis, nystagmus and headaches are associated with magnesium deficiency. Interestingly, these are all symptoms that have been associated with multiple sclerosis. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that various studies have shown lower than average magnesium levels within the cells, outside the cells, or within the nervous system organs and visceral organs of MS patients. With this in mind, it makes sense that some multiple sclerosis heart problems are associated with magnesium deficiency.