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Multiple Sclerosis: MS Frequently Asked Questions

Trinity Homecare understands that those who are either living with Multiple Sclerosis or have loved ones that have been diagnosed, this can be a time of unpredictability and uncertainty. The purpose of this information is to help those that have questions surrounding MS find the answers they are looking for. 

 

What is Multiple Sclerosis? 

Multiple Sclerosis is a lifelong condition that impacts the central nervous system (CNS) including the brain, nerves and spinal cord. Research suggests that MS is an immune-mediated disorder that causes the immune system to incorrectly attack healthy tissue within the CNS. 

 

What are the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis? 

MS symptoms are unpredictable and vary in severity from one person to another, often fluctuating and changing as time progresses. The most common symptoms of MS include weakness, fatigue, numbness & tingling, vision impairment, imbalance & poor coordination, pain, paralysis, memory problems and struggling to concentrate. 

 

What are the stages of Multiple Sclerosis? 

  • Clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) – the first and most common episode of MS symptoms that people experience, causing inflammation to the myelin sheats
  • Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) – leads to MS attacks with new and worsening symptoms, after each attack the symptoms improve or disappear until the next relapse
  • Primary progressive MS (PPMS) – less common than RRMS, most commonly occurring after the age of 40 years. Symptoms begin to gradually worsen over time with little distinction between recovery or remissions
  • Secondary progressive MS (SPMS) – after a person has lived with RRMS for many years, the disease may eventually progress to SPMS in which symptoms become more severe without any further distinction between attacks and remission

At what age do people get MS? 

The age in which people develop Multiple Sclerosis is unique to the individual. MS can occur at any age, but usually occurs between the ages of 20 and 40. In certain circumstances, children and older adults can develop Multiple Sclerosis. 

 

Who is most likely to get MS? 

Research proves women are 2 to 3 times more likely than men are in developing Multiple Sclerosis. Genetics can also have an influence on MS, as those with parents or siblings that have MS are at higher risk of developing the disease. Strangely, Multiple Sclerosis is the most common in areas farthest from the equator. 

 

How do you get Multiple Sclerosis? 

MS starts to take effect on an individual when the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues. This malfunction in the immune system destroys the myelin within the body (the fatty substance that coats and protects nerve fibres within the brain and spinal cord). 

 

How many people have MS in the UK?

In the UK, there are an estimated 130,000 people living with MS, with around 7,000 additional individuals diagnosed every year. In total, this equates to roughly one in every 500 people in the UK living with the disease. 

 

What are the first signs of Multiple Sclerosis?

MS attacks can either develop slowly over days to weeks or happen suddenly, often getting mistaken for a stroke. Because of this, the first signs between individuals with MS are never exactly alike. The severity of the initial symptoms can range from mild to severe and differ between cases. 

 

How long can you live with Multiple Sclerosis?

The average life expectancy for people with MS differs between individuals, yet the average figure is roughly between 5 and 10 years lower than the average life expectancy. MS itself is rarely fatal, however, complications can arise from the disease surrounding infections and swallowing difficulties. 

 

Is Multiple Sclerosis curable? 

Currently, there is no cure for Multiple Sclerosis. The main focus surrounding the treatment of MS usually entails slowing the progressions of the disease, managing any symptoms, and speeding up the recovery from MS attacks. Starting treatment early generally provides the best chance at slowing down the disease. 

 

What is end-stage Multiple Sclerosis? 

Those who are considered to have end-stage MS face severe disabilities which may not respond to treatment, in certain circumstances, this can lead to life-threatening complications. 

 

Does Multiple Sclerosis get worse as you become older?

Every case of MS is different, and as you get older, symptoms are likely to change. The greater the damage to the myelin, the worse the symptoms of MS will become. Symptoms can become worse over time, leading to fewer relapses and remissions – yet every case is different. 

 

Can stress cause Multiple Sclerosis?

There is no current evidence that links stress as a cause of Multiple Sclerosis. However, increased stress levels for those with the disease can make it harder to manage the symptoms of MS. In certain circumstances, stress can trigger symptoms or cause a relapse. 

 

Does Multiple Sclerosis disable you? 

The majority of individuals living with Multiple Sclerosis do not become severely disabled. However, in certain severe circumstances, disability can occur. It is estimated that roughly two-thirds of all people who have MS remain able to walk, although some may need an aid such as crutches or a cane to support themselves. 

 

Will I end up in a wheelchair with Multiple Sclerosis? 

Only around 25% of those with MS will need to use a wheelchair, and this usually occurs within both forms of progressive Multiple Sclerosis. For many individuals with MS, little assistance will be required to walk unless the disease progresses into the later stages. 

 

What happens with untreated Multiple Sclerosis? 

Research suggests that if MS is left untreated, around 50% of people with relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis develop secondary progressive MS (SPMS) within a decade of the first diagnosis. SPMS is the third stage, of four, that outlines the progression of the disease. 

 

What are the best exercises for Multiple Sclerosis? 

To slow down the progression of MS, the best exercises to perform are aerobic exercises, stretching, and progressive strength training. Aerobic exercises entail any exercise that raises the heart rate, including jogging, walking, swimming or cycling. All can unearth a number of benefits that help you manage MS symptoms. 

 

Can you live a normal life with Multiple Sclerosis? 

With the right care and support, you can live a long, happy and fulfilling life when living with Multiple Sclerosis. Participating in exercise, staying active, and finding the right help to reduce progression, manage symptoms and speed up recovery from remissions can have a hugely positive impact on your lifestyle. 

 

What is the best care for Multiple Sclerosis? 

Many people with a diagnosis of MS are of a young age, this leads to huge dissatisfaction at the thought of moving into a care home or residential setting. Homecare allows you to receive compassionate care in the safety, comfort and familiarity of your home so you can continue living life the way you choose. 

 

Multiple Sclerosis Care 

If you require specialist care and assistance to help you manage your multiple sclerosis condition, Trinity Homecare could be the perfect companion for you. 

We help you enrich your lifestyle through support with all aspects of your day to day life. This can be personal care, practical caring, to providing you with anything you need around the house. Whatever it is you need, we will be by your side. 

We have a wealth of experience providing for those with MS, acknowledging that fluctuating symptoms means every day is different. Our team can encourage you to continue living life well, enjoying hobbies, interests, and supporting you in your work. 

 

Contact a friendly member of our team today to discuss multiple sclerosis care.