9 Tips for People Newly Diagnosed With Multiple Sclerosis
A multiple sclerosis diagnosis might be terrifying and intimidating, but you are far from alone in coping with this disease.
Multiple Sclerosis is the most frequent debilitating neurological illness among young people, hitting between the ages of 20 and 40. According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS), about one million individuals in the United States and more than 2.3 million people globally have MS. The good news is that most MS symptoms may be adequately treated.
Here’s everything I wish I’d known sooner.
1. Learn all you can about MS.
There are numerous misunderstandings and falsehoods regarding multiple sclerosis, and if you don’t know the truth, your MS diagnosis may be more frightening than necessary.
MS is a central nervous system inflammatory condition that lasts for years. It happens when the immune system generates inflammation that destroys myelin, the protective coating that covers nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord, and also the nerve fibers themselves and the cells that produce myelin.
However, MS is a disease that is seldom deadly, and it is possible to live a happy life with it. If you have MS, your doctor can help you learn more about the disease and remain informed about new therapies and lifestyle suggestions, such as the significance of eating a nutritious diet, establishing and maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, and quitting smoking.
2. Make Sure Your MS Diagnosis Is For Real
A neurological exam, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), spinal fluid analysis (spinal tap), and blood testing to rule out other illnesses are all used to establish a diagnosis of MS.
It may take a long time to receive a solid MS diagnosis in certain patients, partially because other explanations of neurological symptoms must be checked out as well.
To establish an MS diagnosis, your doctor must undertake all of the following, according to the most recent criteria:
Damage is seen in two different locations of the central nervous system.
Find proof that the damaging occurrences happened at distinct times.
Ensure that all other illnesses and diagnoses are ruled out.
3. MS Symptoms Can Be Unpredictable
No two individuals have precisely the same MS symptoms, and you may have various symptoms from time to time. Numbness or tingling, stiffness, visual issues, walking difficulty, weakness, slurred speech, tiredness, bladder dysfunction, cognitive abnormalities, and others are all common MS symptoms. However, these signs and symptoms might be unexpected.
Some MS symptoms will come and go as the illness progresses, while others may stay a long time.
4. MS Treatment Should Not Be Deferred
Because even in the early stages of MS, lasting brain damage may occur, it’s critical to begin therapy as soon as feasible.
All disease-modifying medications for MS have the potential to minimize the likelihood of the illness progressing.
5. Keep an eye on your MS symptoms.
Keep track of your MS symptoms and how you’re feeling so you can keep your doctor up to speed on your progress. If you need to file a claim for disability benefits, keeping track of your symptoms will assist. If you’re having difficulties remembering things or forming connections, it might also help you remain on top of your symptoms.
6. MS Symptom Triggers Should Be Avoided
A transient aggravation of MS symptoms may be caused by certain triggers such as stress, lack of sleep, infections, viruses, hot baths, or anything else that causes overheating.
Excessive alcohol consumption is contraindicated for persons with MS because drunkenness promotes slurred speech and impaired coordination, which may exacerbate current MS symptoms.
7. Find the Right Doctor for You
Because MS is a lifelong illness, it’s critical to be treated by an MS expert who is a suitable fit for you. The doctor who gave you your MS diagnosis may not be the one you want to see for the rest of your life.
8. Think About Whom You’ll Tell
You’ll probably want to notify your closest relatives and friends, especially those who are familiar enough with you to detect any changes. However, you are not compelled to inform everyone in your life about your MS diagnosis. Instead, choose the individuals who will be most helpful and supportive as you learn to live with the sickness.
9. Don’t Give Up Hope
One of the most prevalent MS symptoms is depression. If you’re experiencing depression or other mood swings, contact your doctor for a referral to a mental health specialist who is familiar with MS and can assist you.
Although there is no cure for MS, modern medicines may help to decrease the disease’s course, increasing your quality of life and preventing disability. And research is continuing in the hopes of creating even better medicines in the near future that will halt the growth of the disease and even restore lost capabilities and abilities.
Please read my other MS Article Multiple Sclerosis story Multiple Sclerosis and Exercise: Why MS Patients Should Stay Active
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