Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic and often unpredictable neurological condition that affects the central nervous system. MS can impact a person’s mobility, cognitive function, and overall quality of life. However, with proper management and support, it is possible to enjoy living well with MS.
MS Awareness Week 2023 runs from April 24 to April 30. In support, we are exploring some tips and strategies for living well with MS.
What are MS symptoms?
MS symptoms can vary widely depending on the individual and the severity of the disease. Some common symptoms of MS include:
- Fatigue: MS-related fatigue is a common symptom that affects many people living with MS. Fatigue can be experienced as physical or mental exhaustion.
- Mobility issues: MS can cause problems with mobility, such as difficulty walking or standing for long periods of time.
- Numbness or tingling: MS can cause numbness or tingling sensations in different parts of the body.
- Muscle weakness and spasticity: MS can cause muscle weakness and spasticity, which can impact a person’s ability to perform daily activities.
- Cognitive difficulties: MS can affect cognitive function, including memory, concentration, and problem-solving.
How is MS diagnosed?
MS can be challenging to diagnose, as its symptoms can be similar to those of other neurological conditions. There are a few different tests that doctors can use to diagnose MS, including:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): an MRI can detect areas of damage or scarring in the central nervous system.
- Lumbar puncture: a lumbar puncture involves taking a sample of cerebrospinal fluid to check for signs of inflammation or other abnormalities.
- Visual evoked potential (VEP) test: a VEP test measures how quickly the brain responds to visual stimuli and can help diagnose MS-related optic neuritis.
Types of MS
There are several types of MS, including:
- Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS): RRMS is the most common form of MS and is characterised by periods of relapse (when symptoms worsen) and remission (when symptoms improve).
- Primary progressive MS (PPMS): PPMS is a less common form of MS that progresses steadily over time, without periods of relapse or remission.
- Secondary progressive MS (SPMS): SPMS is a form of MS that develops after a person has had RRMS. It is characterised by a steady progression of symptoms.
- Progressive-relapsing MS (PRMS): PRMS is a rare form of MS that is characterised by a steady progression of symptoms, with occasional relapses.
10 tips for living with MS
- Home adaptations: making home adaptations can help individuals living with MS maintain their independence and quality of life. Some examples of home adaptations include installing grab bars in the bathroom, using a shower chair, or adding ramps or handrails to improve mobility.
- Care and respite care for carers: caring for someone with MS can be physically and emotionally challenging. Carers should take advantage of respite care services to take a break and recharge.
- Good Sleep: getting adequate sleep is essential for overall health and well-being, particularly for individuals with MS who may experience fatigue.
- Diet: a healthy diet can help individuals with MS manage their symptoms and maintain their overall health. Foods rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D are particularly beneficial for individuals with MS.
- Exercise: exercise can help improve strength, flexibility, and balance, as well as alleviate symptoms such as fatigue and depression. It is important to work with a healthcare provider to develop an exercise program that is safe and effective
- Managing stress: stress can exacerbate MS symptoms, so it is essential to manage stress levels effectively. Meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises can help reduce stress.
- Support groups: joining a support group for individuals living with MS can be beneficial in terms of emotional support, as well as sharing tips and strategies for managing symptoms.
- Mental health care: mental health care is essential for individuals with MS, as depression and anxiety are common among those living with the condition.
- Assistive technology: assistive technology such as mobility aids, communication devices, and computer software can help individuals with MS maintain their independence and quality of life.
- Stay informed: staying informed about the latest research and treatment options for MS can help individuals make informed decisions about their care.
When live-in care may be needed for people living with MS
In some cases, individuals with MS may require live-in care to manage their symptoms and maintain their quality of life. Live-in care provides 24-hour support from a qualified caregiver who can assist with daily activities. These include bathing, dressing, and meal preparation. They can also provide companionship and emotional support.
Mumby’s Live-in Care for MS
Mumby’s Live-in Care provides personalised care and support for individuals living with MS. Our caregivers are trained in MS care and can provide assistance with mobility, personal care, medication management, and more. We offer flexible care plans tailored to each individual’s unique needs. Also, our caregivers are available 24/7 to provide support and assistance.
Living with MS can present many challenges, but with the right management and support, it is possible to maintain a good quality of life. By making home adaptations, managing stress, getting good sleep, eating a healthy diet, and staying active, individuals with MS can manage their symptoms effectively.
For those who require extra support, live-in care may be a viable option. As we approach MS Awareness Week 2023, let us remember to support those living with MS and raise awareness about this condition.