Managing MS is an ongoing process, beginning with the very first symptoms and continuing throughout the disease course. It’s never too soon or too late to think about how to access high quality, comprehensive, interdisciplinary care for multiple sclerosis treatment.
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, immune-mediated, demyelinating inflammatory condition of the central nervous system.
Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis is the most common pattern of the disease. It is characterised by periods of exacerbation of symptoms (relapses) followed by unpredictable periods of stability (remission).
Active disease is defined as at least two clinically significant relapses occurring within the last 2 years.
There is no cure for multiple sclerosis. The overall aims of treatment are to modify the course of the disease and manage symptoms, in order to improve quality of life.
The extent of disability is often influenced by the doctors and specialists you see.
There is currently a huge variability in the multidisciplinary care offered for multiple sclerosis treatment across the world, due to a large number of factors which make each individual’s experience different.
Understanding the best treatment options for your individual condition is a dynamic process, which involves exercise, nutrition, medication, and first-line therapy. To discuss treatment options, call a healthcare professional today.
You have to find the right doctor to discuss your treatment options with. After a thorough medical assessment, all doctors have different attitudes. Ask to see the entire medical chart and discuss treatment, side effects, and insurance coverage.
Contact your doctor’s office or a specialist multidisciplinary care centre if you’re not confident in deciding your treatment options.
Each patient’s susceptibility is different choices made regarding things like medication and lifestyle changes are ultimately personalised to the needs and limitations of the individual.
Multiple Sclerosis Treatment
Your doctor is likely to be able to identify the potentially most effective treatment modalities. According to your physical condition, age, and overall lifestyle.
Often treatment recommendations are based on a working knowledge of the classical therapies introduced by physicians in similar conditions.
Like all chronic illnesses, the early signs of MS are often subtle and are often mis-diagnosed as a daily headache or ‘general malaise’.
In fact, it is not at all unusual for the first symptoms of MS to be misdiagnosed as many common conditions, such as:
- Vision Impairment
- Muscle Weakness
- Numbness and Tingling
- Loss of Balance
These symptoms are all normal. When misdiagnosed, patients often go through a phase of ‘diagnosis denial’. Where the attempt to explain their symptoms to themselves inevitably comes to include adding in a medical condition that isn’t really a part of the picture.
But, the classic first symptom of MS is a sudden increase in the awareness. Of (on the part of the patient and/or care-giver, in the case of the patient) of:
- Erratic Vision Problems
- Trapped-Nerve Symptoms
- Unexplained Dizziness
The mechanism leading to these and subsequent symptoms is complex. A large study looked at the relative importance of these three symptoms in defining EDSS.
EDSS is the Expanded Disability Scale which is a method of quantifying disability in multiple sclerosis and monitoring changes in the level of disability over time.
However, the study recruited participants from the community by means of newspaper advertisements. Each participant was asked to complete a questionnaire assessing EDSS and a battery of other health measures.
Possible MS Treatments
In the end, 393 participants were identified, with 204 participants having evidence of EDSS (defined as two or more of the above symptoms).
Furthermore, the study also looked at whether these symptoms predict ‘prospects for a successful outcome’ of first episode MS:
- These results indicate that there is some predictive value to the presence of EDSS. But particularly the presence of 2 or more symptoms of the ‘Aspergers Syndrome’ symptom cluster.
- If more than 2 of the above symptoms appear in a given person’s interview (prospects for a successful outcome). That person has a 47% chance of having an episode of prodrome — a period of disease development.
These symptoms are also important in defining the course of ‘relapsing-remitting’ or ‘active’ disease.
Relapsing-REM (remission) multiple sclerosis can progress rapidly with episodes of exacerbation. Throughout the course, which can be either brief (days or weeks) or more prolonged (weeks to months) and distinguished from “steady state’ disease by its characteristic ‘hamburger’ sensation (stiffness or heaviness).
Treating your symptoms is rarely about trying “one size fits all”. Strategies tailored to your lifestyle and medical history should be considered when making decisions around your treatment options.
There are several standard treatments for MS. The overall approach depends on the presentation and lifestyle of each individual.
The use of a graded dose/response (GLRR) exercise prescription is a method of targeting the muscles involved in symptoms.
Hospital neurosurgeons, specialists in the induction of coma to minimise adverse effects on the patient, and experts in managing the relapses can also prescribe medications by using the same principle.
Improve Quality of Life
Some drugs can improve quality of life in multiple sclerosis, whilst others have been shown to increase the risks for developing life-threatening complications.
The role and care of a dietitian are important for anyone with a current or past history of MS, as they can help optimise their medical decisions.
Going through these steps, finding information tailored to your individual circumstances, then making the appropriate choices about your medication, diet, and lifestyle is a framework we all need to adhere to in order to manage our MS.
Thanks for taking the time to read this information. If you have comments or questions, please get in touch. I would love to hear from you.
Ultimately, the multiple sclerosis treatment you choose will affect your long-term prognosis so should be given a great deal of consideration.
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