Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is one of the most baffling and debilitating neurological diseases. MS is a form of an autoimmune disease, which means that the body begins to attack itself over a period of time. It attacks the central nervous system with damage to the way the nerves use to communicate with others.
Blurred vision can occur in one or more eyes sudden blindness is also a possibility.
Movement difficulties due to nerves being affected throughout the body, movement is a common impairment. Balance and coordination issues can also be present.
Constipation and loss of bladder function can develop.
Many persons with MS report moderate to severe fatigue.
Difficulty concentrating and memory issues may be present. Depression is also a common symptom.
Coping with MS:
Since stress is one of the biggest enemies of MS it can exacerbate existing symptoms or hasten the onset of new ones. Like any other chronic disease, living with MS presents challenges not only for the person who is afflicted, but for the immediate family as well. Gathering a strong support system is one of the best ways to help reduce stress. A support system can consist of family members, church/synagogue and other civic organizations as well as friends and support groups.
Don't forget to include in the support system of your physician and their staff. Health care professionals can provide the valuable tools needed to learn to cope with MS in a positive and healthy manner. Since MS affects so many areas of the body, a team of professionals may be involved in providing care. It is important to keep each member of the team connected to the overall treatment plan.
As with all aspects of healthy living, diet and exercise are critical components to the ongoing treatment and they also contribute greatly to our overall sense of well-being. Exercise has been prescribed for many depressed individuals and it has been shown or help overcome or alleviate depression symptoms for persons with MS. Staying active can increase a person's motor control and keep muscles as flexible as possible. Discuss your diet with your physician or a nutritionist. Follow logical "good health" eating habits such as organic fresh fruits and vegetables along with lean protein and avoid prepackaged and fast food as often as possible.
Where to turn:
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society www.nationalmssociety.org has great resources and educational links. While most people with MS can still take care of their daily needs, there is the possibility that help will be beneficial with specific tasks. These can include Home Care for daily or weekly assistance or caregiver respite as needed, along with support groups. Home Care services can include transportation to and from appointments, grocery shopping and meal preparation, laundry, light housekeeping, taking the trash in and out, assistance with pets and so much more.
Living with a chronic disease like MS means understanding as much as possible about the disease and the affects it has on daily living. It also means staying calm, keeping positive and researching options so that a great support system can be developed.
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