Multiple Sclerosis – Information and care in the home
Information on Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is what is known as a demyelinating disease, i.e. a disease of the nervous system in which there is damage to the myelin sheath of neurons. Myelin plays an essential part in making sure the body’s nervous system works, and so any damage to it will have a serious impact on sensation, movement and cognition.
There are several different types of multiple sclerosis (or MS), including Relapsing Remitting MS, in which symptoms can repeatedly appear and fade over time; Primary Progressive MS, where symptoms grow progressively worse over time; and Secondary Progressive MS, in which symptoms grow worse after a period of relapsing and remitting. Relapsing Remitting MS is the most common of the three, affecting around 85% of those diagnosed.
While no one single cause of MS has been identified, factors such as genetics and geography are thought to play a significant role in the likelihood of someone developing the condition. Those who live further from the equator are generally more likely to be diagnosed with MS, and while multiple sclerosis is non-hereditary scientists believe genes may play some part in increasing your chances of developing it. Smoking has also been identified as an independent risk factor.
The symptoms of MS are very varied, and may differ from person to person, but the most common are impaired mobility and tremors, bladder and bowel problems, problems with eyesight, bouts of fatigue, severe pain and sudden changes in mood. With progressive MS, mobility can become severely impaired and loss of sight in one eye is very common.
Diagnosing MS is a complicated process, as it shares many of its symptoms with other disorders, and there is no one test to prove someone has the condition. Neurologists must carry out a number of separate tests, looking at medical history, neurological examinations, MRI scans, blood tests, lumbar puncture or measuring the speed of nerve messages.
Corticosteroids are administered when the patient is suffering from an acute attack. These are effective in the short-term, but have no impact on the condition over the long-term. Disease modifying treatments can prove effective at reducing the number of attacks, but have been known to cause various side effects.
Many of those living with MS find physiotherapy an essential part of their treatment, helping them to manage symptoms while remaining healthy and active. Alternative therapies such as pilates, reiki and acupuncture are also said to be effective in some cases.
A live-in carer can provide expert help in living with the condition, while retaining a greater degree of independence. They can assist you in getting around, performing everyday tasks such as getting dressed, cooking, cleaning or running errands, and helping you to structure a manageable routine. They are also there in the event of an emergency, providing peace of mind to your family and loved ones. If you are caring for someone with MS, short-term respite carers allow you to take some much-needed time off from your daily care routine.
If you’d like further information on the kind of care services we provide for those living with MS, simply go to the Home Care Services tab on our home screen, or alternatively you can contact us directly on 01179 586 235 or using our online contact form.